Sunday, October 22, 2017
The 2017 Boston College football season has taken a dramatic turn in the past two weeks. The Eagles wrapped up the first half of the season with a 2-4 record (0-4 against ACC foes/Notre Dame) and offensive and defensive rankings among the bottom quarter of college football. The defense was disappointing and the offense was putrid. Over the past two weeks, however, the offense has come alive, putting up 500+ yards in each game. The defense finally showed up yesterday as they surrendered just 247 yards and forced three turnovers. BC scored 40+ points in consecutive games for the first time since 2000 and scored 40+ points in back-to-back conference games for the first time in school history.
A 2017 bowl appearance seemed impossible two weeks ago. Now, I would say it is probable. The Eagles should defeat a dreadful UConn team at Fenway in three weeks. If they beat UConn, they would just need one win against either disappointing Florida State, surprisingly solid NC State or Syracuse to be bowl eligible. Has the BC football program really "turned the corner." I need more than two good weeks to say that but I know my mood has changed dramatically in the past eight days. Friday's game against Florida State is huge. The Seminoles are having a rough year but they are still incredibly talented. It's a great test, not only for the team and the coaching staff but also for the students, who should provide a true home field advantage on Friday night.
The poor play of the BC defense this season has been shocking. They returned a lot of good players from a defense that was ranked 9th nationally a year ago (7th against the run). They were the #1 defense in the country (statistically) two years ago and 11th in 2014 (2nd against the run in those seasons). They now rank 94th in total defense and 114th against the run. In fact, if there was a down side to yesterday's performance it was run defense.
I think we all expected the young offense to struggle this season though it was even worse than expected over those first six games. Their quick transformation is shocking. I've seen a lot of "what is happening?" from BC fans on Twitter. A team that could barely manage a first down in those first four games against the ACC/Notre Dame has racked up 1,067 yards on the road in the past two. They have had success running (mainly last week), passing (yesterday) and have made big plays (five plays of 40+ yards in the two games). The biggest eye opener the past two weeks was Anthony Brown's performance yesterday (A.J. Dillon's emergence is not a big surprise). Was Saturday an outlier for Brown or didn't things ] finally "click" for the freshman? Seeing how he performs against Florida State next week will be fascinating.
I'm still not on the Coach Addazio bandwagon but he seems well-positioned to keep this job once again. Is it as simple as "Bowl game = back for 2018, no Bowl game = fired? Probably. We went through this last season when the Eagles dropped to 4-6 after two humiliating losses by a combined 83 points. They then bounced back and ended the season with three wins and a 7-6 record.
It's been a crazy year in the ACC and the race for bowl eligibility and positioning will be interesting in the final five weeks. Four ACC teams are already bowl eligible and only North Carolina has been eliminated from bowl contention. Six teams are within a game (in the loss column) of the division lead. Clemson at NC State and Virginia Tech at Miami in two weeks and Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech in three weeks are the key games to watch as of right now. It's probably too early to discuss bowl projections but what the heck ... Jerry Palm of CBS Sports projects that BC will not be in a bowl game this season. Here is his latest. One ESPN reporter does project a BC Bowl Appearance. David Hale thinks it could be a BC Eagles-Minnesota Gophers battle in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
As far as the college football playoff race is concerned, eight teams remained undefeated (three of them in the State of Florida). There are ten Top 25 teams with just one loss with a shot to be in the playoffs. We'll see more impactful games starting next week. Penn State visits Ohio State. The Buckeyes will essentially be eliminated with a loss. Penn State can lose and still make the playoffs. NC State visits Notre Dame in what will essentially be a playoff game since the loser will be knocked out of playoff contention. Any team with one loss is in playoff mode already.
Lastly, you can go back to the home page if you would like to voice your approval or disapproval for the job Coach Addazio and AD Jarmond are doing.
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