The 2012 season began at home on a warm September afternoon against the Miami Hurricanes, the last team the Eagles had faced in 2011. Boston College won that matchup in Coral Gables in Luke Kuechly’s grand finale, and the team hoped to start their new season off on a good note.
Junior quarterback Chase Rettig most certainly did, but his team did not, as the Eagles fell, 41-32. Rettig threw for an outstanding 441 yards, but the run defense got gashed on multiple occasions by Duke Johnson, who posted 135 yards on just seven carries.
This game started the emergence of Alex Amidon as the new receiving threat on the Eagles in the absence of Bobby Swigert, and it carried over into the next game against FCS opponent Maine, whom they beat 34-3. Amidon caught 99 more yards of passes, and had 248 total in his first two games of the season, en route to one of the best years a Boston College receiver has ever had.
Boston College had been granted somewhat of a schedule reprieve by playing the Black Bears so early in the season, getting the “zero” out of the win column before things spiraled out of control. Unfortunately for them, the “one” sat untouched for a while, as BC would then go on to lose on the road at Northwestern, 22-13, and against Clemson, 45-31.
Following the loss to the Tigers, Boston College football fell to 1-3 and was in danger of truly falling to pieces as four of their next five games were on the road. DeFilippo’s last BC football game as athletic director was Clemson, and he was officially succeeded by Brad Bates in October. The first game Bates got to see was an embarrassing 34-31 last-minute loss at Army, the first the Eagles had suffered against the Black Knights since the dark days of Dan Henning.
The next game was in fact worse: a catastrophic 51-7 pasting at the hands of Florida State. The three-game road trip was then concluded by another embarrassing defeat, this one a 37-17 smashing against an average Georgia Tech team. When Boston College got back home to face Maryland, the Eagles were 1-6, virtually assured a losing season, and also looking very much like there would be a new coach.
Chase Rettig and Alex Amidon played well through this stretch, but there were serious problems with the rushing game (statistically one of the worst in FBS football) and the defense, which had crashed from Top 15 in the nation in 2010 to the bottom quarter in 2012. Still, many of these things took a back seat to the ongoing head coaching drama; with a new athletic director in place, the fans started becoming restless in looking for immediate change, but it was not to come until the end of the year.
Meanwhile, even though BC defeated Maryland in a last-minute comeback engineered by Rettig, the bottom would fall out and the Eagles would be eliminated from bowl play the following week against Wake Forest. This was then followed by a national-television loss against Notre Dame, a senior day loss to Virginia Tech, and a season finale loss against Tom O’Brien and the NC State Wolfpack. Rettig trailed off a bit towards the end of his junior season, throwing three interceptions and no touchdowns in the final game.
That was hardly on anyone’s mind. The game against the Wolfpack didn’t matter to anyone – what would happen in the following few days did.