One year ago, on October 13, 2012, Boston College Eagles football was one week removed from a disastrous loss against the Army Black Knights and was in the process of being served an even wider loss by the Florida State Seminoles. On this date a year ago, Boston College fell to 1-5 in Tallahassee and their nightmare was nowhere near over.
Yesterday, the Eagles fell to the Clemson Tigers and their record moved to 3-3. Individual instances from that game may disappoint, but few are truly upset with how the Eagles played and none believe the program is moving in the wrong direction.
In just one year, Boston College football has not massively upgraded in terms of talent, but something that was once missing is now back: intensity.
At Clemson on Saturday, the Eagles lost by ten points to one of the nation’s best teams on its home turf, outplaying the Tigers for long stretches. This followed a mostly by-the-book 21-point pasting of Army and a representative effort against another top-ten team in Florida State. All things considered, one would accurately be able to say that the Boston College Eagles have acquitted themselves well lately, at least after their only true debacle in Los Angeles.
Last season (and the seasons before that) were chock full of horror as the Eagles were routinely outmatched and ultimately appeared to be non-competitive. That cannot be said of the 2013 Eagles, who may have lost three games already, but are definitely trying. It was easy to be proud of this team each of the last three weeks, playing toe-to-toe with very good teams in two of them.
Being elite would require Boston College to start winning games like Florida State and Clemson with regularity. This team at this time has been falling short of that, but they are fighting. Coach Steve Addazio said it himself after halftime: “Our intensity is phenomenal. Our locker room is on fire.” These guys are not playing like a group that lost 18 games in the past two seasons: they are playing like a team with players who believe in each other and harbor pride. Addazio and his staff must be credited with repairing what he called a “fragmented” team, where every week, the Eagles went through the motions, took their beating, and went back for more the following Saturday. Negative energy burst from every porous membrane of the former regime at Boston College, but that is now gone.
This Boston College team lost its last game, but it is not defeated. Their collective attitude has gotten a major adjustment, and we are seeing the results on the field. Boston College football is fighting again, not rolling over and summarily getting thrown under the bus. They are competing. They are unintimidated. They can’t be told that the odds are too long.
With the schedule lightening up in the second half of the season, this Eagles football team has every chance at making a bowl game. Given how this group has played in most of its games, and also given the fact that they may in some respects be getting better, what seemed like merely a chance at six wins looks much less optimistic and much more realistic.
A very dark period in this program’s history is over, and it could not be more obvious. Neglecting the Xs-and-Os part of the game, motivation and a winning mentality count for a great deal in football. They were not present in the recent past, but they are now, and win or lose, Eagles fans can take pride in the fact that this team is going to battle and give one-hundred percent effort. Watching this team was often a painful chore in the previous era, but this team’s pride is back, and it’s something we can all appreciate, because the on-field product is much better for it.