Just a few thoughts as we come out of our spring time/early summer snooze (briefly) in preparation for another college football season (Conference media days are less than a month away).
We are happy to report than more than a decade after joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, Boston College is ready to become a full member of the ACC. We’re kidding, of course, since the Eagles can claim veteran status with their 13-year membership card. But here’s the difference. Sometime in early July, BC will join its football brethren by opening an indoor football field house, which is part of a 200 million dollar project BC approved a few years ago to upgrade athletic/recreational facilities on a campus.
It has been hard enough for the Eagles to compete in the ACC because of their academic restrictions, but not having practice facilities to match schools such as Virginia, Virginia Tech, and NC State, not to mention, Clemson, Louisville and Florida State or Miami, has driven BC football coaches, dating back to Tom O’Brien, to distraction.
It was a key focus for Steve Addazio when he came to The Heights in 2013.
Now at the start of Addazio’s sixth season, BC has facilities which can compete with much of the ACC. BC will never match the 5-star hotel quality of practice palaces and facilities which a school like Clemson offers, but it is a start.
Let’s get real here folks. When the weather is wet or turns cold or a variety of other conditions, BC has been at a severe disadvantage in game preparation simply because the facilities at BC didn’t match with the level of the Eagles’ competition.
Starting in July, with the opening of the 115,700 field house, which will also include a weight room and an outdoor practice field next to the field house, BC and Addazio will be on much firmer footing in terms of preparation and recruiting.
Look for lots of smiles and handshakes in the next few weeks when BC officially announces the opening of the facility, which was far overdue in being built.
In terms of the Xs and Os of BC football, the No. 1 question at The Heights this summer will be when QB Anthony Brown is cleared to return to practice. The world from BC throughout the spring was that Brown, who missed the final month of last season with a knee injury, is on schedule to be ready by the opening of training camp in August. If that prognosis holds up, the Eagles should be fine and could very well project a strong start (5-0, 4-1), which set them up for brutal stretch (Louisville, Miami, at Virginia Tech, Clemson) in the second half of the season.
If there is a setback, however, the Eagles could have some problems, although the return of running back AJ Dillon should get the Eagles through their openers against UMass and Holy Cross without Brown.
And, there is the future of Addazio. This is a pivotal year for the BC coach who has never posted better than a 7-win season at the Heights. His contract expires at the end of the 2020 season, which sounds like reasonable security, but, in the shark-infested waters of big time college football, really isn’t. One of two things must happen at the end of the season: either BC athletic director Martin Jarmond, gives Addazio an extension of his contract (probably two years) or he decides the Eagles are not headed in the right direction and Addazio is fired.
Here’s why that should happen. BC probably needs to win 8 games to indicate progress. Another 7-win season would seem to be treading water. Jarmond could simply retain Addazio WITHOUT an extension. But that will work against BC and Addazio in recruiting, because he could be labeled a “lame duck” coach by schools competing against BC.
The over/under line looks like 8 wins, which could be a difficult summit for BC to reach.
Two major changes in college football rules/regulations will have strong consequences. Letting players participate in as many as four games without losing a redshirt season should be a major benefit for coaches who want to break in players and are also reluctant to squander a season of eligibility for a player by playing them in only one or two games. The other change, which was far too long in coming about was allowing players to transfer to ANY school they wish without restriction placed by coaches who don’t want them to play for a rival conference school.