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Boston College Football: What Do The First Five Games Tell Us?

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Will the real Boston College football team please stand up?

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College may have "played" five games this season, but the real sample size of what this team is all about constitutes just three. Pittsburgh, USC and Colorado State make up what we should be reviewing and right now, there are still major questions around not what the identity of this team is, but what we should expect in terms of execution and results for the rest of the season.

We know a few things without issue:

  • BC is 3-2 on the season and 0-1 in the ACC.
  • BC is run first, run second and run third team and when they have been forced to throw, the results have been less than optimal.
  • The Boston College special teams across the board have been far below average and that might be kind. The missed FG at the end of the first half vs CSU was costly in re-establishing the momentum of this game, with the Eagles ultimately losing by just that three point margin.
  • BC has been unable to force turnovers, now with just four on the season.
The rest of it is very much up in the air.

Which team do you believe the Eagles are?  The team we saw against USC, who beat the Trojans into submission on the ground, pressured the QB relentlessly, took away the the opposition run game and showed incredibly sure tackling skills? Or are they the team we saw in the other two "real" games, who ran very effectively but nowhere near dominant enough to offset the limited passing game, lacked a consistent pass rush (particularly in the second half), were unable to control the line of scrimmage defensively, lacked big play explosiveness offensively, tackled horribly and committed key mistakes/turnovers at inopportune times?

The verdict so far, has to be the latter, by a 2-1 margin.

Now, don't be confused. BC certainly isn't the only team in the country that is suffering from consistency issues. One of the hallmarks of the college football season to date has been the wild variations in team's performances week in and week out. And of course, BC is incredibly young. With the 2nd-least experienced roster in the country, you would expect some of this, but when comparing Pitt/CSU vs USC, the results have been nearly polar opposites.

In my pre-season piece, I called the CSU game the most probable opponent upset (Be afraid, very afraid)...so I am not shocked by what happened. For the first time this year, though, I did see the Eagles get out-coached, out-schemed and out-executed by a very disciplined, motivated and underrated Colorado State team.

What is disappointing, though, is that BC is not in a position to give back anything they needed to work so hard to achieve (see USC). I called for the Eagles to win five games this year and felt that they had a much better chance to win four than win eight, and that going to a bowl game--any bowl game--meant a fabulous season. Those goals are still very much in play. BC can still get to that six win mark, but the schedule only gets more difficult from here. With four of the last seven on the road, and with the first true road contest coming in two weeks against an improved (albeit how much improved?) NC State team, the Eagles have room for just one more slip up in that quest for bowl eligibility.

The Dazzler does have them playing hard. This Saturday wasn't a question of lack of effort nearly as much as it was lack of execution, although I will say that the team, like the stadium, seemed flat. The goal of this team now is to show us that what we saw against USC is not only something that this team is capable of, but what we should expect moving forward.

You tell me...what is this team all about?