0-2 start: Where is 2011 BC football going?


Saturday night was a bad night for Boston College football, but how bad truly was it? Pretty bad, I’d say, and potentially very ominous for the remainder of the year.

It’s important to keep in perspective the fact that BC hasn’t had a bad start like this in a long time (since 1994 to be exact), but no matter how you slice it, the Eagles looked mediocre the first week and downright awful in the second. One begins to wonder if mediocrity is BC’s ceiling in 2011.

I don’t want to give up on a year with ten games left to play, and I won’t quite yet, but what Boston College has shown us so far in the first two games is very, very concerning. The Eagles have doubtlessly had their fair share of injuries, but when you look at some of the names still on the roster, I think the Eagles are playing much worse than what they are. To be blunt, I believe a lot of that underachievement can be pinned on the coaching, in addition to the players themselves. For the first two weeks of the season, BC looked woefully unprepared, as though they just rolled out of bed on Saturday and decided to play a football game. To be honest with my readers, I’m not sure what we presently have CAN turn it around, let alone if they will.

In fact, if after this weekend it becomes blindingly obvious that BC is going nowhere, I would stick a medical redshirt on Montel Harris and be done with it. He’s clearly not operating at 100% right now anyway, and this season looks like it may be on its way down the tubes (for many more reasons than just his absence, if we’re going to be fair). They can give him the year off due to injury and get a do-over next season.

I’ll tell you what I think is going to happen (your mileage may vary): following the 0-2 start, they will eke out three wins in a row against schedule bottom-feeders Duke, UMass, and Wake Forest, and, like last year’s five-game win streak, people will climb back on board the bandwagon, thinking they’ve turned it around. Then they get into the meat of their ACC schedule, starting with a road game against Clemson, where they get steamrolled. Surprisingly, some won’t see it coming, not realizing that the three teams BC beat all suck. (Like last year, many didn’t seem to notice how BC was squeaking by crappy teams almost every week, indicating that they didn’t truly “turn it around” after all.) The Eagles will then be decidedly mediocre throughout the rest of their schedule, pulling one reasonably-decent win out of their collective rear and blowing a headscratcher or two. They will finish with about 4 or 5 wins if things do not legitimately turn around, and quickly.

I would even go so far as to say that if the Eagles lose ANY of these next three games, you can not only forget about their bowl streak, but brace yourselves for something catastrophically bad (in the 2-3 win neighborhood). I see at least three or four MORE probable or likely losses on the schedule as it is; dumping any one of the Duke, UMass, or Wake games may doom their season. Let’s be honest, though, do you really want to talk about making a bowl game after what happened on Saturday night? Cue up the Jim Mora “Playoffs!?” rant — I just hope we win a game, and take it from there. The team I saw doesn’t deserve to sniff one, and it’s highly disappointing.

Is the season doomed already, though? Not yet, but based on what I’ve seen, we’re not far from it, either. It’s possible that things will get better as the year goes along, but remember that the schedule becomes very difficult throughout ACC play. If the Eagles were to play against, say, Florida State the way they played against UCF, they would have been utterly embarrassed, probably to the tune of a six-touchdown loss, and I’m not exaggerating even a little.

My view, and this goes back to the previous few seasons, is that this football program is stuck. Lately, we haven’t gotten too far behind, but we’re not getting ahead, either. The Eagles are locked in a mediocre neutral, except this season, things are tracking in an even uglier direction. Boston College football is, in my estimation, slowly sinking into the abyss. The life is bleeding out from them week by week, and fans are losing faith (not just in this year, but in general with regards to the direction of the program). Boston College football is in dire need of a spark of energy, and they had better get it soon.

This is more than just the Eagles losing a couple games to start the year: the results we’ve gotten recently speak to a systemic dysfunction in this program — a decline, if you will — and as a Boston College fan and alum, I’m not fine with it. I’m not imagining things, either, because we end up seeing the same problems manifest themselves week in and week out over the span of years, which are spotty play and poor coaching, which leads to greater degrees of fan apathy and, eventually, a recruiting decline.

Take a look at how this team has performed since 2009:

• 15-13 overall record
• 0-2 record in bowl games
• 13-13 record against FBS opponents (9-7 in ACC, 4-6 non-conference; 2-0 against FCS)

That is decidedly mediocre. Not bad enough to cause an uproar (especially for the “making a bowl game is good enough for me” crowd), not good enough to accomplish anything, and it’s not getting any better. Call it quibbling over a small sample size if it helps you sleep at night, but BC isn’t going to get a big string of weak opponents to bail them out this year. Even Wake Forest, one of the three teams in BC’s “light” stretch coming up, has managed to win a game by now (an ACC game, no less). Northwestern and UCF aren’t the two most difficult teams they’ll face; potentially far from it, in fact. If they can’t even play a half-decent game against them, then I’m not sure how BC is going to do much of any damage at all the rest of the way. Sure, they might find their games to win, especially when the other team is even worse than them, but this is not shaping up to be much of a season for the Eagles. Simply put, if BC doesn’t dramatically turn things around soon, they won’t get the chance later.

I want this program to win, win big, and contend for ACC titles annually. We can do all of those things if we try, but right now, we’re not doing any of them. Furthermore, there doesn’t seem to be any urgency to move the program in said direction. When they find it, someone please let me know.