In nearing the end of a season filled with constant analysis and critique about the ineptitude of his offense, Steve Addazio has one number that he really can’t ignore. Sure, the head coach of Boston College football can try to get through each day by writing odes to the top-three defense he has inherited and rationalizing his bottom-10 offense through injury and inexperience, but what he can’t avoid is the goose egg that has gradually sunk and made a home at the bottom of the conference win column in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. That’s the telltale heart thumping in his head, the one number besides bowl-eligibility wins that can sum up a year in one swoop. And this week, there’s nothing he can do to stop it from beating.
On Saturday, No. 4 Notre Dame will be in Boston to take on an Eagles program that hasn’t topped the Irish on the football field since 2008. This one’s at good-ol’ Fenway Park though, shoved a little uncomfortably from the third-base line to the bullpens in right. And believe it or not, a football field actually fits—I know, I was doubtful, too, but the lines are already drawn.
I’ll warn you, before you take a look, this is a Notre Dame home game. This means not only Notre Dame colors, but also large, sprawling text reading “Notre Dame” and “Fighting Irish” are covering the Red Sox’ field. It’s a travesty—I mean fact—that pales in comparison to BC’s lack of tickets, but what are you gonna do?
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) November 17, 2015
To take your mind off that, here’s a hypothetical scene to ponder: the Eagles’ defense steps onto the field at Fenway on Saturday and turns its game up to 11. It holds the Irish to a single touchdown in the first quarter and returns a fumble for a score in the second quarter, keeping the game knotted up at halftime. John Fadule comes out of the locker room and uses his retro BC jersey to channel Doug Flutie, leading the Eagles 70 yards for a score. The defense allows Notre Dame into the red zone twice more, forcing a field goal on the first and a turnover-on-downs on the second. Time expires, Addazio beams, the mini section of BC supporters goes crazy.
And yet, other than getting some satisfaction from knocking Notre Dame out of a spot in the playoff, it doesn’t really matter.
Regardless of whether BC wins on Saturday, that won’t change the fact that the team will finish in the bottom-five in the ACC. For all this team’s youth coming into the season, for all the injuries it has suffered at premier positions, there was no reason this team had to be the worst in the ACC.
Let’s take a quick look at the one-conference-win teams, all of which are currently, technically better than BC. First is Georgia Tech, which knocked off No. 9 Florida State. Then there’s Syracuse, a team that picked up an early-season win against another one-win team, Wake Forest, which in turn picked up its only win in that 3-0 shutout against BC, a game that may have been the worst college football game to watch of all time.
That wasn’t the only close game that BC lost in excruciating fashion—the 9-7 loss to Duke featured a missed BC field goal and the 17-14 loss to Louisville featured the Cardinals returning a Jeff Smith fumble for a touchdown. So close, yet ….
The Eagles will get one more chance to pick up a conference win against the Orange in a week and a half, a game that will finally put this headache-inducing season to bed and give BC’s coaching staff nine months to reevaluate its offensive strategy, or maybe at least to draw up a new play. What the Eagles don’t have another chance at this season is winning back their crowd.
Despite having a wealth of winnable home games this fall, BC never really played a game that was fun to watch. The offense was clearly outmatched against Florida State, Virginia Tech, and NC State. The games against Maine and Northern Illinois were technically decent non-conference wins, but were unconvincing and showed signs of the Eagles’ struggles to come. The Howard rout quickly became no fun to watch, and all that’s left then is that time Wake Forest came to town.
After that stretch of less-than-enjoyable games, it’s rather impressive that over 28,000 fans showed up to BC’s home finale against NC State. I probably wouldn’t have bought a ticket and gone if I hadn’t already coughed up the cash for a Gold Pass back in June—an early purchase that entered me into the crapshoot of a lottery for Fenway tickets.
I can’t complain anymore, since I did end up with a ticket (thanks Kat) that will get me to Fenway one last time in 2015. I’ll be one of just about 5,000 maroon and gold fans—that’s the number of tickets BC was able to distribute, anyway. I still haven’t met another person that will be in the stands with me, since a good portion of the tickets surely went to top donors.
The thing about that is, if BC really does manage to pull out this upset, it won’t be in front of its fans like the upset over Southern California was last season. Fans will hear about it, and maybe even recognize it as the greatest upset in BC football history. But they won’t proclaim this season saved—they’ll just ask, frustrated, “Why didn’t we play like this earlier?”
Featured Image by Alec Greaney / Heights Editor