Finally, the 125th and final article of the 101 Days of Boston College Football, which started in the middle of May and has taken us up to the start of the 2012 season. Without a doubt, the last one will probably generate the most controversy, as it’s time to make some predictions.
I have followed the football team every single day this summer, reading up on all 100+ names on the roster and keeping up to date with news and notes. At the same time, I have kept an eye on our opponents during the offseason, getting a better feel for where their programs are and what those teams are likely to do this season. Finally, I have kept recent history as my guide. In my book, that’s immersion.
First, once more, the football schedule for 2012:
Many things will change over the course of the season, so anyone making predictions in August reserves the right to revise on a game-by-game basis when the time comes. It was not my plan to offer individual game picks at this point, anyway, but I think it’s possible to offer some best and worst-case scenarios and probabilities.
Boston College football 2012, best-case scenario
The Eagles open up their season with a solid win over Miami, after which they beat the stuffing out of Maine for a 2-0 start. Riding an unexpected wave of confidence, they squeak out a close one over the Northwestern team that beat them last season in Chestnut Hill.
Following the bye week, the Eagles take their first loss against a flat and overconfident Clemson squad in a game that’s much closer than predicted. After this, they head back out on the road and take care of business against Army at West Point to move to 4-1, then go down to Tallahassee where they barely lose to another flat and overconfident team, Florida State. The Eagles then split the four games with Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, and Notre Dame before coming back home and getting their asses kicked by Virginia Tech for the fourth-straight year. They’ve already gotten the bowl berth by then, but they wrap up the regular season by beating Tom O’Brien’s team in Raleigh. 7 wins, 5 losses
Boston College football 2012, worst-case scenario
BC’s early injuries take a toll on them and Miami gets its revenge for the 2011 season finale by cruising by the Eagles. Then, in an ominous sign, the Maine Black Bears play the Eagles to within one or two scores like they did Pitt last season. The Eagles are at a shaky 1-1 heading out to Northwestern, where Kain Colter beats them again and sends them into the bye at 1-2.
Boston College comes out of the bye fired up, but Clemson remembers what they did to BC last year at home and does it again in Boston. Next, in a shocking twist, the Eagles manage to botch a close Army game late at Michie Stadium, becoming the Black Knights’ annual BCS upset victim. Nationally-ranked Florida State then rubs salt in the wound with a big win over the Eagles, sinking BC to 1-5.
BC figures out a way to beat Maryland, but lose to Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Notre Dame, arranged from closest game to biggest blowout. After losing to ND, the Eagles would be a pathetic 2-8 and the new athletic director would be buying Maalox in bulk. To cap off BC’s most disastrous season in decades, they close with blowout losses to Virginia Tech and NC State. 2 wins, 10 losses
Those are two very, very different visions of which way this season can go. Considering that the Eagles were an 8-loss team last year, I don’t think either outcome is particularly extreme; they’re plus or minus 2 or 3 games from where BC was in 2011. I cannot say I expect something as bad as the worst-case scenario, however.
In my gut, do I think BC’s win total will increase from last season? Yes. By a lot? No. Aside from a few coaching upgrades or reassignments, I still can’t pinpoint where exactly the team got better this offseason, either by improving the talent or rectifying depth issues. In certain areas, BC has less depth than last year, and that’s already being exposed by some key injuries. If everything went perfectly, they’d win seven, but I think planning on more than that is asking too much.
The most likely outcome is a five or six-win season. This is how I’ve felt almost all summer and little has happened to alter that view. I understand that the difference between five and six is huge, but at this stage I’m not sure myself which it’s going to be. I would tend to lean towards five, but acknowledge six, and a bowl bid, as a distinct possibility.
My new-found sense of optimism surrounding this program is in more of a long-term sense, not so much a short-term one. I have not forgotten how many problems BC had last year, and it would be both intellectually dishonest and lazy for me to brush them aside as flukes. They might fix a few, but probably not all.