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Baseball's Thrilling Run Ends A Strange, Difficult Year For Boston College Athletics

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Lots of good, lots of bad, and lots of ugly program-wide

J. Meric/Getty Images

There's no way to forget or gloss over the historical disaster that was Boston College's season in football and men's basketball this past season. 2015-16 will forever (correctly) be remembered as a failure for the program for that reason. Football is the 10,000 pound gorilla in the college athletics room; basketball is small compared to football, but still huge compared to everything else.

It's too bad, though, that both were so historically bad in the same season. Because if even one of those two had a decent year, it would be possible to look back at everything else that happened at BC this year and celebrate it as a pretty successful season.

The two other participants in major men's sports - hockey and baseball - had outstanding years. Men's hockey made it to the Frozen Four and won both the Beanpot and the Hockey East regular season title; baseball had its best season since 1967 and was one of the last 16 teams standing in the nation. Can't complain about that.

Women's hockey made headlines as they very nearly completed a perfect season, coming one game short in the national title game. Still, even with that disappointment, they racked up 40 wins and 3 trophies (plus a Frozen Four appearance and lots of individual hardware).

In the fall, men's soccer pushed their way to the Elite Eight, surging back in to national contention after a dry spell for coach Ed Kelly's men. The women's soccer team has been consistently good, making the tournament again this year though they were bounced early.

Field Hockey also made it to the final eight, while women's lacrosse made it to the NCAA tournament yet again.

All told, 7 out of the 11 varsity teams competing in team sports with NCAA tournaments made it in to the tournament field. Of the 4 that didn't, softball at least had something to cheer about, making it to the NCAA bubble and earning the program's highest ever finish in ACC play (3rd). Women's hoops had some early moments worth cheering, but faded in ACC competition.

If you put stock in the Director's Cup at all, last year, BC finished 70th; this year, they will probably finish at least in the top 45, sitting at #54 before baseball points were added -- my guesstimate places them at about #43 once baseball is added in. Nothing to throw a parade over, but certainly a huge improvement over 2014-15 and other recent years. More comparisons: 2013-14, #65; 2012-13, #76; 2011-12, #60; 2010-11, #64; 2009-10, #63; 2008-09, #75; 2007-08, #69. You get the idea.

Perhaps even more importantly than the results for some of these programs was the perception that things were moving in the right direction. We all know the strides baseball and softball have made over the past 4-5 seasons. Field hockey came on strong under the direction of a new coach. Men's soccer was resurgent, while women's soccer and lacrosse remain among BC's most consistent programs. And men's and women's hockey are established at this point as perennial national powers.

That said, even the good seasons this year came with their share of disappointments, adding to the overall negative vibe of this past season. Obviously we know women's hockey came one game short of its ultimate goal. Men's hockey not winning the Hockey East or national title with such a loaded roster was a bit of a downer, as they now seem to be going in to a rebuilding year. Baseball came a game short of the College World Series and field hockey and men's soccer both came up a game short of the Final Four. Softball lost the one game in the ACC tournament that could have lifted them in to the NCAA Tournament field.

In short, even when we were occasionally having nice things, we couldn't have nice things.

That's probably the best epitaph for the entire, program-wide year BC had in 2015-16. Here's hoping for a much better 2016-17, with football and basketball improving dramatically and the other programs building on what they did this year.