Psst. Don't tell anyone, but Boston College might have a pretty good football team.
"Pretty good'' like 8 or 9 wins. "Pretty good'' like good enough to make Clemson really pay attention when the Tigers come to The Heights in November.
''Pretty good'' like in Top 25 caliber good.
We understand if you don't want to jump on the bandwagon for a program that has not been relevant in a decade, that hasn't won more than 7 games in a season since 2009.
And we understand if you argue that beating teams like UMass and Holy Cross by a combined score of 117-35 and then out scoring a Wake Forest team, which was projected as a sixth place finisher in the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division, aren't eye-opening events.
But somehow this 3-0 start--the Eagles quickest get-away since 2007--feels different, looks different. Added to that are other trending events early in the season by BC's opponents this season which favor Coach Steve Addazio's team.
Let 's start with the basics.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
The Eagles' have a Heisman-class running back in AJ Dillon, who picked up the pace in Thursday night's 41-34 win at Wake Forest with a typical effort: 33 carries 185 yards 1 TD.
Dillon, is only a sophomore who de-committed from Michigan--How did Coach Khaki Pants let this kid get away?--and is the real deal folks.
Move to quarterback, where redshirt sophomore Anthony Brown continued his comeback (he is coming off a knee injury which ended his season last November) and showed his skills with a career high 5 TD passes for 304 yards against Wake.
Brown looks like the best QB at BC since Matt Ryan guided the Eagles as high as No. 2 in the COUNTRY in 2007.
Add a veteran offensive line, which resembles the old O Line U quality that BC produced on a regular basis, a defense, which has some flaws and holes but is capable of making game-saving and drive-ending plays. That's a complete package that can play Big Boy football.
""This team has a chemistry,'' said Addazio, after the Eagles scampered in and out of hurricane territory in Winston-Salem with their first ACC win of the season and their 8th win in their last 10 games. ""It has something special as a team. We have the players, we have the weapons.''
For Eagle fans--and they will start to reveal themselves on a steady basis if the W's continue--the signs around the country are all positive.
BC's next two opponents--Purdue and Temple--are off to horrendous starts, with a combined record of 0-4.
At the end of the season, normally tough to beat opponents such as Louisville, Miami and Florida State have already stumbled. Only Clemson and Virginia Tech have maintained their elite reputation and Clemson must come to BC.
So all things seem possible in the positive prediction department.
""Everybody makes big plays,'' said Dillon, who should be in every discussion when the best running backs in the country are examined. ""There's a feeling I can't explain. But a bunch of guys have my back.''
Says Brown, who has displayed his passing ability on an increasingly regular basis since his return, ""Everybody is on point. When any offense is "clean'', it's hard to stop. We did what we were supposed to do.''
The Eagles were supposed to roll over UMass and Holy Cross. They did.
They were supposed to show their toughness in their first road game at Wake Forest. They did that on offense, although the Wake defense had them breathing hard the entire night, although a pair of special team mistakes which resulted in easy Wake TD's contributed to the Eagles' angst.
No one at BC is projecting too far in the future, which is wise since the Eagles' still do not have equity as a team that can automatically hit the play button and perform at a winning level.
But they are light years ahead of where they were three years ago when they went winless in the ACC season as part of a 2-10 collapse. And they are much further ahead of where they were at the end of September last season when they began with 3 losses in their first five games, including back to back blowout losses to Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Clemson.
Purdue is up next for the Eagles and they will show up.
Beyond that, anything seems possible, even a climb back into the upper tier of the ACC standings.
BC came in and out of North Carolina, without feeling a drop of rain, but Hurricane Florence has created havoc with the weekend ACC schedule. Virginia Tech's game with East Carolina has been called off as well as North Carolina's game against UCF and NC State's game with West Virginia....After an embarrassing opening game loss to Virginia Tech and an embarrassingly close win over Samford, FSU fans don't know how to react to Willie Taggart's first few games as the Seminoles coach. A road trip at Syracuse on Saturday will either quell those feelings or increase them 10 fold.[/membership]