Hopefully Boston College football players, coaches, staff and fans all enjoyed that bye week. It’s been a difficult season and a half, and optimism is not very high going in to the final six weeks of the season. But the Eagles are back in the saddle on Saturday, taking on Syracuse- and it’s a huge game on a number of levels.
The most frustrating thing about the fallout from BC’s disastrous stumble in Dublin was looking at the schedule and realizing we’d basically be in exactly this position over a month later. Virginia Tech and Clemson seemed like obvious losses. Buffalo, UMass and Wagner were slam-dunk wins, with little to no intrigue. Basically, everyone in the BC football universe knew the Eagles would be 3-3 going in to the bye week, then would finally have another toss-up game in late October.
And so now here we are. The season is half over, but we know very little about BC. They haven’t played in a genuine “toss up” game since Georgia Tech. We now get a better chance to see what they’ve got and whether there’s much of anything at all to be excited about for the rest of this season.
You could be optimistic and say that their game against Georgia Tech shows BC should be competitive with mid-to-lower level ACC teams. You could be really optimistic and say that even given the two beatdowns, we’d be feeling pretty good if BC made one more play in Dublin and went in to this week 4-2.
All that may be true, but pretty much everything that’s happened since Georgia Tech converted 4th & long in Dublin has shattered the confidence most have in this team’s ability to do much of anything this season. Now, we finally get a better idea.
As AJ discussed yesterday, a lot of things about the future of this program may well ride on what happens Saturday.
BC is certainly not going to a bowl game if they don’t beat Syracuse. Given that BC is staring down the barrel of a resurgent NC State, followed by Louisville and FSU after this game, a loss here would set off a downward spiral that would be nearly impossible to recover from. So on that front, it’s a must-win game.
But there are a few other levels on which this is a big game, too. Rumors have been circulating - most notably on ATLEagle - that Brad Bates could be fishing for another job, as his contract has not been extended at BC to this point. A shakeup could be forthcoming. A loss to Syracuse and the near-certainty of a losing season would only serve to make that shakeup more likely.
Of course, that leads us back to Steve Addazio and his coaching staff. Letting Addazio go at the end of this season would require a healthy buyout, so the conventional wisdom is that Addazio will get a fifth year regardless of what happens. But let’s just say BC loses on Saturday, then goes and faces that three game gauntlet and comes home 3-7 going in to UConn week. Would BC really be able to bring Addazio back with a 4-8 record and another 0-8 mark in ACC play?
Ultimately, that’s probably what would be staring BC in the face should they lose on Saturday. With the coaching carousel and rumor mill in full swing, a loss on Saturday could be a trigger to a number of people to start making calls and polishing up their resumes.
A wholesale house-cleaning would obviously have reverberations beyond just the football team. The basketball hire is obviously Brad Bates’ guy, and there are a number of other coaches who may be coming up on the end of their tenure. They, too, will be curious to see what if anything happens at the top.
On the flip side, a win would finally bring some good vibes back to a BC team that has been shrouded in negativity, and would pop the Eagles temporarily above .500. Then you’re looking at a situation where if they could steal one of those next 3, they’d be 5-5 going in to the UConn/Wake Forest stretch, which wouldn’t be too bad. That would almost certainly be enough to stave off the executioners - for Addazio at least, if not for Bates.
We’ve been waiting over a month for a BC football game with some intrigue and drama surrounding the result. In theory, this is when it’s supposed to start getting fun. Let’s hope that turns out to be the case.