Boston College has a really good defense and a really bad offense. You knew that. For real, though, BC’s defense is crazy good and the offense is an affront to Knute Rockne to Bill Walsh and anyone else that has ever loved offensive football. The defense, through eight games, has allowed 4.0 yards per play, ranking sixth-best in the nation. The offense, meanwhile, has gained 3.6 yards per play. That mark easily slots the Eagles’ offense in 128th place among all Division I programs, which is less than ideal, because there are 128 Division I programs. For reference, the nation’s most prolific offense, Baylor, has averaged 8.4 yards per play.
“We’re a football team right now that everyone wants to super hyper focus on the offense, which is completely understandable,” BC head coach Steve Addazio said earlier this week. “But in the same breath, we are eight points from being 6-2 right now. We’ve lost three games by eight points.”
Addazio is right. BC lost to Duke 9-7, lost to Wake Forest 3-0 and lost to Louisville this past week 17-14, and adding up those losing margins does make the “three games by eight points” statistic accurate. Yet Addazio’s Eagles are 3-5, and 0-5 in the ACC, because their offense that has no hope of making up what would be manageable deficits for other teams. A two- or three-point loss for this BC team is only equitable for two- to three-point losses for other teams that have the worst offense in the country.
Saturday’s game against Louisville was particularly instructive about this point. Though the 17-14 score looks like a shootout compared to some of BC’s other contests, seven of the Cardinals’ points came off a BC fumble returned for a touchdown. Both of BC’s touchdowns were direct results of its defense and special teams’ efforts, and the offense could not move the ball when it had to in the fourth quarter. Part of the reason the Eagles could not gain any momentum in the fourth quarter against Louisville was that Troy Flutie had to fill in for the injured Jeff Smith. Though feeble with anybody behind center, BC’s offense has been slightly better with Smith this season. The freshman’s speed adds a different dynamic to the attack, which needs any and all dynamics it can get.
Smith will not suit up for this week’s tilt, but the Eagles may have the best chance that they will have all season at getting off the conference schnide when they take the field against Virginia Tech on Saturday. For one, BC is at home for the first time in three weeks. Second, Virginia Tech is a slightly worse, if less extreme in its composition, version of BC. The football analytics site FootballOutsiders.com ranks BC as the 51st best team in the country and Virginia Tech as 52nd. Virginia Tech gives up 5.7 yards per play on defense, gains 4.7 on offense and its head coach Frank Beamer prides himself on his team’s special teams even more than Addazio does.
“Coach Beamer, I have all the respect in the world for him,” Addazio said. “He is a great football coach and a great man. He does a great job with his program. They’re tough. They are great on special teams. We’re playing against, in my opinion, an elite program and one that is highly motivated right now because they have had some real disappointments. This is a great challenge for us. It just is, given the fact that we have our own challenges, our own injuries to overcome and youth.”
Because of said challenges, Las Vegas still considers BC a slight (1.5 point) underdog to the Hokies despite the location of the game. Yet, BC’s opponent is almost irrelevant to its chances in any particular game. The defense will be great, and the offense will probably need to make some plays late to win that it is probably incapable of making. You already knew that, though.
Featured Image by Daniella Fasciano / Heights Editor