Point/Counterpoint: Will Football Have A Winning Season In 2012?
Counterpoint: Poor Start Against Maine Causes Concern
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
After last weekend’s events, a .500 record for the BC football team seemed reasonable. Although the Eagles lost to Miami, they still scored 32 points in what was their best offensive showing in an ACC game since 2009. They put up 542 yards—441 passing—all while missing top personnel Chris Pantale, Bobby Swigert, and Rolandan Finch. If BC could score so much against Miami, and shore up their defense in the coming weeks—the logic went—they’d be able to record a number of wins on the year.
Then this weekend happened.
I’ll take you through the day as I experienced it: a Superfan among the sea of yellow at Saturday’s game against Maine. Much to the disbelief of students in the crowd, BC’s offense sputtered against Maine at the start. First a three and out. Then a fumble for a touchback. Another fumble. A stalled drive of only 34 yards. Seven minutes into the second quarter, Maine—a FCS team which does not play in a division qualified for bowl eligibility—was beating the Eagles 3-0.
Just as BC finally got around to doing what they were supposed to do—blow an inferior Maine team off the field—the real bombshell hit. The Alumni Stadium screen flashed an ACC score update, which showed Miami losing to Kansas State 24-3 in the first half. A few hours later, the score had morphed to 52-13. That’s right—a team that BC couldn’t beat last week gave up 52 points before scoring its first touchdown.
Duke Johnson, the Miami running back who tallied two different 50-yard runs against us: 19 yards against KSU. Chase Rettig throwing for 441 yards on 51 attempts suddenly doesn’t look so impressive when KSU’s Collin Klein totaled 210 yards in just 11 attempts.
So I’m afraid that mediocrity is once again where we’re headed this season. The Eagles play four teams that are currently ranked: No. 11 Clemson, No. 5 Florida State, No. 20 Notre Dame and No. 13 Virginia Tech. I don’t see how BC has a realistic shot in any of those games. Next week they play at Northwestern, who’s beaten Vanderbilt—the Commodores almost upset No. 8 South Carolina—and Syracuse, who played No. 2 USC quite close on Saturday.
Say you give the Eagles an upset win out of one of those games. To reach .500, they’d still have to go 4-1 against Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Army and NC State. The Yellow Jackets are about to be ranked and barely lost to Virginia Tech. NC State’s coming off an 8-5 year. Wake Forest just beat UNC. Army and Maryland are certainly winnable games but nothing’s guaranteed. Remember, the Eagles lost to Duke last year.
Sure, BC’s offense is improved from last season. But Miami essentially shut the Eagles down after making adjustments in the first quarter, and Rettig only completed 16 of his 32 passes against Maine.
And while BC’s defense has been a strength in recent years, both fans and media may have underestimated the impact that No. 9 NFL draft pick and all-time ACC leading tackler Luke Kuechly had on the team. The current Carolina Panther had 117 more tackles than anyone else at BC last year. Somehow I’m not too confident with fifth-year senior Nick Clancy replacing Kuechly at middle linebacker.
It’s certainly possible—I hope it’s true—that what I’ve just written is wrong. Miami is actually a decent team, BC’s offense picks up with the addition of injured players, and BC wins some shootouts down the road. But at the end of the day, do you really think a 4-8 team from last year, one which has a harder schedule and lost their best player, is really going to win more games than they lose?
If the Eagles are 3-8 heading into their final game at NC State, don’t say I didn’t warn you.