Overview: Boston College asserted itself as one of the top ACC teams in the Atlantic Division after joining the conference in 2005. The Eagles won the division in both 2007 and 2008 yet the struggles in recent years have become paramount. The program has been on a steady decline over the past three seasons, posting an underwhelming 13-24 record. The 2012 season was the pinnacle of poor performance for the Eagles after they suffered their first 10-loss season since 1978.
The 2013 season starts a new era of Boston College football with the hiring of tough-nosed head coach Steve Addazio. Addazio spent two seasons at Temple and is known most for his tenure at Florida under Urban Meyer during their successful run. Addazio’s approach revolves around selflessness, accountability and first and foremost toughness. These ideals represent Addazio’s throwback demeanor and belief in embracing true team football and putting winning as the top priority. This philosophy is exemplified with the staff decision to remove the names from Boston College’s jerseys.
The Eagles may be embarking on a new era yet the struggles of the 2012 season may hinder a quick turnaround for the program. Boston College delivered one of the worst ACC teams a season ago losing six games by at least two touchdowns. The bright spots were few and far between on both sides of the ball. Addazio’s system focuses on establishing the power rushing attack in hopes that it will physically wear down opposing teams. The Eagles ranked 115th in the country in 2012 averaging 90.92 yards per game on the ground. Another dismal rushing statistic from a season ago for the Eagles is the fact that they converted just 66 rushing first downs while their opponents racked up 143. Senior Andre Williams will be relied on to carry the load for Boston College’s revamped rushing attack this fall. The Schnecksville, Penn. native started eight games at running back in 2012 and led the Eagles with 599 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Although the aerial attack won’t be the central focus for Boston College, two talented returnees generate potential promise in the passing game. Fourth-year starting quarterback Chase Rettig and All-ACC wide receiver Alex Amidon return for the Eagles on offense. Rettig led the 45th-ranked passing offense a year ago averaging 258 yards per game while Amindon snagged 78 catches for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns. The offense returns seven starters.
Defensively, the Eagles struggled to generate a pass rush in 2012, as evidenced by just six sacks on the season. That staggering statistic ranked 120th in the country and new defensive coordinator Don Brown plans on drastically changing those statistics. Boston College ranked 100th nationally in total defense (456 ypg) while the team suffered the most damage attempting to defend the run (214 ypg, 111th nationally). Senior linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis is coming off an impressive 2012 campaign and will lead Brown’s blitz heavy approach. Pierre-Louis missed three games last year yet still managed to deliver 85 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks. The defense returns seven starters.
Historical Context: North Carolina owns a 4-2 overall record against Boston College. The Tar Heels have won the last three matchups against the Eagles dating back to their last victory in 2009. The two programs have met three times since Boston College joined the ACC and the Tar Heels remain undefeated. The Eagles earned their last victory over North Carolina in the 2004 Continental Tire Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. with a 37-24 victory.
“The whole deal is to promote that you’ve got to win. Losing’s not acceptable.” – Addazio
“I think you need a power component in the offense. Whether you line up with three wide receivers, four wide receivers, flexed, closed. I believe you need that component. You get down to the goal line, you’ve got to be able to run the football.” – Addazio
Notable Matchups: Boston College faces a non-threatening out of conference schedule yet the headliner will come on Sept. 14 against USC in the Coliseum. A renewed rivalry with Syracuse should create more intrigue for the school within the ACC while the schedule versus the rest of the Atlantic Division opponents may cause problems. The Eagles take on two top Coastal Division teams in North Carolina and Virginia Tech as well. The real test will be whether or not Addazio’s team can manage the slew of road games on the back end of their schedule. Five of their last seven games will be away from Alumni Stadium.