Duke 20, BC 19: The Nightmare on Beacon Street


We just ain’t that good. How can you be when you lose to the team generally assumed to be the ACC’s worst?

The Boston College Eagles made the case that they, not Duke, are the ACC’s worst so far by posting a 20-19 defeat at Alumni Stadium in Week 3, dropping them to 0-3 (0-1) on this young season, which is now officially an unmitigated disaster.

I’m sure that there are people right now who are blaming this loss on Nate Freese. Yes, he has been shadow of his former self so far this year, and he should have made those kicks yesterday, but to pin the loss solely on him is really quite short-sighted.

For one thing, the game should not have been as close as it was in the first place. Boston College came into this game as a seven-point favorite; if BC were any good, they would have buried this team. Second, and just as importantly, Duke made the plays they had to make to win the game. It’s not their fault that the Eagles’ pass defense is outrageously soft, the coaches don’t take any chances (again taking a knee with timeouts on the board), or the players on this team are completely unprepared every week.

Some may also wish to blame injuries, and I wouldn’t doubt that some have. I’m sure BC football would be very appreciative of the pity party you’re throwing them, but this is a contact sport. Injuries happen (though poor conditioning contributes to them, if that’s going on) and you have to deal with them. So far, Boston College hasn’t, and lack of depth has been harmful. Speaking of injuries, BC MUST now redshirt Montel Harris and Ifeanyi Momah. This season has officially gone down the tubes, so for the school to waste their eligibility on this trainwreck would not only be shameful, but outrageously stupid, selfish, and ignorant. Give them a chance to go out as winners next year, assuming there are wholesale changes (and I’m not holding my breath).

So, what were the good things I took from this game? They were few and far-between, I assure you. Boston College was 4/13 on third downs, was outgained by Duke by over 100 yards, Rettig was a 50-50 proposition the whole game, throwing a few nice passes but otherwise badly missing guys as well, the run game was again ineffective, the offensive line did nothing for me, and the gameplan was pathetic (what else is new). One of the lone bright spots on the day was freshman Spenser Rositano, who blocked a punt early in the game.

This is BC’s first 0-3 start in approximately twenty years, give or take a few seasons. Let’s not kid ourselves, either: they’ve looked particularly awful in getting there. They were sub-par against Northwestern, horrible against Central Florida, and horrible again on Saturday against Duke. As I hinted at in an article earlier last week, I do not see a Boston College football program that is showing signs of life and is about to turn a corner. I see a dead football team that is probably going to make a serious run at double-digit losses this year and that has gotten progressively worse over the last three seasons. Even if Freese made that kick and BC won 22-20, would you have felt good about scraping by a bad Duke team? It certainly would have been a hollow victory, but now, we don’t even have that.

By the way, for those on the offensive inefficiency watch, Boston College’s streak against FBS teams of scoring below 30 points is now at nineteen (19) games, and they have now scored less than 25 points in fourteen (14) straight games. This is not a fluke; it’s a trend. A really, really bad trend.

Flynn Fund donors are angry. Season ticket holders are angry. All Boston College fans are angry (except the ones living in Blind Homer-stan who see no fault in anything BC does, ever). Why the hell shouldn’t we be? We heard all the talk about how this team improved and how they might not have the best record in the conference, but they’d be competitive and play respectable football. There is nothing respectable about what they’ve done so far. They have lost their first three games of the season: the first one against a decent team playing a backup quarterback in our home opener, a C-USA team that had previously never beaten an AQ team at their building, and a perennial nine-loss ACC team in Duke at home. If this is how the Eagles play against, say, Florida State or Virginia Tech, they will be beaten so badly that the NCAA will have to create and immediately invoke a special mercy rule to prevent us from witnessing the fullness of the carnage.

This team is out of whack, inconsistent, and most of all, poorly coached. The “Fire Spaz” bandwagon is picking up lots of followers, and frankly, I’ve been on it since last year. He was a fine defensive coordinator, but is an awful head coach. I am not going to single him out, even though as the head coach the ultimate responsibility for the failures of his team fall on him. It is the position of this blog that the ENTIRE coaching staff should be gutted; I say fire them all and start over next year. Before any people express sentimental attachments (e.g. “What about Coach _____?”), think about what we’ve gotten out of these guys since Spaz ascended to the captain’s chair. Here, I’ll save you the trouble: nothing. Offensive woes, defensive woes, special teams woes, losing games we shouldn’t lose, losing bowl games, and playing worse and worse each time out of the gate. We have young men out there busting their asses day in and day out, trying to get better and help the team win. The problem is that their superiors are clueless, and the result is what we saw yesterday.

I’m not stopping there, however. We have to remember who put these puzzle pieces in place: our athletic director, Gene DeFilippo. Gene, you helped make this mess, and you’re sticking by an obviously failed coach (whom you shouldn’t have hired in the first place, by the way) while Boston College football sinks into the abyss. We are the laughingstock of the ACC, if not all of the AQ conferences, and you’re at the steering wheel. You have to make this right or there will be severe consequences for this program, starting with regular showings in the bottom of the conference, followed by abandonment by your Flynn Fund donors and season ticket holders. That will be part of a death spiral for BC football which may take years to repair. As it stands now, it will probably take at least a year to turn things around. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to get football out of the hole. If you cannot make things right, then you may kindly move aside so someone else can.

I am not saying any of this because I hate Boston College or Boston College football; I’m saying this because I love them. I want this team to win big and look great and win championships. We are heading in the complete opposite direction of all of those things right now, and as an alum and fan, I am very angry with the organizational dysfunction and incompetence in the football program. Honestly, while I will never root against this team, if a side effect of a ten-loss season is having the coaching staff completely wiped out and replenished with new blood, as well as some new blood on the roster, then it would definitely not be the worst thing that can happen. Further, if the Eagles end up being as bad as I now suspect they will be (in layman’s terms, first 10+ loss team since 1978), I have no idea how keeping Spaz on as coach is justifiable in any way. That would only serve to turn more fans off, because that would be akin to Athletics saying to the fans “we know we suck, but we don’t care,” or, even worse, “We don’t suck — what are you talking about?” To the folks involved with the BC program: we’ve already given up on this season; don’t make us have to give up on the next several as well.

What we learned from the Duke game on Saturday, once again, is that the Boston College football program needs to be wholly flushed out. We aren’t going anywhere this year, and the damage that is being done to this program could be long-lasting if proactive steps are not taken to fix it. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, and here’s the problem: BC sucks right now, and is getting worse year by year. Now somebody do something about it.