(An outsiders musings about the goings on at Boston College aka The Heights)
On a day in which Boston College showed a glimpse of its past, the Eagles finally took a step fo the future in their quest to move from mediocre to respectable on the evaluation chart.
It helped, of course, that Coach Steve Addazio's Eagles were facing a team that is further down the food chain than the Eagles.
In a Senior Day celebration, highlighted by the return of QB Matt Ryan (who had his jersey retired) and with former BC coach Tom O'Brien (the winningest FB coach in BC history) watching from the broadcast booth, the Eagles turned their final home game of the season into a celebration, posting a 30-0 win over a UConn team that played as poorly as its record, which is now 3-8 with one game remaining.
With an appreciative Alumni Stadium crowd of 36,220, who actually had something to cheer at the end, watching, the Eagles made all the right moves in elevating their record to 5-6, which leaves them a victory away from a 6-6 turnaround from last season's 3-9 disaster.
The victory ended any speculation about whether Addazio will be back next year for his fifth season. He will, although he will be on the clock in terms of determining whether his stay at BC goes beyond that.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
The question that still remains unanswered is: Who will be the Eagles' athletic director? Brad Bates is in the middle of his fifth season as the Eagles' AD and there has been ZERO indication that his contract will be renewed when it expires in 2017.
The win against UConn was a band-aid on a major wound, which saw the Eagles tumble in both football and men's basketball for the past two seasons. Even if the Eagles' beat Wake Forest next week, their ACC record this season will be 2-6, which coupled with 0-8 mark last year AND the Eagles' 0-18 ACC run in men's basketball, is not a formula for success, especially when you consider that funding and attending are also plummeting.
If the Eagles are going to make an administrative change as their first move, they could do far worse than to ask O'Brien to come back as the athletic director. Sources close to O'Brien, said that if the request came, he would be extremely interested in returning.
O'Brien, working the game for ESPN on Saturday, left The Heights for North Carolina State in 2007 with a record of 75-45. He also left a program which had put together a streak of 8 consecutive bowl games. His affinity for BC showed up again on Saturday as he came down at halftime to join the festivities when Ryan (an O'Brien recruit) returned after nine years to see his jersey retired.
O'Brien and Ryan represent the best that BC has to offer, but those memories have faded over the last few years. O'Brien's return could re-energize the Eagles.
For Addazio, who has been under siege for the last several weeks as the Eagles' were being pounded by the elite of the ACC, Saturday was a much needed positive statement.
The defense pitched its first shut out of the season. The offense, led by graduate senior Patrick Towles (14 of 19, 183 yards, 1 TD) was efficient, if not dominant.
Again, any satisfaction must be tempered by the ineptness of UConn. The Huskies looked hopeless as well as helpless against a BC defense which came into the game following losses to Louisville and FSU by a combined score of 97-14.
But as bad as that was, UConn has been worse over the past three weeks, losing to East Carolina and Temple--not exactly an elite Daily Double--by a combined score of 72-3. With the loss to BC as part of their resume, Coach Bob Diaco's Huskies will go into their regular season finale against Tulane, with a 102-3 margin against. The Huskies have gone 14 quarters without even scoring a TD.
The finale hurdle for respectability for BC will not be easy. Wake Forest had already reached its 6 victory bowl eligibility mark going into Saturdays's game against Clemson, which may have been a blessing for the Eagles.
Wake will come into their finale against BC with bowl security as well as being banged up after their joust with Clemson. That could also be a plus for the Eagles.
Not that any of this mattered on Saturday afternoon to the Eagles. The locker room was again filled with satisfaction about a job well done. They truly control their own bowl destiny, which a victory would secure.
Addazio talked about the job the Eagles did and the job which remained. ""Great enthusiasm, great crispness,'' said Addazio. ""Follow up with maybe playing one of our most complete games.''
Now the Eagles must take the next step. ""It's building confidence,'' said Addazio. "This has been a year that we haven't really been able to build any momentum or confidence. It's just the way it has fallen and it's on me.
""Now we're able to get a little momentum and a little confidence which is so critically important to be able to have a shot to go down there (Wake), on the road and play Wake Forest to have a chance to get our sixth win.
"That's where our season is. So we've got one more to go and we've just got to keep growing.''[/membership]