It's a Happy New Year for BC--for now
(An outsiders musings about goings on at Boston College, AKA The Heights)
So maybe there is a Santa Claus. At least Boston College must feel that way this morning.
The folks at The Heights can sleep in comfort and satisfaction for the rest of the calendar year, secure in the knowledge that their football team has now won 3 consecutive games, including its first bowl game in 9 seasons and that the record for the 2016 Eagles will be 7-6 instead of 6-7.
The much maligned men's basketball team also can carry some sweet dreams for another week. Coach Jim Chrisitan's Eagles go into the ACC season with solid wins over Auburn and Providence, and a 1-game winning streak which will not be in jeopardy until next year--Jan 1 --when Syracuse comes to Conte Forum
Gloom and doom at The Heights? Not right now.
The latest magic moment for BC came on Monday afternoon in Detroit where Coach Steve Addazio's team hung on for a 36-30 win over Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl.
In so many ways the victory, which marked the third time in Addazio's four seasons at BC the Eagles punched out a 7-6 winning record, typified their season.
Lots of good plays, lots of head scratchers in which the Eagles attempted to give back what they had earned. But this time, unlike squandered regular season games against Georgia Tech and Syracuse, BC found a team which was more snake bitten and self destructive than the Eagles.
If it were not for Rutgers, Maryland would be the worst team in the Big Ten and the Terps showed it consistently against the Eagles, turning the ball over on a steady basis and being almost inept in a half dozen goal line opportunities.
All of which was good news for Addazio, who will return for his fifth season at The Heights with a logical sounding argument that 2017 will be a break out season for the Eagles.
Although Addazio deserves a day or so to enjoy his first bowl victory as the BC coach after two previous losses--no BC coach has ever lost 3 bowl games--here is the theme he will likely preach for the next nine months.
The Eagles will return the majority of an offensive line that matured steadily over the season, they have the quarterback of the future waiting to take over in Anthony Brown, a freshman who redshirted this season, they have a four star running back recruit in A.J. Dillon, who decommitted from Michigan to come to BC--which almost never happens to schools such as BC.
The defense looked spectacular at times against Maryland and vulnerable at other times, but will have a budding super star if Harold Landry decides to remain for his senior season.
With no losses possible until next September, Addazio can spin positive tales all spring and summer about taking the next step in a program which will be in its fifth year under his leadership.
Addazio will have to deal with some pressure since his future at BC will almost certainly be determined by the Eagles' having a winning record. Adding to the suspense will be the uncertainty of whom Addazio's immediate boss will be.
The spirit of optimism about the program has yet to reach the AD's office, where Brad Bates remains in the lame duck section, with a contract that will expire next year without a murmur about a contract extension.
All of this hope and joy, of course, is fragile. The Eagles did finish with a 7-6 record, but there were no wins against quality teams on the schedule and the Eagles' success next season could be determined by two players who have not played a down of college football.
And going down to the final seconds before being assured of a victory over a team like Maryland should not cause a false positive reading about the stae of health of the BC football program.
There is still more work to be done. Much more. There are likely to be some minor tweaks on Addazio's staff--sources at BC suggest defensive coordinator Jim Reid might retire and be replaced by defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni, who handled many of the DC's duties during the regular season. Running back Coach Brian White might also be replaced.
There is also positive chatter that ground will finally be broken on an indoor practice facility which will be built on the site of Shea Field, which sits next to Alumni Stadium. Actually breaking ground on any athletic project at BC is always a positive sign, especially on a campus where athletic facilities are among the worst in the ACC.
As for the basketball team, the wins over Auburn and Providence were encouraging, but even the most loyal BC backers will have difficulty in projecting when the next win against an ACC team will occur. The Eagles went 0-18 in the ACC a year ago.
For now, however, any gloom and doom talk should be muted. Is is indeed the season to be jolly--even at The Heights.