(An outsiders view of the going on at Boston College, aka The Heights)
Sisyphus, a figure in Greek mythology, was the king of Ephyra and punished for self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it keep rolling back down.
For much of the last decade, Boston College football has played the role of Sisyphus in its quest for respectability. Through three coaches, including Steve Addazio, who is now in his fifth season, the Eagles have stumbled at the start of the seasons in which they didn't begin with a pair of FCS opponents, as they did in 2015 when they outscored Maine and Howard by a combined score of 100-3.
The best record BC has posted since Frank Spaziani's first season in 2009 was 8-5.
With a 23-20 win over Northern Illinois last week, the Eagles can go 2-0 (against FBS competition) by beating Wake Forest in their home opener on Saturday. It would be their best start against FBS teams since 2007 when the Eagles--led by Matt Ryan at QB--won their first eight games en route to spot in the ACC title game.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
""The great thing about being 1-0 is that we have a chance to be 2-0,'' explained Addazio, who also knows that BC's goal is to make a real stride into the season in Week 2. ""Barring injuries, you're hoping to make really good improvement from week one to week two. And in order to do that, you've got to be highly motivated because you know you need to. You follow me? If you feel like maybe, hey, we're okay here, that's when I think it can rise right up and bite you hard.'''
Wake, which coasted to a 51-7 win over Presbyterian last week, is capable of soiling BC's season. Addazio's main focus is on winning the game, but he also wants to see the Eagles move forward in the way they are playing the game.
Training camp is over. The action is live and the games count. Addazio maintained through the spring and summer that the elements for success are in place. Redshirt freshman QB Anthony Brown made his college debut against Northern Illinois and was sharp enough to win the game. There were mistakes made, but none of them were crippling, the kind that can cost a team a game. The running game, the wide receivers, the defense and even the much maligned kicking game, did just enough.
""Here's the beautiful thing,' said Addazio, whose career at BC has produced three 7-6 seasons, sandwiched around one 3-9 clunker, "There's a lot of potential out there right now, You're talking about young guys, older guys, guys that can make plays, both sides of the ball. There's athleticism. There's speed. There's talent. There's quarterback, which is that critical apex of the whole team that has to happen, that have the ability. So that's pretty evident now.''
What is not evident is whether BC can climb past the first few steps of the season. After Wake Forest, Notre Dame comes to Alumni Stadium. That is a winnable game and the Irish will be coming to The Heights after a tough meeting against Georgia. A road trip to Clemson will be a difficult obstacle, but a home game against Central Michigan is also a possible, if not probable, win.
Addazio won't say it publicly, but a 4-1 start would be a huge step forward. If you count games against Virginia (road), NC State, UConn (Fenway Park) and Syracuse (road) as potential victories, then the Eagles would be in the 8 win range.
If that happened, then maybe any chatter of Sisyphus being part of the landscape at The Heights will cease.[/membership]