Yes, we bought it. We saw the numbers and even though they were compiled against less than stellar competition, we projected them to the next level.
We saw an All American type running back, we saw a veteran offensive line, we saw a quarterback who had star potential, we saw a defense which made big plays.
We listened to coach Steve Addazio talk about how his team had reached a new level of confidence.
We saw a Purdue team that had gone through its first three games and not come up with a win, although the three losses were by a total of 8 points. That should have been a warning, but we ignored it.
And yes we drank the Kool-Aide, although we did pick BC to win (but not to cover) against Purdue.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
The theory was that Boston College might really be a good football team, worthy of the Top 25 recognition the Associated Press voters bestowed upon them last week--the Eagles first such ranking in 11 seasons.
Even the folks at ESPN, who moved BC from the outer limits of their telecasts to ESPN-2 for Saturday's game against the Boilermakers suggested that the Eagles, given the collapse of such mainstays of FSU and Miami and the decline of Louisville--and this was hours before Virginia Tech's self destruct move against Old Dominion--more about that later-, might be the second best team in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
But then they made BC play the game.
Purdue showed up. I'm not sure what BC did. The final score was 30-13, but it wasn't close to being that close. It was a mismatch, almost from the first series when BC went three and an out on their first offensive series.
At the half, Purdue, a 7 point underdog at home, led 23-7. The vaunted BC offense, which had produced an average of 600 yards of offense in its last two wins (over Holy Cross and Wake Forest) was MIA. So were running back AJ Dillon, who appeared to have legitimate credentials as a Heisman candidate and sophomore QB Anthony Brown, who had thrown for career highs in TD passes in a romp over Wake Forest a week earlier (also on national television).Brown had a career high 4 interceptions against Purdue.
The Eagles made no excuses. ""If we weren't ready, that's on me,'' said Addazio after the game.
Well, Coach, the Eagles weren't ready.On Monday, Addazio was asked if the Eagles needed to "go back to the drawing board"" or regroup.
: There is no "back to the drawing board".he said. ""We didn't play well, simple as that. There were several player that's played very well, to tell you the truth, but we didn't make the plays explosively that were there to be made, and we didn't make them on both sides of the ball. And did some things like were throwing some balls that ended up getting tipped by the D line, getting tipped that turned into interceptions. We had four interceptions but should have had five.
On defense we stopped running to the ball on a play where we thought the guy was down, he burst out of the thing and went 70. Had another play where we were offside and intercepted a ball down to the 20. It was those kinds of things that were taking place.
Certainly we played physically. Both sides up front played very, very physical. We just got to clean some things up. There was plenty of opportunities. So let's leave it like that, okay? Our inability to take advantage of them is my fault. We have got to make sure that doesn't happen again.
I am very, very confident in our guys, and very confident in what they can get done. It's just a matter of making sure we have a level of consistency with that, and that's something that is real important to get done, that that consistency moving forward is there, but the ability is the ability and toughness is the toughness, and that hasn't changed a lick.''
Not surprisingly, the Eagles dropped out of the Top 25 this week. Not surprisingly, they aren't even in the Top 40 in votes garnered.
BC can regroup with a home win in its last non-conference game of the season against Temple on Saturday. But what is missing is the foundation of support the Eagles have.
They may be 3-1, but I have no idea if they are good, bad or mediocre.
The foundation built by their early success is all gone. Temple, which looked like a wash out with an opening loss to FCS opponent Villanova, has bounced back with solid wins over Maryland and Tulsa.
After that, North Carolina State, a surprising 3-0 with one of the better quarterbacks in the ACC in Ryan Finley, awaits in Raleigh. Louisville still looks hapless, but then comes the stretch of Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson, FSU and Syracuse, which is also unbeaten.
No gimmes in any of those games.
It's truly an amazing turnabout. On noon Saturday, BC seemed poised for a 4-0 start with the prospects of a 5-0 or even a 6-0 start a real possibility. The contract extension that Addazio wanted from BC athletic director Martin Jarmond which would come with an 8 win season, also seemed likely.
Three and a half hours later, the landscape had changed. 3-3 seems as possible as 6-0.
One loss, of course, does not make or destroy a season (at least in September) and BC is capable of putting things back together.
But until we see it actually happen, until the games are in the books, we're not buying any of it. The Eagles have lost their equity in terms of faith.
Win on Saturday and we will pay more attention and then win again the following week at NC State and we will give them back some of the respect they want.
But until it actually happens, we'll pass on any chatter of the Eagles flying at a different altitude than the 7-6 flight pattern they have been in four of Addazio's 5 seasons at The Heights.
Virginia Tech's 49-35 loss to Old Dominion on Saturday wasn't the real stunner, despite the Monarchs entering the game as 28 point underdogs. What really floored us was how a ODU, led by a reserve QB took apart a Bud Foster coached defense, giving up 495 passing yards and 137 points on the ground. This against an 0-3 team which had been outscored 105-55 in its first three games and was bombed out by Liberty 52-10 in its opener....Miami looks like it has a new starting QB. Miami coach Mark Richt finally had seen enough of Malik Rosier after the Canes came up empty in their first two series of the game against Florida International on Saturday. Richt turned to redshirt freshman N'Kosi Perry who promptly produced 2 scoring drives in what turned into a 31-17 Canes' victory...FSU finally showed signs of life in a 37-19 win over Northern Illinois. ""A lot of our guys stepped up and said we're going to get better,'' said FSU QB Deondre Francois, who was part of a players only meeting last week as the Seminoles tried to deal with a 1-2 start....What odds would you have given that three weeks into the season, the 3 unbeaten ACC teams would be Clemson....and NC State and Syracuse....Wake Forest was blown out by Notre Dame 56-27, which was the second consecutive loss for the Deacons who gave up 41 points in a loss to BC two weeks ago. That was apparently too much for Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson who fired his defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel. [/membership]