At 3-2, Where is the Football Team Headed?

After a promising 3-1 start—and just as BC began building momentum—a late fourth quarter loss against Colorado State thwarted the possibility of opening the season with a 4-1 record. Accordingly, the Boston College Eagles may have more question marks five games into the season than they did at the very beginning.

With thrashings against UMass and Maine and an electrifying win against No. 9 USC, the Eagles have had their highs. With losses to Pitt and Colorado State, however, the Eagles are experiencing their lows.

After such an unexpected loss, one wonders whether it was a fluke that BC lost against Pitt or whether it was a fluke that BC triumphed against No. 9 USC.

The truth? Neither. True, BC’s most recent loss to CSU makes the latter seem more rational. However, the sobering reality is that BC’s Achilles heel is also one of its greatest assets—BC plays at the level of its competition.

Exceptions—like a 30-7 trouncing of UMass and a 40-10 pummeling of Maine—certainly exist. These games, if anything, substantiate BC’s athletic prowess and ability to run on all cylinders.

However, losing to Pittsburgh by ten, beating USC by six, and losing late to Colorado State by a mere three points demonstrate that BC has an underlying inclination to keep games close. And with a now ACC-exclusive schedule, this chain of events is unlikely to be broken anytime soon.

Despite losing Andre Williams, the Eagles have refined their offense with the help of senior QB Tyler Murphy, freshman RB Jon Hilliman, and sophomore RB Myles Willis. The Eagles have netted 316.8 rushing yards per game, the seventh highest in Division 1 football.

BC’s notoriously lackluster passing game has shown somewhat of a pulse, as graduate student WR Josh Bordner, junior WR Dan Crimmons, and senior WR Shakim Phillips have each received over 100 yards this season. Overall, BC is averaging 29.6 points per game.

As for defense, the Eagles have allowed, on average, 20.6 points per game—the 36th lowest in the NCAA. Holding USC, one of the most prolific offenses in the NCAA, to 31 points, was a lofty feat. However, allowing teams like Pitt and Colorado to score 30 and 24 points, respectively, proves that the BC defense is far from perfect.

So where does this leave us? In a great position—if we believe ourselves to be in one. Before you scoff, examine BC’s schedule. It isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright difficult. USC, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Louisville, Florida State, and an abundance of other venerable teams, the vast majority of which BC hasn’t even played yet.

These next seven games are going to test the Eagles’ true character and depth. And while team morale is slumping after a disappointing loss, the Eagles need to take the beginning of this season for what it is—a lesson. Scratch that—several lessons.

Alex Krowiak/ Gavel Media.

Alex Krowiak/ Gavel Media.

For one, the Eagles know that no game is guaranteed, even if you are playing Colorado State at home on Parents’ Weekend. But the Eagles also know that they can not only compete with, but also prevail against, the best.

Less obviously, the Eagles—based on last season and this season—have the ability to consciously recognize that almost every game is going to be a fight until the end. Last year, the Eagles led No. 3 Clemson up until the fourth quarter. The Eagles also shocked No. 8 Florida State, matching their play for the first half and proving to be the most difficult team FSU played all regular season long.

Last year, the Eagles opened with a 3-2 record. This year, the Eagles have opened with a 3-2 record. Last year’s final seven games were far softer—in terms of opponents—than this year’s final seven games. So why should we hope for anything better than last year’s team? To many, we shouldn’t. But I’d keep your eyes open— the Eagles might just surprise you.

 

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Joe Castignetti