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The Steve Addazio Presidency: The Case Against Re-Election

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After 56-10, a look at the facts and a bit of opinion, which show why a change is needed

Where was this game played?
Where was this game played?
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As Americans, we go to the polls every four years to elect a new president.  We decide if want to change the course the country is on or whether the trajectory we see is one we are comfortable with.  We bring differing opinions to the table and have varying criteria as to how we make that decision and ultimately cast our vote for the person we believe is best for the job.

Not coincidentally, we are in election cycle of another sort at BC, that of determining the level of support for the current football administration lead by President Steve Addazio.  Now in his fourth season, enough in the political system to be held accountable to turn around a country, the football program under his leadership went from showing signs of promise to what now is the equivalent of an economic recession that shows few, if any signs of slowing.

I grant you, in 2013 Addazio inherited a mess from Frank Spaziani.  The program was arguably at the lowest point it had experienced since the Ed Chlebek 1978 team, after riding a decade of consistent success under Tom O'Brien and brief two year reign of Jeff Jagodzinski. But in year four with his own staff, players and system in place, the Eagles are arguably one of the bottom feeders of all Power Five programs.

Sure there have been some successes.  The unexpected turnaround of 2013 being the most notable. There was palpable excitement and a field storming following the win over NC State which sealed a bowl trip and was capped with Andre Williams march to New York as a Heisman finalist.  There figured to be a drop in 2014, but the Dazzler surprised us all again in getting the Eagles to a bowl game and notching his signature win, the Red Bandana game victory over #9 USC.

Addazio, with the help of then Vice President, Don Brown, assembled one of the nation's best defenses, something the Eagles had been close to at times under former VP and then President Spaz.  This seemed to bode well for the President, whose forte was rumored to be offensive prowess, which we had seen little of.

Outside of that though, the wins have been few and the frustrations have been many and continue to mount, with the groans of the few that assemble weekly to watch the Eagles either beat a significantly over matched, lower tier opponent or be drilled by quality ACC opposition, getting louder and louder.

Now I can play the role of the current Presidential candidates and rave nonsensically, with little fact to surround my argument or make the fact that the current administration MUST be replaced.  So with a bit of help from PolitiFact (and the BC football media guide), I present the case as to why Steve Addazio must go and a new administration be sworn in for 2017 to move the Eagles football fortunes forward.  These aren't feelings I have or words that have come from former players indicating their desires...just raw, hard numbers.

  • The overall record to date - 19 wins 24 losses .442
    • Compare this to other Eagle "failures" who were not re-elected, Ed Chlebek (12-21 .364), Dan Henning (16-19-1 .458) and Frank Spaziani (22-29 .420 ..edited after the article was originally published)
  • Power Five record - 9 wins 23 losses .281
    • This President has run up more than half his wins over teams who are not his direct league competition.
  • Record vs the Top 25 - 1 win 8 losses .111
    • That USC win in 2014 is it
  • Boston College has now lost its last 13 straight Power Five games
    • This is the longest losing streak since a run from 1988-90 where the Eagle lost 14 in a row
  • Their 11 game ACC losing streak is the longest that BC has ever endured since joining a conference in 1991 (Big East)
    • The previous worst was a six game skid between 2012-13 under Frank Spaziani
    • The Eagles however are nowhere near the ACC record of 28 in a row held by Virginia
  • The 56-10 loss to Clemson marked the worst Alumni Stadium home loss ever 
    • It is tied with two games for margin of defeat in all home games with 46-0 losses to Oklahoma at Braves Field in 1949 and 46-0 in 1945 to Holy Cross at Fenway Park.
    • It was the second worst home loss of all time missing by one a 47-0 drubbing inflicted by Georgetown in 1927
  • The Clemson loss marked the first time since 1995 under Dan Henning that the Eagles have given up 49 or more points in a game twice in a season.
  • It also marked the first time in program history that the Eagles have lost two games by 46 points on more in the same season
  • In previous articles we have noted the futility of the Eagle offense.  
    • BC has been shut out just nine times in the past 47 seasons, however three of those nine have been in the past 16 games.
  • As of this moment, using The Book metrics, BC will be favored in two of their remaining games, both by under a touchdown and significant underdogs in the other four, at least broaching the question of whether the Eagles could wind up 3-9 or 4-8 or simply sub .500 missing a bowl again.
    • Syracuse (BC by 5.6), Louisville (UL by 28.7), NC State (NCSU by 21.4), Florida State (FSU by 35.2), Connecticut (BC by 2.2), Wake Forest (Wake by 13.1).

These bring us to the program building aspects of being a Head Coach.  Here too, Addazio is making a strong case against re-election.

  • Recruiting - According to 24/7 sports, under Addazio, the Eagles have finished last in the ACC three out of four years and currently have the last rated class in the ACC for 2017.  We can pivot on this all we want and call the ratings subjective and rigged and at times they are, but it is hard to argue that the teams who do well in this area tend to be the teams who win conference titles and compete for national championships. It is very hard to make bricks without straw, without some devine level of intervention.  The issues at QB over the past three seasons, needing to rely on two 5th year transfers as well as the complete failure at the position last year and the heir apparent in Darius Wade not being able to get on the field as a third year player, speak volumes.
    • 2013 - 87th nationally, 14th and last ACC
    • 2014 - 52nd nationally, 11th ACC
    • 2015 - 62nd nationally, 14th and last ACC
    • 2016 - 79th nationally, 14th and last ACC
    • 2017 - currently 55th nationally, 14th and last ACC
  • Attendance.  In the Buffalo game, Guess The Attendance article, it was noted that BC had only drawn a crowd of under 30,000 ten times since the stadium was expanded to 44,500 from 32,000 in 1994.
    • Seven of those ten games have come under Addazio's watch since 2014.
    • The Clemson game marked the first announced sell out of this regime, but those of you who were there and can see from the picture in this article, that number was slightly inflated (the real attendance was probably around 42,000) and a good 8,000-10,000 of them were wearing orange and more than a few sitting in prime seats, indicating they picked these up from current BC season ticket holders.  This is not something I can fact check, but I believe this was the largest visiting crowd I have ever seen at Alumni.
    • This definitely speaks to a level of fan apathy that has been building for years.  The athletic department has done little to promote itself to locals outside of a TV or radio ad here or there and I constantly am asked by friends why they don't hear anything about the team in the media. Out of sight, out of mind and although this is not something one can directly attribute to Addazio, it is something that has only worsened under his leadership.
    • Home attendance figures per season.  As noted in previous articles, the high water mark for the program occurred from 1993-95 when the Eagles sold out 15 consecutive home games at 44,500 per contest.
      • 2013 - 33,006
      • 2014 - 34,270
      • 2015 - 30,205
      • 2016 - 30,477 - through three home games.

Outside of these pretty much undisputed facts, there are the intangibles that are showing a program in decline.

  • The influx of quality coaches into the league.
    • Some have been here longer than others, but the league is as strong as it has ever been right now and between on field and recruiting success, coaches like Dabo Swinney, Jimbo Fisher, Bobby Petrino, Mark Richt, Bronco Mendenhall, David Cutcliffe, Larry Fedora, Dave Clawson and Justin Fuente have or are appearing to raise the bar at their respective institutions.
      • The Dabo mantra of "Best is the standard" means the Eagles have a long way to go to reach the level of the top three in the division.
  • The design of what the Eagles are trying to do offensively.
    • While I am not necessarily in the camp that the general concept of what a Steve Addazio designed offense is trying to do can't work, it is clear that what he is doing is not working.  This is a product of several factors beyond just questionable design (teams like Michigan this year and Stanford and Michigan State up until this year, have been pretty successful with it), it is about how it is coached, executed and of course the players who are executing it.  Is Scot Loeffler the answer to that?  Well if you watched BC-Virginia Tech and listened to the in game interview with former Hokie Head Coach Frank Beamer, you would think not. Beamer never once mentioned Loeffler's name during the interview despite him being on last year's VT staff with him while continually praising his long time D-coordinator, Bud Foster.  I would count Beamer among those who felt he made a mistake hiring Loeffler.
      • Then there are the numbers, which although they showed a marginal increase from the end of the Spaz days, are now back to or exceeding the level of futility and even at their high points are not where this program can survive, even with a defense that ranked as highly as it has the past few seasons.
        • 2012 (Spaz last year) - #104 total offense, #110 offensive efficiency, #112 scoring offense
        • 2013 - #84 total offense, #48 offensive efficiency, #65 scoring offense
        • 2014 - #77 total offense, #32 offensive efficiency, #86 scoring offense
        • 2015 - #126 total offense, #123 offensive efficiency, #127 scoring offense
        • 2016 (6 games to date) - #104 total offense, #109 offensive efficiency, #123 scoring offense

We have noted ad naseum about the Dazzler's lack of in game coaching skill, particularly clock management.  The 3-0 Wake Forest debacle last season being the most visible example of this.  The Georgia Tech loss this year was one most of Eagle-fandom pinned on Addazio being out coached by Paul Johnson.

The head coach's seat can be a warm one, according to the Coaches Hot Seat it should be burning right now for the Dazzler who sits at #2 on the list behind USC's Clay Helton and well could be number one next week following the Clemson debacle and the Trojan's win this weekend.

The question then becomes is this an over reaction to what is happening right now?  In the Eagles three losses, they have played two very good, perhaps excellent teams in Clemson and Virginia Tech.  Granted, they lost a game in Ireland to Georgia Tech that they should have won and have a chance to reach the six win mark and get to a bowl game, although the odds on that are getting longer every day.

To me though this is about the long term direction of the program and whether Addazio is the coach to take this team there.  When Addazio was hired, Brad Bates promised that BC would compete for championships and four years into the process, not only are the Eagles light years from that goal, but there are program failures that we are measuring in quantitative numbers of historical proportions. It appears very likely that the direction we have seen the program going in is the one most likely to continue.

In a Presidential election, it is always easiest to say you voted for the loser, when the winner's administration struggles.  There is never a way to know whether the loser would have done better.  The best you can do is make a calculated decision with risk based on the information you have at your disposal to cast your vote.

Steve Addazio is not Donald Trump, nor is he Hillary Clinton.  He is a football lifer with a positive attitude who has represented Boston College well.  He believes in his faith, his football philosophy and his players and genuinely wants to succeed at Boston College.  All of those are admirable traits and ones that we as people should be proud to support, but the inertia of the program is going in the wrong direction and the real question is whether Addazio is the right coach to turn this around.

A rolling ball takes time to slow and stop.  If the ball is rolling downhill as opposed to a flat surface, the ball simply picks up speed and takes even longer.  Such is the momentum of most programs.  Whether it be good or bad, momentum tends not to turn instantaneously, it takes time.  Many times coaches are given credit or receive blame based on situations they inherited, hey it happens in Presidential races as well.

This ball is not on a flat surface, it is rolling down a fairly steep incline, we need to get it stopped as soon as possible and turn this in another direction.

I exit the polls having cast my ballot.  I cannot and did not vote for Steve Addazio,