After a strong second half of 2017, expectations were high for Boston College football this past fall. With the ACC Preseason Player of the Year in A.J. Dillon and loads of experience on both sides of the ball, the Eagles entered the year with plenty of hope for a strong showing. And, through nine weeks, they’d lived up to it. BC was 7-2 and ranked No. 17 in the country, earning a College GameDay bid and a primetime matchup with No. 2 Clemson on ESPN.
Then, the wheels came off—BC was rolled over by the Tigers, 27-7, after starting quarterback Anthony Brown went down with an internal body injury. Disappointing defeats to Florida State and No. 19 Syracuse followed, and the Eagles limped to another seven-win season under head coach Steve Addazio. Despite there being question marks surrounding his future with the program, Director of Athletics Martin Jarmond extended Addazio, and the head coach will have to deal with the loss of 11 All-ACC players and two of his top assistants.
On Wednesday afternoon, the program officially released its 2019 schedule, which features matchups with two of the four participants in the 2018 College Football Playoff—including the defending national champions.
2019 Schedule (Note: Italicization denotes ACC competition):
Aug. 31 vs. Virginia Tech (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) *Home and ACC Opener
→ Arguably the Eagles’ biggest win in 2018 was a win at Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, with Travis Levy stepping up in what proved to be a 10-point victory. The Hokies had an uncharacteristic 6-7 season in Justin Fuente’s third year as head coach, but they also suffered through plenty of injuries and should enjoy a strong season in 2019.
Sept. 7 vs. Richmond (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ For the first time in 47 years, the Eagles will take on the FCS’s Spiders. BC took the last two meetings handily and will likely have a similarly easy go of it in 2019—Richmond is coming off a season in which it went 4-7 and finished sixth in the Colonial Athletic Association.
Sept. 14 vs. Kansas (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ The Jayhawks haven’t had a winning season in a decade and have lost nine or more games in each of the last three years, but there’s hope in Lawrence for the first time in a while. Former LSU head coach Les Miles is replacing David Beaty (who went 6-42 in four years with the program) and looks to rebuild the program.
Sept. 21 at Rutgers (Piscataway, N.J.)
→ Next up for BC is a Scarlet Knights’ program that consistently finds itself recruiting against in the Northeast. Rutgers has been a cellar dweller since it joined the Big Ten in 2014 and is coming off a 1-11 season in 2018. History is also on the Eagles’ side—they’re 19-6-1 historically against the Scarlet Knights and have won the last 10 meetings.
Sept. 28 vs. Wake Forest (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ Head coach Dave Clawson is building something good in Winston-Salem. The Demon Deacons have won three bowl games in a row, an impressive turnaround after Clawson went 6-18 in his first two years on campus. While offensive weapon Greg Dortch is off for the NFL, quarterback Sam Hartman and leading rusher Cade Carney return while a youthful defense has the potential to take a step forward.
Oct. 5 at Louisville (Louisville, Ky.)
→ Life after Lamar Jackson hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the Cardinals. Without him piling up yardage and points, Louisville’s shoddy defense was exposed in 2018 to the tune of a 2-10 regular season. Bobby Petrino was fired with two games left, as Louisville went winless in conference play. The Cardinals did find a strong replacement, though, as Appalachian State’s Scott Satterfield is taking over the reigns.
Oct. 19 vs. North Carolina State (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ BC has found itself in toss-up games with the Wolfpack each of the past few years, with the last three games decided by a total of 15 points. Two of those went N.C. State’s way, but that was with Ryan Finley under center. The likely NFL signal-caller is graduating, so the Wolfpack will have a different look when it comes to Alumni Stadium.
Oct. 26 at Clemson (Clemson, S.C.)
→ The defending national champions and likely preseason favorites are, quite simply, absolutely loaded. The defense is losing some talent, but defensive coordinator Brent Venables has had a lockdown unit over the last few years and should keep it in good shape. Meanwhile, quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne—two of the best players in the country at their respective positions—return, and the Tigers should be heavy favorites on their home turf.
Nov. 2 at Syracuse (Syracuse, N.Y.)
→ The last two meetings between these teams have gone in wildly different directions, with BC routing Syracuse by 28 points in 2017 before the Orange answered the next year with a three-touchdown win. Syracuse and head coach Dino Babers are on the upswing—they won 10 games in 2018 for the first time since 2001.
Nov. 9 vs. Florida State (Chestnut Hill, Mass.)
→ To say Willie Taggart’s first year in charge of the Seminoles was a disappointment would be putting it lightly—FSU failed to attain bowl eligibility for the first time since 1981. Taggart guided his team to a 5-7 season, with one of the wins a dramatic last-minute victory over the Eagles following a questionable fourth-down decision from Addazio.
Nov. 23 at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.)
→ You can call it a rivalry, but in the last decade it hasn’t always been a close one. The Irish—fresh off a 12-1 season which ended in the College Football Playoff against eventual national champion Clemson—have taken the last six meetings, three by more than two touchdowns. Notre Dame is losing some key pieces, but they still should be one of BC’s toughest opponents in 2019.
Nov. 30 at Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Penn.)
→ In a surprise to many, the Panthers were the Coastal Division champions in 2018, going 7-5 in the regular season before falling to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game and to Stanford in Sun Bowl. Pittsburgh and head coach Pat Narduzzi have some work to do—offensive coordinator Shawn Watson was fired after some scoring struggles—but should still be a difficult opponent as the Panthers went 5-1 at home last year.
Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor