(An outsiders musings about goings on at Boston College, aka The Heights)
Forty bowl games, but there is no question as to which is No. 1–in terms of what’s wrong with this system.
That would be the holiday present college football fans will be presented on Dec. 26th in Detroit when Boston College faces Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Where to begin?
Let’s start with BC, which finished the Atlantic Coast Conference season with a 2-6 record in the ACC against a Maryland team which was 3-6 in the Big Ten. No other bowl has a worse match up of bottom feeders.
Let’s look at that a little closer. BC’s top three opponents were division champions Virginia Tech and Clemson and ACC Atlantic Division runner up Florida State, which beat the Eagles by a combined score of 157-17.
Maryland’s top three opponents were Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan. They beat the Terps by a combined score of 159-20.
Edge: Maryland by a fraction since the Terps were outscored by 139 points and BC was outscored by 140 points.
Of course, in terms of being outclassed, both schools fall far short of Maryland’s Big Ten rival Rutgers, which lost to Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State by a combined score of 175-0. It is encouraging that BC this week announced a future two-game series with Rutgers, which finished its Big Ten season with an 0-9 record.
Thankfully for Maryland, Rutgers was the Terps’ final opponent of the regular season, which was the prime reason why Maryland became bowl eligible with 6 victories.
Of the 40 bowl games, the match up of two teams with a combined 5-12 conference record was a narrow winner over the Independence Bowl game between 3-5 Vanderbilt and 3-5 North Carolina State as the worst match up in the 40 bowl games.
Let’s look at this season a little closer. Both teams were 6-6. Neither the Terps nor the Eagles beat an FBS team with a winning record. The rest of this article is available to subscribers only – to become a subscriber click here.
At BC, Eagle coach Steve Addazio has finished his fourth regular season at The Heights. In those four seasons, three of which have included bowl trips, the Eagles have beaten a total of six FBS teams with winning records in the 50 games they have played.
In Addazio’s first year at BC in 2013, enroute to a 7-6 record and a trip to the Independence Bowl (and a loss to Arizona), the Eagles beat two FBS teams with winning records. In 2014, the Eagles posted another 7-6 record, which earned a trip to the Pinstripe Bowl and a loss to Penn State. They beat three teams with winning records.
Last season, in a 3-9 wipe out–0-8 in the ACC– only Northern Illinois had a winning record among FBS teams the Eagles faced. This season the total will be 0 wins against FBS teams with a winning record.
If you go outside of the ACC, the only FBS Power 5 team with a winning record the Eagles have beaten was USC in September of 2014.
Addazio says the Eagles’ wins over UConn and Wake Forest in their last two games was the turning point in a rebuilding process this season.
Again, let’s look at some numbers. Addazio came to BC after two seasons at Temple in which his teams went 8-4 and 4-9. In Addazio’s first season, using players primarily recruited by former Temple coach Al Golden, the Owls won 9 games. A year later with only 9 starters returning, Temple dropped back to four wins.
At BC, using primarily players recruited by former BC coach Frank Spaziani, Addazio won 14 games and went to a pair of bowl games in his first two seasons. A year later, with most of Spaziani’s players gone, the Eagles dropped to 3-9.
This season is a push in terms of number of victories, but if you look at the margin of defeats against quality teams and combine that with what Maryland has or hasn’t done under first year coach D.J. Durkin, it is small wonder the Quick Lane Bowl is on the leader board in terms of the worst of the bowl match ups.
Having said all of that, it is a bowl game, which extends the season for the players, allows coaches extra practice time to evaluate and prepare.
And for the winner-it will be a minor spring board for next season. Durkin has the luxury of being a new coach, developing a program.
For Addazio, who was on the cusp of being fired as recently as a month ago and whose last two seasons in ACC play have produced a 2-14 record, there would seem to be no more margin for error next season, although he still has four years remaining on his contract, courtesy of a two-year extension given to him by BC athletic director Brad Bates in 2014.
For now, however the goal at The Heights is to extend a winning streak that is 2 games old and counting against an old ACC rival./membership]