(An outsiders view of what's going on at The Heights, AKA Boston College)
The major news coming out of The Heights this summer---as another college football season looms--is not anything Coach Steve Addazio's team does on the field, it is where they do it.
No, when the Eagles report for the first day of fall camp next week, they will have at their disposal a 52.6 million dollar indoor practice facility, which unofficially opened this week and will be up and running when the freshmen report.
In 99 percent of the world of FBS football, this is not news because almost everyone (especially in the Power 5 conference schools) has facilities they can use when the weather turns nasty.
[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
At BC, not so much, which has always been one excuse for bad football coming out of The Heights. Comparing the practice facilities available to Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and those used by BC over the Eagles' decade plus tenure in the ACC is like comparing Clemson football to BC football--you can't really, since the playing field was literally not even.
Now it is--to some extent, although you have to forgive, Addazio for some embellishment when in talking about the $56 million faciitiy, said, ""It's a first class facility, as nice as any in the country.'' Closer to the truth was "it was something we so desperately needed on every front.''
In the past when it rained late in the season, Clemson could simply walk from their state of the art football/recreational/meeting building to a dry comfortable practice field, while BC could ether practice among the puddles or get in a bus and travel two hours in often rush hour traffic to an available indoor facility they had to rent.
The harsh reality is that BC will only be an ACC title contender when their recruiting machine turns up a Matt Ryan or a Luke Kuechly, which happens about once a decade. But they still have to compete with Clemson, FSU, Miami and Virginia Tech each year.
And if you believe some prognostications this summer, the Eagles could finish as high as the third (and in the Top 25) in the country. But that is a tale for another day, after the information about game results and injuries starts filling the 2018 regular season.
BC, under Addazio, starting his sixth season at The Heights, and athletic director Martin Jarmond, now beginning his second season, is making the effort. But the Eagles haven't broken the 8 win barrier in a season since Addazio arrived for the start of the 2017 season. Whether the Eagles can go another season without breaking to the next level could determine whether Addazio will be back for a seventh season.
The Eagles do have ACC quality (and beyond) talent on their roster, led by running back AJ Dillon, who could be a 2,000 yard rusher this season and in many Heisman watches.
But there are as many questions as answers--which is fairly typical of July, August, and even September football at BC. Their schedule is front-loaded with winnable games---UMass, Holy Cross, Purdue, Wake Forest, Temple and back-loaded--Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson, FSU--with pot holes and bunkers.
Addazio, as he should in the summer, will spout a mantra of perhaps his most talented team to date. But then the season begins and so does the reality of big boy football (it is very much that in the ACC Atlantic Division, which is BC's residence).
It will be interesting to see what happens, but with the opening of an indoor practice facility, the Eagles will have one less excuse to use if expectations are not met.[/membership]