(An outsiders observations on what is going on at Boston College, aka The Heights)
One of the worst things you can say about a person or, in college athletics, a program, is that it is beyond bad, it is irrelevant.
For most of the past 10 years, that term has uncomfortably fit into describing Boston College football and men's basketball, which are the two athletic programs used to judge success, failure and relevancy.
In the holiday season of 2017, BC may have crawled out of that spot. This is not to suggest BC has climbed into the sunlight. The Eagles may still need months, and perhaps years, to reach the next level, but they are showing signs of life and the small core group of Eagle fans at The Heights should celebrate that for as long as it continues.
Let's begin with BC basketball.
At the start of the season, almost no one outside of The Heights circle of support had projected anything but predicting the Eagles having another bottom feeder season in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Coach Jim Christian was "dead man walking'' in terms of his future at BC.
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Not so much.
The Eagles under scheduled in November and December, as they should have given their lowly status, and they....won, and won, and won, beating the teams they were supposed to beat such as Maine, Sacred Heart, Hartford and Colgate. But then they came back to Conte Forum a couple of weeks ago and faced unbeaten and No. 1 ranked Duke...and won again.
Going into the end of their December non-conference schedule against Richmond on Sunday, BC is 9-3. With an expected win--the Spiders are woeful 2-9--BC will jump into the ACC season on Dec. 30th against Virginia with 10 wins.
That means BC needs to win 5 ACC games to reach the .500 mark (the Eagles have a non-conference game in January against Dartmouth they should win), something BC has not achieved since the 2010-11 season.
If that happens, Christian should not only save his job, but probably get some ACC Coach of The Year votes.
There is a huge difference in whether the Eagles can win 16 games and whether they will win. But in beating Duke, BC proved it can play with any team in the country for 40 minutes.
For the first time in Christian's four-plus seasons at The Heights, the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. If it happens, Christian and his staff deserve kudos for a job well done.
As for football, BC is also on the precipice of a milestone for Coach Steve Addazio--by beating Iowa in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium next week, the Eagles will win 8 games for the first time in Addazio's five seasons at BC.
Although the difference between 7-6 and 8-5 is only one game, the eighth win is significant. Beating Iowa will end a season of highs for the Eagles, which included unexpected wins over Florida State and Louisville and the emergence of freshman running back AJ Dillon as legitimate ALL AMERICAN candidate for next season.
A win over Iowa will also end the season with three straight wins and victories in six of their last seven games.
The Eagles also can put on a happy face this week as they added recruits which should secure a Top 50 recruiting class-another milestone for an Addazio-coached team.
Addazio got it right earlier this week when he talked about this recruiting class and the state of his program.
""Football is momentum,'' he said. ""When you are talking about in season games or you're talking about recruiting. Momentum is huge. We help control the narrative of Boston College football. Everybody. Coaches, sure, Players, sure, Alumni, fans, absolutely. You want to have a great narrative. You have great energy. Positivity is incredibly important. And right now the positivity in our program is at the high, high, high in energy level of it all. And I couldn't be more excited about that.''[/membership]