ACC landscape shifting on BC

(An outsiders musings about the goings on at Boston College, aka The Heights)


When the 2017 college football season began, only a few die-hard fans outside of the football offices at Boston College would have predicted anything but a string of Ls when the Eagles' annual challenge against ACC rivals Florida State, Clemson, Louisville and Virginia Tech was being discussed.

Any projected success for BC Coach Steve Addazio's team began with losses to each of those four ACC elite programs.

As BC prepares for its annual meeting with Virginia Tech on Saturday night, that theory could still prevail. The Eagles have already dealt with Clemson, being tagged with a 34-7 loss in a game which went into the fourth quarter before being decided (is that progress?).

But the picture has changed, perhaps radically, since the season began six weeks ago.

BC, which is 2-3 going into Saturday's game against the Hokies at Alumni Stadium, still could bottom out with a 4-8 or worse record. But it could also be different, much different, for the Eagles.

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First, the good news.

Other than Clemson--and BC is done with the Tigers for the season--the other "power'' ACC teams look (and have been) beatable.

The Seminoles went from invincible to vulnerable. The combination of opening their season against Alabama, a season-ending knee injury to starting quarterback Deondre Francois and the overwhelming affects of Hurricane Irma, have devastated the Seminoles, who have staggered to a 1-2 start.

Going into Saturday's game against Miami--which had been postponed because of the hurricane--FSU was staring at its third consecutive three-loss season. At most places, a 10-3 record will get you a raise. At FSU, a 1-3 start will prompt some Seminole fans to put "For Sale'' signs on FSU coach Jimbo Fisher's front lawn.

Just what kind of attitude FSU brings to The Heights, in three weeks, for a Friday night meeting, remains to be seen.

Louisville will face BC next week. The Cardinals have already been beaten twice this season, including a 38-25 loss to North Carolina State that was not a fluke. The team at Papa John Stadium is suddenly a large X factor if you throw in the turmoil caused by Coach Rick Pitino's former basketball program.

Virginia Tech is also facing BC on a downward dip, coming off a tough home loss to Clemson last week. The Hokies should bounce back, but a blowout such as last year's 49-0 pounding of the Eagles, seems unlikely.

Now the bad news for BC.

The teams on the Eagles' schedule BC fans thought could be potential Ws--NC State, Virginia, Syracuse--all have shown signs of improvement. Particularly NC State, which is now 3-0 in the ACC with wins over FSU AND Louisville.

Virginia, at 3-1, has already topped last year's victory total (two) and has a road win at Boise State on its resume.

Syracuse has been sporadic in its success, but the Eagles finish the regular season in the Carrier Dome, which has always been a tough place for BC to find a win.

Just what all of this means for BC in the next month--games against Virginia Tech, at Louisville, at Virginia and FSU--is hard to predict.

Addazio defends the way the Eagles have played in losses to Notre Dame and Clemson, despite the margin of defeat (49-20 to ND, 34-7 to Clemson).

"I'd say we defended Clemson as good as anybody has, period, the end.'' said Addazio. "Down there we played almost as good a game as I've seen played against them. The game before that (ND), we played a really good Notre Dame team and we played great defense in that game. We had six plays where we were out of the gap. It wasn't like we got mauled up front and they just jammed the ball down our throats. We're playing strong up front and we've done that against good teams.''

The schedule against good teams will continue Saturday night against Virginia Tech. But just how the Eagles compete is less certain than it was a few weeks ago--which could be good--or bad--news for the Eagles[/membership]