It’s finally time to put a period on the 2011-12 sports year at Boston College and move on (and why not, as aside from hockey, it was an unmitigated disaster). Chronologically, the first major sport was football, and that is where we begin today.
In a way, it’s logical that we start with football, anyway. This 4-8 season, as it turned out, gave us all a good indication of the general direction of the year in BC sports. Heading into the 2011 season, there was some optimism, but it was met by concern over the difficulty level of the schedule. Unfortunately, the schedule turned out to be more manageable than expected, but the Eagles’ record didn’t show it.
The first disappointment came on September 3, opening day. Boston College faced Northwestern in a non-conference contest and lost at home, 24-17. The Eagles amassed quite a few offensive yards, but got beaten by backup quarterback Kain Colter and were unable to convert those yards into points. When all was said and done, the Wildcats made the plays to win and BC didn’t; it was a discouraging loss, and BC fans didn’t necessarily feel any better having to play an improved UCF team on the road in the second week.
Now we know UCF actually got much worse in 2011, but when BC visited Orlando, you could have fooled them. The Eagles offense, as has been their calling card since the days of Gary Tranquill, was stymied and only managed three points while the Knights eventually pulled away to a big win. It is perhaps most notable, however, for the mysterious disappearance of Kevin Rogers, who left the team after this game (after just two games as the offensive coordinator; he was replaced by Dave Brock). Thankfully, he was miraculously healed of his ill health in time to secure an assistant job at Temple right after the season ended.
Unfortunately for the football team itself, there was no healing. In fact, things got measurably worse the next week when they returned home to Alumni Stadium and promptly lost a soul-crushing game to Duke, 20-19. This loss put the Eagles at 0-3 for the first time in 20 years. Boston College led the game 19-7 in the second quarter and actually looked somewhat capable, but they were unable or unwilling to maintain any offensive rhythm thereafter, letting Duke get back in the game and clip them in the closing quarter. The moment everyone remembers, however, is Nate Freese missing a chip-shot field goal in the final minute which may have won the game.
I am not certain I subscribe to what YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay calls the “fallacy of the predetermined outcome,” which in this case would hold that BC beating Duke might have given a psychological boost and changed the complexion of their season. Frankly, those claiming that Freese should have made the field goal are right, but are missing the point: the fact that the Eagles were losing to Duke at all is a problem, and we now know with the benefit of hindsight that they’d still not have made a bowl and that the team was deeply flawed, starting at the top. Of course, making Duke’s thoroughly-meh quarterback look like Joe Montana also did not help. Anyone with two operational brain cells to rub together could see something was clearly wrong with this team.