For the first time since 2009, the Boston College Eagles have a fighting chance of making the NCAA baseball tournament. In '09, as one of seven teams from the ACC to make the big dance, the Eagles went to Austin, TX as part of the regional hosted by nationally-seeded Texas. After knocking off Texas State in the first round, the Eagles memorably played the longest college baseball game ever recorded, losing 3-2 in 25 innings to the host Longhorns. They were eliminated later that day when they lost, 4-3, to a much fresher Army team.
At 50th in the RPI rankings, the Eagles are right in the thick of the bubble talk when it comes to the NCAA Tournament. The ACC routinely sends about seven teams to the national tournament, second only to the SEC, and the Eagles are tied for that spot.
But according to D1Baseball.com, that right now isn't enough. In his weekly projections, Kendall Rogers has the Eagles out of the field of 64 teams. Additionally, in his weekly Stock Report, Aaron Fitt says the Eagles are "On the Bubble (Out)" along with NC State and Clemson.
With the Eagles in the thick of the race, let's look at the case right now for and against them making the field.
The Case For BC
Because the ACC commonly sends seven teams to the national tournament, just finishing as one of the top seven teams in the conference should send the Eagles to the dance. It should help BC that they also have a much tougher road to that top seven that includes some of the best teams in the league, locks to make the national tournament.
From a smell test case, the Eagles hung tough with LSU, Florida State, and Louisville. They've handled the bulk of their non-conference schedule, and they've been rolling through bad teams. They demolished Northeastern, North Dakota State, Villanova, and Xavier. They've taken their lumps with some losses, but by and large, that they haven't been challenged in those games is a sign that BC coasted the way good teams coast.
If the Eagles can hold serve in the conference, they'll have a good enough record against good teams to make the tournament. With a win over Clemson and the sweep of Georgia Tech in their back pocket, the Eagles are just good enough to earn an at-large fourth seed. If they can hold serve and not choke against bad teams, they can afford to even lose a game against Notre Dame and still probably be in the mix. A run of a few games in the conference tournament would probably help their cause that much more.
BC gets in on the strength of doing well in a tough conference. That they've been able to win this many games without the aid of many true home games is even more impressive. Remember that LSU, FSU, and all those schools hosted games in February and March and will only play a dozen or so true road games. The Eagles are only going to play a dozen games at home. All of that is an impressive combination.
The Case Against BC
Outside of the conference, the Eagles have beaten NOBODY. Their strength of schedule relies almost exclusively on ACC competition, which, like SEC football, is enough to get them into the national consideration. It's not enough, however, for them to just skate by and get into the tournament.
In addition to a weak schedule, BC lost some of those games, especially at the beginning of the year. Over the full body of work, they might've played tough against LSU, FSU, and Louisville, but all three of those teams also blew them out at least once. There's also damaging losses to Wofford, Xavier, and Nebraska-Omaha. The loss to UConn could've been a quality win, especially since the Huskies are on the right side of the bubble right now, but if the result held with an Eagles win, they might just switch and have BC in, UConn out.
As for the rest of the schedule, none of the non-conference schedule actually helps BC get in. They'll play URI one more time, but game against Bryant, Hartford, and Maine are hardly marquee opponents. A loss to any of those teams and BC's chances of an at large are essentially sunk.
And how about that schedule? Well, of the nine conference games left, Notre Dame is proving to be a better team than expected, and UNC and Virginia Tech are on the road. You have to win at least two of those series, if not them all. Lose two of the three, and it's over. Get swept anywhere, and it's over. Heck, that might mean they don't even make the ACC Tournament.
What do you think? Can the Eagles make the final push and get to NCAA Tournament? Or will they find themselves on the outside looking in? They might still not even make the ACC playoffs, let alone the national playoffs. We know they are going to have to at least be in the conference tournament in order to make the national picture, but will that be enough? Weigh in with your thoughts below!