Quietly over in Chestnut Hill, Boston College football head coach Steve Addazio has put the program back on the right track after former head coach Frank Spaziani nearly ran it into the ground before being fired in 2012.
The Eagles are coming off a pair of 7-6 seasons in Addazio’s first two years in charge. BC obviously has faith in the energetic Connecticut native since following the 2014 regular season, they extended his current deal through 2020. He appears to be the right guy for what will always be a tough job in terms of recruiting top players and building a consistent winner at such a well respected academic institution in the Northeast.
The next step for the Eagles is to win another bowl game since they were blown out 42-19 by Arizona in the 2013 Independence Bowl and they fell 31-30 in overtime to Penn State in last season’s Pinstripe Bowl.
The merits of preseason polls can always be questioned but voters clearly don’t think much of BC’s overall chances in 2015: they were picked fifth out of seven teams in the ACC’s Atlantic Division, in front of only Syracuse and Wake Forest-two programs that have been utter disasters for years. Furthermore, no Eagles were chosen for the All-ACC preseason first team.
Their biggest question mark is at quarterback where they’ll try to replace versatile quarterback Tyler Murphy (who is trying to make the Steelers as a wide receiver). Sophomore running back Jon Hilliman figures to be the focal point of the offense after he ran for 860 yards and 13 TDs in his freshman campaign. He’s on the Maxwell Award and Doak Walker Award watch lists heading into this season. The defense will be led by senior defensive tackle Connor Wujciak (33 tackles, 3 sacks, 7.5 tackles for loss, forced fumble in 2014) who was named to the Outland Trophy watch list.
At least on paper, .500 (6-6) or 7-5 once again looks possible for Boston College. Of their 12 games, only four of their games are true road contests while their first four are all at Alumni Stadium and they have a much-anticipated neutral site matchup with Notre Dame at Fenway Park on November 21 (what should be one of the toughest tickets to get in Boston this fall). Besides the Fighting Irish who are ranked 11th, No. 10 Florida State (September 18 at BC) and No. 12 Clemson (October 17 at Clemson) are their other ranked opponents. There is no preseason in college football but facing Maine and Howard-two FCS teams-at home in their first two games should serve as nothing but a warmup for BC before the Seminoles visit in primetime (8, ESPN). The first road game for the Eagles isn’t until October 3 at Duke. That’s a winnable contest, along with their season finale November 28 at old Big East rival Syracuse which could very well determine their postseason fate.