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1. 3 straight will be awfully difficult
When a program falls apart, it happens suddenly. The bottom drops out for a coach, and then he's let go, and in a significant collapse, the next coach bottoms out as well.
Kansas went from 15th in the F/+ rankings to 115th in just three years (2007-10). Auburn went from first to 90th in two (2010-12). California went from 43rd to 106th in two (2011-13).
Sometimes it's a rockier road, one in which you swim against the current before giving out -- think Memphis in the mid-2000s or UConn more recently. These tumbles are often the hardest to recover from since they were years in the making.
Then there's Boston College. The Eagles pulled off something rare: they regressed for seven consecutive years. They ranked 14th and 18th in Tom O'Brien's final two years (2005-06), then 20th and 30th in the brief Jeff Jagodzinski era (2007-08). Frank Spaziani took over, and then stumbled to 47th, then 55th, then 71st, then 89th.
A seven-year regression, one in which you fall to 89th overall, requires systemic movement. Here, it was a quick collapse of a shaky offense followed by the slow-motion decline of a once-stalwart defense. In theory, once you reach the seventh year of the streak, you're approaching rock bottom, and there might not be a quick rebound available.
Steve Addazio disagrees. In his first year as BC head coach in 2013, his Eagles rebounded from 89th to 68th and, thanks to a winning record in close games, from 2-10 to 7-6. Then, with a transfer quarterback custom-made for the offense, BC surged to 36th.
The record remained the same in 2014, mainly because the Eagles went from one game above .500 in one-possession games to one game below, but they ran through USC, won four road games for the first time since 2007, played strong run defense, and crafted a clear offensive identity. They were a sound team that gave us a glimpse of what Addazio is trying to build on the Heights.
There's quite a bit more building to do. After strong improvement for two consecutive years, all expectations are off the table for now. The quarterback is gone, as are last year's top three wideouts, five offensive linemen who had combined for 134 career starts, the defense's two leading pass rushers, and five of the top eight in the secondary.
Addazio has been a head coach for four years -- two at Temple, two at BC -- and his squad has improved dramatically in three of the four seasons. The other season, his second year at Temple, he dealt with turnover as his Owls fell from 35th in F/+ to 101st. I doubt we see regression of that level, but with the amount of youth, it will be hard to avoid at least a couple of temporary steps backward.
Sometimes you get a buffer year. [...]
But now the real work begins. Williams is gone, as are quarterback Chase Rettig, receiver Alex Amidon, both starting tackles, both starting defensive ends, and two starting linebackers. If you were to list BC's 12-15 best players last season, those eight would have probably all made the list.
Whatever Addazio's vision is, we'll begin to see it. We also might see at least a temporary dropoff, as we did in his second year at Temple.
Fool me once ...
2014 Schedule & Results
|Record: 7-6 | Adj. Record: 11-2 | Final F/+ Rk: 36|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|11-Oct||at NC State||55||30-14||W||90%||29.4||97%|
|25-Oct||at Wake Forest||101||23-17||W||78%||18.2||99%|
|1-Nov||at Virginia Tech||33||33-31||W||75%||15.6||85%|
|22-Nov||at Florida State||15||17-20||L||50%||0.1||25%|
|27-Dec||vs. Penn State||45||30-31||L||61%||6.3||60%|
|Points Per Game||26.2||86||21.3||20|
2. The run game travels?
With a capacity of under 45,000, Alumni Stadium isn't exactly known as one of the country's most raucous venues. Smaller places can get loud, but with BC's average attendance of just 34,270, it would stand to reason that the Eagles wouldn't have a significant home field advantage.
I'm still not sure I've ever seen this, though. "No significant home field advantage" is one thing; "home field disadvantage" is another.
- Average Percentile Performance (home): 59% (~top 50 | record: 3-4)
- Average Percentile Performance (road/neutral): 74% (~top 35 | record: 4-2)
While the home performance against USC was top-notch, and while the road game against UMass wasn't exactly far from home (nor was the bowl game in Yankee Stadium), these averages are baffling. Either BC was one of the best road teams in the country, or the Eagles' home performances held them back. This is ripe for pointless speculation, but the bottom line is that BC was quite a bit better away from Chesnut Hill.
Perhaps that would be a good thing to continue. The Eagles play Duke, Clemson, Louisville, Notre Dame, and Syracuse away from their home stadium. Win four of those, and you're on the way to a good season, huh?
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||40.6%||78||Succ. Rt. +||112.4||29|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||29.8||67||Def. FP+||98.0||92|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||4.2||81||Redzone S&P+||109.1||44|
|Q1 Rk||34||1st Down Rk||27|
|Q2 Rk||23||2nd Down Rk||47|
|Q3 Rk||29||3rd Down Rk||2|
3. A one-year tease
If only we had gotten four years to watch Tyler Murphy in this offense.
After verballing to Al Golden's Temple, Murphy got a late Florida offer and ended up signing with the Gators and offensive coordinator Addazio. Addazio left for Temple in 2011 when Urban Meyer left, and Murphy was a strange fit for Will Muschamp's offensive vision (whatever that actually was). He saw brief time as a starter for injured Jeff Driskel in 2013, but he ended up taking the graduate transfer route to reunite with Addazio for one season.
What a season it was. With Murphy running the show, BC went all in on a dual-threat rush attack; including sacks as pass attempts, Murphy attempted 251 passes to 159 rushes, and four running backs split about 31 carries per game (half to freshman Jon Hilliman).
The backs weren't incredibly efficient, but they forced opponents to keep an eye on them, which allowed Murphy to get a step on the defense running a variety of options. Murphy turned into one of the most effective rushing quarterbacks you'll see: of 30 FBS quarterbacks with at least 100 non-sack carries, Murphy ranked fifth in opportunity rate (percentage of carries gaining at least five yards) and a distant first in highlight yards per opportunity.
And I mean distant:
Highlight Yards Per Opportunity (QBs w/100+ rushes)
1. Tyler Murphy, BC (8.8)
2. Reginald Bell Jr., EMU (7.1)
3. Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech (7.1)
4. Cody Fajardo, Nevada (7.0)
5. Marcus Mariota, Oregon (6.6)
Only 13 of the 30 quarterbacks averaged even 6 highlight yards, and Murphy averaged nearly 9.
Of course, Murphy's gone. Graduate transfers don't always succeed in their final schools, but when they do, it feels like a tease, a what-could-have-been supernova. After one year of running with the perfect quarterback, Addazio turns the reins over to someone new, most likely sophomore Darius Wade. Wade is a smart, athletic lefty who probably doesn't have the jets that Murphy did but could be effective. How much time will he need?
Note: players in bold below are 2015 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|Darius Wade||6'0, 204||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8510||3||8||23||0||0||37.5%||0||0.0%||2.9|
|Troy Flutie||6'0, 182||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7959|
|Elijah Robinson||6'2, 187||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8503|
|Jeff Smith||6'0, 162||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8389|
|Jon Hilliman||RB||6'0, 224||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8808||211||860||13||4.1||5.0||29.4%||1||0|
|Myles Willis||RB||5'9, 194||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8419||88||459||2||5.2||5.8||39.8%||3||3|
|Marcus Outlow||RB||5'10, 203||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8506||60||248||0||4.1||3.8||36.7%||0||0|
|Tyler Rouse||RB||5'8, 194||Jr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7000||48||214||3||4.5||4.3||33.3%||0||0|
|Sherman Alston||WR||5'6, 163||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7958||34||352||2||10.4||7.6||73.5%||0||0|
|Darius Wade||QB||6'0, 204||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8510||2||12||0||6.0||1.0||100.0%||0||0|
|Richard Wilson||RB||5'10, 224||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8080|
|Ben Glines||RB||6'1, 205||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8414|
4. A sophomore takeover
If it's not Wade, it's probably sophomore Troy Flutie (yes, BC Heisman winner Doug's nephew). Sophomore Jon Hilliman will again get most of the carries at running back, with sophomore Marcus Outlow among the primary backups. Sophomore receivers Charli Callinan and Sherman Alston are the two leading returnees from last year's receiving corps. Sophomore guard Jon Baker is, with his one career start, the second-most experienced first-string lineman.
Sophomores become juniors and seniors, and if some of these young pieces find sporadic success in 2015, it could mean fantastic things for 2016 and 2017. But wow, BC's offense could be green.
There are older players who could provide lifelines. Junior running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse are potentially explosive change-of-pace guys in the backfield; Willis had nice jets in the open field (and a bit of a fumble problem), while Rouse caught a few passes out of the backfield. Bobby Swigert, BC's No. 1 receiver as a freshman in 2010 and its No. 2 in 2011 and 2012, has missed the last two seasons with injury but is scheduled to return in some capacity this fall. Junior Harrison Jackson is a former star recruit who missed last fall to injury.
Still, the odds are decent that sophomores will lead the team in rushing, passing, and receiving. Meanwhile, freshmen and redshirt freshmen could play a key role up front.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Bobby Swigert (2012)||WR||6'0, 199||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8620||37||22||249||59.5%||8.7%||64.9%||6.7||N/A||6.6||33.9|
|Charlie Callinan||WR||6'4, 224||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8210||28||13||149||46.4%||13.5%||39.3%||5.3||-20||5.7||25.8|
|Sherman Alston||WR||5'6, 163||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7958||21||16||175||76.2%||10.1%||38.1%||8.3||-13||8.8||30.3|
|David Dudeck||WR||5'11, 194||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7000||14||13||148||92.9%||6.7%||28.6%||10.6||0||13.5||25.7|
|Marcus Outlow||RB||5'10, 203||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8506||14||11||103||78.6%||6.7%||50.0%||7.4||-25||7.4||17.9|
|Harrison Jackson (2013)||WR||6'2, 207||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8145||10||5||46||50.0%||4.1%||25.0%||4.6||-23||8.5||7.3|
|Bobby Wolford||FB||6'2, 248||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8404||8||6||40||75.0%||3.8%||87.5%||5.0||-31||3.3||6.9|
|Tyler Rouse||RB||5'8, 194||Jr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7000||5||4||44||80.0%||2.4%||20.0%||8.8||-3||4.7||7.6|
|Gabriel McClary||WR||6'3, 204||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8392||4||2||12||50.0%||1.9%||25.0%||3.0||-13||3.9||2.1|
|Nat Dixon||WR||6'3, 185||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8000||3||1||6||33.3%||1.4%||100.0%||2.0||-8||N/A||1.0|
|Drew Barksdale||WR||5'11, 198||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8178||2||0||0||0.0%||1.0%||50.0%||0.0||-3||0.0||0.0|
|Thadd Smith||WR||5'9, 175||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8675||1||0||0||0.0%||0.5%||100.0%||0.0||-1||N/A||0.0|
|Michael Giacone||TE||6'5, 254||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8419|
|Louie Addazio||TE||6'3, 252||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8082|
|Tommy Sweeney||TE||6'5, 246||RSFr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7939|
|Nolan Borgersen||WR||6'3, 200||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8371|
|Chase Pankey||WR||6'1, 179||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8362|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Andy Gallik||C||41||2014 2nd All-ACC|
|Harris Williams||RG||6'3, 296||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8347||14|
|Jon Baker||LG||6'3, 281||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8547||1|
|Dave Bowen||LT||6'7, 289||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7815||0|
|Frank Taylor||C||6'3, 297||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8739||0|
|Jim Cashman||RG||6'7, 301||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8434||0|
|James Hendren||OL||6'7, 293||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8429|
|Sam Schmal||OL||6'6, 294||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8183|
|Austin Stevens||OL||6'3, 270||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7826|
|Chris Lindstrom||OL||6'4, 260||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8275|
|Anthony Palazzolo||OL||6'5, 330||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8590|
|Aaron Monteiro||OL||6'6, 208||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8464|
|Wyatt Knopfe||OL||6'2, 265||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8449|
|John Phillips||OL||6'6, 285||Fr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8390|
5. Steve Addazio usually has a good OL
'The offensive line is the ultimate of the team,' Addazio says. 'That is the epicenter of a cohesive unit that depends on each other. There’s an accountability factor in there. "You can count on me. You can trust me." That comes with time. That comes with shared pain and sacrifice. That’s what builds those great offensive lines. Whether they’re the most talented line is really not relevant. It’s not just a bunch of good players. It’s a bunch of good players that know how to work together and rely and count on each other.'
Addazio was running offensive lines long before he was running offenses, and even if you didn't know that, you knew that. Everything about him screams, "I like to yell at 300-pounders." He spent 16 years as a power-conference line coach at Syracuse, Notre Dame, Indiana, and Florida.
From 2005-10, Florida only once ranked outside of the Adj. Line Yards top 30 and ranked first in 2008 and 2009. His first BC line ranked 40th, and despite losing starting guard Harris Williams early, last year's ranked 20th.
Addazio and line coach Justin Frye go way back -- Addazio coached Frye at Indiana, and Frye was an OL grad assistant at Florida before serving in his current role at Temple and BC. Given a decent baseline of talent and experience, one should assume these two will figure out how to build a competent line.
It will take a while for that baseline to be reached, however. Williams returns, as does sophomore Jon Baker, who spent time in the rotation last year. After that: who knows? Career reserves Frank Taylor and Jim Cashman are back, but the odds are good that multiple true and redshirt freshmen will see the field. (And let's not even think about what might happen if there are injuries.)
Addazio knows just how important a good line is, but it's almost impossible to see this line performing very well this year. Next year, though? That's easy to see.
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||38.8%||31||Succ. Rt. +||110.6||30|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||31.2||38||Off. FP+||99.0||78|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Trip in 40||4.3||63||Redzone S&P+||109.5||34|
|Q1 Rk||49||1st Down Rk||44|
|Q2 Rk||36||2nd Down Rk||56|
|Q3 Rk||28||3rd Down Rk||30|
6. A strong D for 45 minutes
Seems like all Don Brown was missing was a few more warm bodies. The coordinator crafted what we might call the BC defensive prototype last year: a mean bunch with disruptive ends and linebackers that stuffed the run and blitzed well on passing downs.
The 59-year-old Brown knows Northeastern football about as well as anybody; he has been the D.C. at Mansfield, Dartmouth, Yale, Brown, UMass, Maryland, and UConn, and he spent 12 years as head coach at Plymouth State, Northeastern, and UMass. He knows what kind of talent he can find, and he knows how to use it.
He needed just a few more pieces last year. BC ranked 49th in first-quarter S&P+, 36th in the second quarter, 28th in the third ... and 112th in the fourth. The Eagles's scoring margin was plus-90 in the first three quarters and minus-25 in the fourth. Some of that stems from garbage time stats, but BC played in a lot of close games, so that's not necessarily a big impact. In six losses, the Eagles were outscored in the fourth quarter by a 47-15 margin.
The biggest regression happened in the secondary; BC allowed passer ratings under 130 in the first and third quarters but went to 149.4 in the second and 132.5 in the fourth, which makes sense when you see that the Eagles lost two regulars to injury. Still, there were thinner teams out there; in theory, BC isn't too far away from playing 60 minutes of stellar ball.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Kevin Kavalec||DE||6'2, 253||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7982||13||35.5||5.3%||10.5||3.5||0||0||0||0|
|Connor Wujciak||NT||6'3, 300||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8679||13||25.5||3.8%||7.5||3.0||0||0||1||0|
|Truman Gutapfel||DT||6'3, 281||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7914||13||19.0||2.8%||5.5||1.5||0||1||0||0|
|Malachi Moore||DE||6'7, 273||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8026||13||15.5||2.3%||6.0||4.0||0||0||0||0|
|Mehdi Abdesmad (2013)||DT||6'7, 286||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7800||4||13.0||1.7%||3.5||2.0||0||0||0||0|
|Harold Landry||DE||6'3, 245||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8606||13||8.0||1.2%||1.5||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Noa Merritt||NT||6'0, 268||So.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7756|
|Jack Cottrell||DE||6'4, 247||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8519|
|Kevin Cohee||DE||6'2, 257||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8295|
|Joseph Vitiello||DE||6'4, 262||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8238|
|Evan Kelly (Richmond)||DT||6'1, 285||Sr.||NR||NR||14||38.5||5.1%||6.0||6.0||0||1||2||2|
|Zach Allen||DE||6'5, 235||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8461|
|Wyatt Ray||DE||6'3, 230||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8447|
|Ray Smith||DT||6'1, 264||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8393|
7. Opponents knew to throw
The BC pass defense wasn't terrible; the Eagles ranked 55th in Passing Success Rate+ and 67th in Adj. Sack Rate and brought the QB down on one of every 10 passing downs pass attempt. Still, the pass D lagged far behind the run D, and opponents knew it.
BC's run defense did a nice job of both slicing open opposing lines (fourth in stuff rate) and forming a net within about five yards of the line of scrimmage (27th in opportunity rate). It was a riddle few solved; only Pittsburgh gained more than 170 rushing yards, and only Pitt and Colorado State averaged better than 4.2 per carry.
While there's some turnover that must be accounted for -- linebacker Josh Keyes had 7.5 non-sack TFLs, which suggests he was an excellent run stuffer -- enough exciting pieces return to assume the run defense will again be stout. Both starting tackles (Connor Wujciak and Truman Gutapfel) are back, as is one-time starter Mehdi Abdesmad, who missed most of last year with a knee injury. Plus, end Kevin Kavalec and linebackers Steven Daniels and Mike Strizak (combined: 16.5 non-sack TFLs) are coming off of breakthrough campaigns.
Two interesting names could provide a level of depth BC didn't have. Sophomore Connor Strachan is a former four-star recruit who only got his feet wet, and Evan Kelly, a graduate transfer from Richmond who was something of a pass-rush specialist from the interior is aboard for his senior season.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Steven Daniels||MLB||6'0, 257||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8511||13||58.0||8.7%||7.0||1.5||1||1||0||0|
|Mike Strizak||WLB||6'2, 239||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8789||13||32.0||4.8%||5.0||1.0||1||0||0||0|
|Matt Milano||SLB||6'1, 218||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8220||12||16.5||2.5%||3.0||1.0||0||1||0||0|
|Connor Strachan||MLB||6'2, 230||So.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8810||13||8.5||1.3%||1.0||0.5||0||0||0||0|
|Ty Schwab||WLB||6'1, 222||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8266||12||1.5||0.2%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Christian Lezzer||SLB||6'0, 215||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8140||8||1.5||0.2%||1.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Tim Joy||LB||6'1, 223||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8075|
|Kevin Bletzer||LB||6'2, 217||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7992|
|Jimmy Martin||LB||5'11, 220||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8307|
|Tanner Karafa||LB||6'3, 230||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8439|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Justin Simmons||FS||6'3, 201||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8156||13||69.5||10.4%||2||1||2||5||0||0|
|John Johnson||CB||6'0, 198||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7919||8||21.5||3.2%||1||1||0||2||0||0|
|Kamrin Moore||CB||5'11, 192||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8367||13||18.5||2.8%||0.5||0||0||4||0||0|
|Isaac Yiadom||CB||6'1, 184||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8396||13||10.0||1.5%||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Atem Ntantang||CB||5'11, 193||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7844||12||2.0||0.3%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Allen Dawson||DB||6'0, 191||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8017|
|Cameron Seward||DB||6'0, 223||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8373|
8. Opponents will probably throw some more
The losses up front could hurt the pass rush more than anything. Josh Keyes and departed ends Brian Mihalik and Seyi Adebayo combined for 11.5 sacks last fall, and all are gone. The rush probably won't suffer much, but any regression could hurt, considering the turnover in the backfield.
Because of injuries to John Johnson and Bryce Jones, Don Brown had to play quite a few DBs; nine ended up making at least 10 tackles.
But only four of those nine return. Senior Justin Simmons is a keeper at free safety, and corner Kamrin Moore (four pass breakups) showed play-making potential as a freshman. After Simmons, Johnson, Moore, and sophomore Isaac Yiadom (about whom little is known), however, is a second string full of new names. Only Simmons has been a long-term contributor.
Granted, there aren't many proven passers on the 2015 slate, but this is problematic.
|Alex Howell||6'5, 214||Sr.||65||42.5||4||16||21||56.9%|
|Alex Howell||6'5, 214||Sr.||67||58.8||18||2||26.9%|
|Mike Knoll||6'0, 207||So.||13-15||2-3||66.7%||1-1||100.0%|
|Alex Howell||6'5, 214||Sr.||8-9||2-2||100.0%||3-9||33.3%|
|Myles Willis||KR||5'9, 194||Jr.||34||26.3||1|
|Sherman Alston||PR||5'6, 163||So.||15||8.3||0|
|Special Teams F/+||41|
|Field Goal Efficiency||110|
|Punt Return Efficiency||64|
|Kick Return Efficiency||19|
|Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency||84|
9. Got a kicker?
That BC managed to rank 41st in special teams efficiency despite ongoing issues at place-kicker is impressive. Myles Willis was one of the ACC's better kick returners, Sherman Alston's punt returns were efficient, and Alex Howell's kickoffs were high and easy to cover. But Joey Launceford missed PATs in four different games and got demoted twice. Howell proved accurate inside of 40 and awful outside of it, and then-freshman Mike Knoll eventually settled into the role a bit.
If either Knoll or Howell can provide steadiness here, this should be a top-40 unit.
2015 Schedule & Projection Factors
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk|
|21-Nov||vs. Notre Dame||16|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||-1.2% (60)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||53 / 64|
|2014 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||1 / 2.4|
|2014 TO Luck/Game||-0.5|
|Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.)||9 (3, 6)|
|2014 Second-order wins (difference)||8.2 (-1.2)|
10. A mulligan
Scouting the opposition
Scouting the opposition
BC wasn't likely to make a bowl in its first year with Addazio but did. I expected the Eagles to step backward last year, and instead they surged ahead again.
Maybe they'll have more surprises in store, but even if they don't, this year's a mulligan. He's surprised twice, so if BC regresses, it's a freebie, not only because of the past but because of the future.
Boston College will be breaking in underclassmen in quite a few big roles -- quarterback, receiver, defensive back, pass rush, most of the offensive line two-deep. That could mean 2015 struggles, but there's enough potential here to be confident in a 2016 rebound.
Two late-September home games will tell us most of what we need to know. Florida State visits on September 18 (a Friday night), and NIU comes to Chestnut Hill eight days later. The Eagles will be a sure underdog in one and a favorite in the other, but while FSU will tell us how BC shapes up athletically, NIU is speedy and confident enough to pull an upset on a young squad. Go 1-1 in those (and don't slip up to Maine in the opener), and that will be a sign that BC is competitive enough to have a chance at seven wins.
And man, if these Eagles reach a bowl in a rebuilding year, 2016-17 could be a lot of fun.