A JERSEY GUY: It's Time For BC To Move On Past Addazio
For all intents and purposes, the Boston College football season is now over. The Eagles, coming off a 38-31 loss to Florida State on Saturday are again tucked into an abyss of mediocre football which offers little hope of getting better any time soon.
Officially, the schedule says the Eagles have two remaining games: road trips to Notre Dame on November 23 and Pittsburgh on November 30th. Win one of those two games--they are likely to be underdogs in both--and the Eagles will be bowl eligible for the 6th time in Coach Steve Addazio's 7 seasons.
With 80 slots, reaching the post season is not all that special when you consider that 62 percent of FBS teams participate in bowl games.
And while BC might get invited to play in such exotic places as Shreveport, La. or Detroit during Christmas week (BC will not accept invites to pre-Christmas bowls), under Addazio they have been even more inept in the post season (1-3) than in the regular season, where Addazio's teams have compiled a 56-54 record since he arrived at The Heights for the 2013 season.
Here's the problem and the main issue that BC athletic director Martin Jarmond is facing.
For about 350 days of the year, BC football looks bright and shiny. Nice campus, improving facilities, good academic school and, under Addazio, a player base that has far more dean's list type players than police blotter incidents.
This pleases the Jesuit leadership, specifically BC President Father William Leahy a great deal and Addazio is smart enough to emphasize that, evidenced by a weekly Mass in which Addazio is a weekly participant.
But football at the Power 5 conference level in which BC--as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference--participates is a billion dollar industry, with a bottom line determined by wins and losses and, just as importantly, financial contributions.
It is here in which Addazio has failed to make any progress.
Addazio ame to BC after two seasons as the head coach at Temple. How he was hired following a 4-7 season at Temple is one of many perplexing questions involving BC athletics.
His overall record is 56-54, in which a progress graph has been a flat line of 7 win seasons, with one 3-9 dip.
Of the 65 head coaches of the Power 5 conferences and Notre Dame, Addazio is one of 4 head coaches who are in their 7th season.
The others, Dave Doeren of North Carolina State, Mark Stoops of Kentucky and Gus Malzahn of Auburn have all managed to break through the seven win barrier, which is a tangible sign of progress.
Another coach, Dave Clawson, who expressed great interest in the BC job 10 years ago, has had great success doing more with less at Wake Forest, and has also shown an upward trend in his six years with the Demon Deacons.
It can be argued that BC's academic standards are higher than any of those schools, but at any level, and especially in Power 5 college football level where millions of dollars are being spent on facilities and amenities, there should be some upward progress, especially after 7 years.
Under Addazio, BC has never risen above the .500 mark in ACC play, which is especially distressing this season, considering the low quality of play in the conference. The Eagles are currently 3-4 in the ACC Atlantic Division, with one conference ((Pitt) remaining.
And then there is this.
BC almost never beats teams that it is not expected to beat. In seven seasons under Addazio, the Eagles are a woeful 2-18 vs. ranked teams.
There are other more disturbing trends which show up each week and have been costly in terms of wins.
The inability to recruit a quality kicker in seven years is mind boggling.
The lack of skills in such football basics as "tackling'', which was again evident in Saturday's loss to FSU was again obvious.
A program in its seventh season should not be a "rebuilding'' mode. It should be in a restocking.
None of that is apparent at BC.
But that leads to the key element involving BC. At most schools, seven years without visible progress would result in changes.
If you are Martin Jarmond and one of your key roles at The Heights is fund raising, how do you sell football where mediocrity is accepted?
How do you excite a shrinking fan base in an area of the country where even getting a pulse on anything regarding college football is a challenge, much less a program that sits near the rear of the pack.
The BC fans who remain are reaching a breaking point, especially when they seen programs such as Baylor and Minnesota, who were on life support a few years ago, blossom with new coaches
Losing to FSU. a program in turmoil following the firing of its coach, Willie Taggart, adds to the angst.
Addazio has had seven years to make BC more relevant or even a little bit relevant. But the attitude (at least outwardly) from the administration is that as long as the graduation rates are high and there are no scandals involving the athletic program, the status quo is fine.
Certainly, the media pressure is minimal as the attention paid at all to BC athletics.
The money (in excess of $30 million a year) is coming in from the ACC television packages.
Why do anything rash, which would include paying out money to coaches who no longer are working at BC--something Father Leahy reportedly regards as a major irritant?
Addazi's contract, which pays him more than $2.6 million a year, runs through the 2022 season.
Why pay that out, PLUS the three or four million dollars a year for a new coach and staff?
Why rebuild again?
Those are the questions that Jarmond must answer in the next few weeks.
Certainly, there are coaches out there who could provide new signs of life--Clawson might be convinced to make another run at BC.
Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano is available, but he may soon be off the market, the same way former BC assistant (now Ohio State head coach) Ryan Day disappeared from a wish list last fall.
BC and Jarmond are at another mile post.
They can do nothing and the Eagles might win one, two or three more games this season or they might not win any more games and life will go on, with more promises of getting better that is unlikely to happen without a change in coaches.
Or Jarmond could decide enough is enough. Athletic directors generally want coaches they hire running their programs.
Jarmond did not hire Addazio or men's basketball coach Jim Christian, who has also had problems making progress.
Making such a move in football the next few weeks would make sense, but will it happen remains the key question.