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This is B.C. Football in 2011

Boston College is out of embarrassing moments. That well has run dry. There is no lower this program can go. This is B.C. football in 2011: at home on Thursday night, against a power program it has battled on even ground since arriving in the A.C.C. in 2005, the Eagles were thrashed and throttled from sideline to sideline, end zone to end zone, in the ugliest 60 minutes of a year defined in woeful 60-minute increments. It was bad even when it was good, such as when freshman quarterback Josh Bordner led the Eagles on an impressive drive down near the F.S.U. goal line late in the first half — only to botch a handoff to Roland Finch, giving the ball back to the Seminoles.

This is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight but could still yap and yammer with the best of them. The Eagles, 2-6 and well on the way to 2-7, barked like junkyard dogs for a significant portion of last night’s one-sided loss.

This is B.C. football in 2011, when one step forward is accompanied by an enormous step back. The Eagles believed they had found the answer to their offensive prayers in offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers, who came to Chestnut Hill from the Minnesota Vikings. An immediate upgrade over his predecessor, Gary Tranquill, some thought — that would be me.

Rogers lasted two games before leaving the program, citing health issues. Depending on who you ask, or how you tend to look at things, it’s just as likely that Rogers and the incumbent B.C. staff failed to see eye-to-eye, and the back and leg issues became a convenient fall guy for a relationship that quickly soured. So much for Chase Rettig’s projected growth from his freshman to sophomore season.

All-A.C.C. running back Montel Harris injured his knee in August, forcing him to miss the first three games of the regular season. He returned in time to break Boston College’s program record for career rushing yards against Wake Forest; Harris reaggravated the knee on that record-breaking carry, ending his season.

Senior defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey, one of the anchors of the Boston College defense and a potential breakout star in the A.C.C., injured his foot in the opener against Northwestern, ending his season. The Eagles will petition the N.C.A.A. for a medical hardship waiver for each player, but those losses are indicative of the gloom and doom that has pervaded this program.

Yeah, a bit of Boston College’s stumble can be blamed on factors outside its control: an offensive coordinator that came and went in a flash and injuries to key figures on each of the ball, for example. But this happens everywhere, to a degree, and B.C. has proved itself completely and utterly incapable of handling even the slightest speed bump put in its path.

And that falls on Frank Spaziani. Who else should shoulder the blame? How about athletic director Gene DeFilippo, who replaced Tom O’Brien with Jeff Jagodzinski, cut him loose amid a dispute and then hired Spaziani, the loyal lieutenant. How about the entire athletic department?

You only have so many fingers to point. Spaziani must go, and will go if B.C. is at all serious about reclaiming its spot on the A.C.C. totem pole. The program is in shambles, and the only way to fix this problem is to tear the whole building down and start from scratch.

Just leave it with two damning facts: one, B.C. had played in 12 consecutive bowl games. That was tied for the sixth-longest in college football — along with Oklahoma, to give you an example, and ahead of L.S.U., Ohio State, Boise State and Alabama. Starting in 2012, the Eagles start from scratch.

There were 23 B.C.S. conferences teams that lost 10 or more games from 2003-10: U.N.C., Iowa State, Indiana, Illinois, Arizona, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State in 2003; Washington in 2004; Duke in 2005; Duke, Illinois, and Stanford in 2006; Duke, Minnesota and Syracuse in 2007; Iowa State, Washington State and Washington in 2008; Maryland, Washington State and Vanderbilt in 2009; and Washington State and Vanderbilt a year ago.

Only three of those teams won at least seven games the year before: Iowa State in 2003 and Maryland and Vanderbilt in 2008. This is the backdrop behind B.C. as it plays out the string over the final three games of the 2011 season: with one streak already gone, the Eagles are trying their best to avoid joining an exclusive club.

Hey, this is B.C. football in 2011. And if significant changes aren’t made — from top to bottom — this’ll be B.C. football in 2012, in 2013, in 2014…

You can also follow Paul Myerberg and Pre-Snap Read on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Doug says:

    Paul,

    I have to ask- are you a BC alum or do you have some close ties to the school? Because for a guy who covers all of college football, I am consistently impressed both with your knowledge of the BC program, and your refusal to fall in line with other national writers who seem to parrot the same old faulty logic about the “ceiling” at BC and limitations on what our fanbase can and should expect. Doug Flutie, Tom Coughlin, and Matt Ryan have shown what can be achieved at BC (despite the admissions standards, despite being in a pro sports town, despite a smaller fan following than at many premiere programs in the country, and whatever other reasons are thrown out there by those who say ‘we are what we are’). The only thing that BC’s program will not be able to overcome is gutless leadership, and sadly that is what we’ve been saddled with right now in the form of both DeFillipo and Spaziani. Say what you will about what a climbing, self-interested snake Jeff Jagodzinski was (and believe me, I have) but the man knew how to coach and he played to win.

    For those of us who remember why we have reasons to expect more, it’s disheartening to see how far we’ve fallen. When the majority of your fanbase is actively hoping that your best player goes pro early because he deserves better, you know things are bad.

    Keep up the great work, and keep speaking the truth about our program. (I will be disappointed if Frank Spaziani has budged from the top spot on the Locksley list this week!)

  2. BC grad says:

    Agreed 100 percent with Doug’s post. Pre-Snap Read forever bookmarked!

  3. ObserverCollege says:

    You should be ashamed of yourself. The first rule of journalism is to copy down the contents of the press release WITHOUT OFFERING OPINION. The press release said Kevin Rogers left due to health reasons. Thus, he left due to health reasons. End of story, move on.

    The score in each 60th minute snapshot is most certainly is not Coach Spaziani’s fault, nor is it Gene DeFilippo’s fault. It is mostly Jeff Jagodzinski’s fault, along with former BC offensive lineman Matt Tennant. Jagodzinski refused to recruit, leaving the cupboard bare for Coach Spaziani. He also wore out his scout team by making them practice an extra week in 2007 and 2008 leading up to rematches with Virginia Tech. Each collision wears down an 18 or 19 year old body. It’s no surprise that what would have been Coach Spaziani’s senior leaders are either injured or broken-down on the field.

    As for Tennant, he is responsible for the Offensive Line’s problems. Every time you turned around, he would talk about “zone blocking” and “Coach Jagodzinski” and “Coach Bicknell”. Coach Spaziani’s O-Line Coach, Sean Devine, is trying to teach the LT to pull and block the left cornerback, the LG to get the strong safety, the center to block the right cornerback, the right guard blocks the left defensive end while the right tackle plays zone against the right defensive end and the middle linebacker. Devine only has 20 minutes per meeting because he has numerous media obligations to discuss his former colleague Chip Kelly’s greatness at Oregon. Yet each time Devine will try to coach the scheme, Tennant would talk about how Jagodzinski would do things.

    This year’s players remember Tennant’s words, and can’t concentrate on Coach Spaziani and Coach Devine’s teachings. Due to Tennant’s mental contamination of these O-Linemen, Coach Spaziani needs another four years to flush out this negative influence.

    Finally, “Pre-Snap”, WATCH THE GAME. From the 5 minute mark of the 2nd quarter, Coach Spaziani won the game 14-10. Finch fumbled inside the FSU 10, but you have to give Spaziani credit for the TD since it was the players’ fault (yet again). Spaziani scored another TD early in the 2nd half. From there, he smartly nursed the lead the rest of the 2nd half to win the last 35 minutes of the game, 14-10.

    And yes, that matters. Don’t think so? Tell that to the Chattanooga Lookouts. The Modesto Nuts. The Potomac Nationals. The Kinston Indians. ALL of whom won 2nd-half championships this season. Why? Because just like Spaz, they didn’t quit.

  4. 31southst says:

    Paul,

    This is absolutely right and I echo the thought that you must actually follow the program. No other national writer has nearly as good of a read on the program.

  5. Manpod says:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. You have summarized the season very well. Don’t really know who is responsible for this mess, but the result has been awful.

  6. kevin says:

    ObserverCollege,
    This website is more of a blog than anything else, so worrying about journalistic integrity should not be at the top of any readers list, but I do not know of the intentions of Paul, so I will not speculate.
    Coach Spaziani is entirely to blame for this loss. He is the head coach, and has been for three seasons now. He should know how to recruit, so I don’t see the reasoning there. Also, Jagodzinski was there for only two years.
    Also, it doesn’t matter if BC “won” the game from the five minute mark of the second quarter, because they lost the game starting with the first touchdown in the first. A moral victory wont get anyone to conference championship or bowl games, you actually have to score more points by the end of the game to do that. Just because he didn’t quit doesn’t give Coach Spaziani the pass.
    If you are going to blame anyone besides the people who should be blamed (Coach Spaziani and the players), how about the ACC, for scheduling these teams to meet on four days rest. These Thursday night games are a terrible idea, and the ACC only wishes to push their crappy league into the media spotlight, displaying sorry games throughout the season.

  7. 4.0 Point Stance says:

    I think it’s a pretty sad reflection on the state of sports journalism when a team’s fans all assume that, if a writer knows what he’s talking about, he must be a fan/alum. Has the bar for sports journalism dropped so low that simply *knowing what you’re talking about* is some kind of extraordinary achievement?

    On the other hand – kudos to Paul. On one story people assume he must be a BC alum. On the other, they assume he must be a UA-B alum. Assuming both aren’t true, that’s impressive in its own right.

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