After limping out of the gates last season, winning just two of its first six games, Boston College football took the ACC by storm, finishing the 2017 regular season 5-1. During that span, the Eagles recorded 40 or more points on three separate occasions, in large part due to the meteoric rise of running back A.J. Dillon, the eventual ACC Rookie of the Year. BC went from being a pushover to being recognized as a legitimate force.
Still, at the end of the day, BC closed out the season with a 7-6 record—the same mark that its posted four of the past five years. The media is expecting the Eagles to build off their late-season run and make a case for themselves in the ACC this season. BC hasn’t won more than seven games in a year since 2009. Making the jump from mediocrity to elite is no easy task—but in 2018, it could very well be the measure of the program’s success.
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A Tale of Two Halves
BC finished 7-6 for the fourth time in five years in 2017, but its rollercoaster season—one that included a handful of milestones and a 5-1 stretch to clinch bowl eligibility—wasn’t like any of those in year’s past.
This summer, Boston College football was picked to finish last in the ACC’s Atlantic Division for the second year in a row. Six weeks in, it appeared as if the polls were dead-on. The Eagles were 2-4 and posting a mere 16.3 points per game—their lowest scoring average since they went 0-11 in 1978. But one memorable press conference and a players only meeting later, the Eagles underwent a drastic transformation. Lighting up the scoreboard and averaging a bit more than 450 yards of total offense in the back half of the season, BC was finally fun to watch again. Right on cue, the rollercoaster season culminated in a fourth-quarter loss to Iowa in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Although the Eagles ended up with a 7-6 record for the fourth time in the past five years, this season was one of its own. Full Story
According to SB Nation, the Eagles are returning 81 percent of their 2017 production—more than any other Atlantic Division team—but that’s not to say they haven’t lost or added any key pieces this offseason. The defense took a hit, losing three starters in 2017, a backup running back, a stalwart at punter, and one of the better defensive ends in the country. Still, head coach Steve Addazio and his coaching staff recruited well to replace them—and will take advantage of plenty of returners. Full story.
“I believe that we have signed a terrific class—one of the best—met all of our needs, brought some great future Eagles in here that will represent Boston College,” Steve Addazio said at the signing day press conference, per BCEagles.com. “And that fit is really important. I think we’ve hit on our class as well as meeting the needs of our roster.”
Our editors kept up on the offseason beat, following the Eagles from spring practice to when they arrived on the Heights at the start of August. After seven wins in four of the last five years, the optimism around the program has reached recent highs—a talented secondary, a loaded offensive line, and a Heisman candidate at running back has something to do with it. For complete preseason coverage, click on the stories below.
Starting quarterback Anthony Brown took a preseason-high 30 or so snaps, and the running back corps—ranging from A.J. Dillon to John Fadule—paced the first and second-team offenses, from start to finish.
Anthony Brown was hit or miss in his first scrimmage of training camp, and, as a whole, the offense was out of sync for the majority of the exhibition—Jim Reid’s defense capitalized, recording four interceptions on the day.
Backup quarterback Matt McDonald picked up right where he left off this spring in BC’s first scrimmage of training camp, but, as a whole, the team’s performance was tainted by 10 penalties.
For the first time in a few years, BC—a team that’s returning the majority of its 2017 starters, particularly on the offensive side of the ball—is experienced and healthy entering the preseason.
A.J. Dillon, who racked up 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns as a true freshman, is the first Eagle to earn the honor since Montel Harris back in 2011.
BC, once the laughing stock of the conference, clocked in at fourth in ESPN’s ACC Preseason Power Rankings and fourth in the media’s ACC Preseason Poll—higher than the Eagles have ever been ranked in a Steve Addazio offseason.
A deep threat on the sidelines and another one out of the backfield may have emerged for BC, but play selection and special teams must show signs of life before the season begins in September.
Redshirt freshman Matt McDonald threw three touchdowns, outplaying his counterpart, E.J. Perry, and Elijah Robinson hauled in a pair of highlight-reel catches, effectively stealing the show in the annual exhibition game.
Anthony Brown may not be able to take any reps at Quarterback just yet, but there will be a lot of new things to see from the offense Saturday afternoon.
BC is set to renew a few age-old rivalries during the non-conference slate and face off against the ACC’s top four teams, including the conference’s divisional champions.
The Eagles released their first official depth chart Monday afternoon ahead of their season opener against UMass—they return a lot of talent on offense, but there are still questions on the defensive side of the ball. Click here for more on the first official depth chart, by Peter Kim. Or, look below for the probable starters against the Minutemen and a full depth chart.
Probable Starters (Week 1)