(An outsider's observations about what is going on at Boston College, aka The Heights)
Going back to one of my all time favorite movies Animal House, I screwed up. I trusted Boston College to play its bowl game like a program that was in an upward climb out of the abyss of mediocrity, which had characterized the past five seasons under the guidance of coach Steve Addazio.
I read all the positive signs from a season which had produced an All America-caliber running back in freshman AJ Dillon. I saw unexpected wins against teams such as Florida State and Louisville. I saw a season that was again peaking at the end of its cycle with easy wins over UConn and Syracuse.
I saw the potential for a major breakthrough for BC and Addazio, who appeared to have not only saved his job, but secured it.
Getting an eighth win was a milestone for an Addazio team at BC that seemed reasonable since the Eagles' opponent in Wednesday night's Pinstripe Bowl was a mediocre Iowa team which didn't appear to have much of an incentive to play on the frozen tundra of Yankee Stadium two days after Christmas against a nondescript BC team (more about that later).
So I drank the "cool" aid.
BC was going to continue its climb. A win over Iowa would piggy back into an optimistic off season and hopes of finally putting BC back into the top half of the ever-so tough Atlantic Coast Conference.
Maybe not to the levels of a decade ago when the Eagles won back to back ACC Atlantic Division titles, but part of the conversation as a team which could sneak in through the side door.
I felt like Charlie Brown staring up at Lucy after she pulled the football away just before he tries to kick it.
I trusted BC.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
What makes it even more difficult to accept is that BC didn't play all that bad against the Hawkeyes. Dillon played like a freshman All America in the first half by breaking the 100 yards rushing barrier in the first quarter and scoring a TD.
The Eagles were aggressive on offense and defense. They looked confident, like a team that knew it was going to win the game.
That changed in the second half. Iowa played to win, BC played not to lose.
In the end, BC made more mistakes, including a fumble and interception in the final quarter by back-up QB Darius Wade, which sealed the deal against the Eagles.
There were other mistakes, which Addazio admitted, as he tried to spin this is a positive for next season with the potential of greater things.
""We've got a talented football team with a great future,'' said Addazio. "You know we've got some good team speed and some play makers. I really like where we're headed and where we're going to be.''
BC might have done better if starting QB Anthony Brown had not gone down with a knee injury a month ago. He will be back next season and there Addazio feels good about his QB situation.
Ah, there it is.
Be careful because with BC there is no easy answer to the future of the Eagles. Yes, the talent seems to be there, but can BC make the jump to the next step?
Addazio can talk all he wants about improvement, but then numbers are the numbers.
In five years at BC, Addazio is 31-33. Four of the five years produced 7-6 records, leading one cynic to suggest he should be coaching the Philadelphia 76ers instead of the Eagles.
Now if going 7-6 each season is good enough, then Addazio hasn't done that much wrong. The Eagles provided some highlight film moments this season. They look like they are getting better.
But as the sage from Jersey named Bill Parcells has often been quoted, "You are what your record says you are.''
Which leaves BC, going into this (for now) very cold winter, wondering and hoping and wishing that things will be better by next summer when they get serious about football once again.
Addazio has three years remaining on his contract. It seems that next season will be a crossroads for both Addazio and new BC athletic director Martin Jarmond.
Either BC makes enough improvement to merit a contract extension for Addazio or it falls into the 76er rut again and Jarmond looks for another football coach.
I'd like to think that the schedule is easy enough and there is enough talent to make the breakthrough from the seven victory ceiling.
But until win No. 8 is posted, I'm not buying no matter what the trending looks like.
Although the incentive for Iowa to win may not appear to have been overwhelming, Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz certainly had something on the line. The victory over BC gave Iowa its eighth win--and that gave Ferentz a $500,000 contract bonus. Is this a great country or what?
Here's a rumor to watch develop in the next few days. Look for former BC defensive coordinator Billy McGovern to emerge as the new linebackers coach at Rutgers. McGovern has been in the NFL the past several years, first with Chip Kelly in Philadelphia and most recently with the New York Giants as the linebacker coach for fired Giants coach Ben McAdoo.
McGovern could resurface on Kelly's staff at UCLA, but Rutgers which made a run at the New Jersey native a few years ago is making another run at him. Stay tuned.[/membership]