Team: Boston College Eagles
W-L: 4-8 (3-5)
Top Offensive Performer: Chase Rettig, QB
Top Defensive Performer: Luke Kuechly, LB
Under head coach Frank Spaziani, the Eagles have fallen from conference title-contender to league also-ran rather swiftly. Going back to their Big East days, BC had made 12 straight bowl games, which counted among the best streaks in the country. Since 2009 though (Spaziani’s first year), there’s been a sinking feeling amongst Eagles fans to coincide with their decreasing offensive proficiency. And the 2011 season was no different. Boston College’s offense was among the worst in the nation, averaging less than 300 yards per game and only 18.2 points per contest (112th among FBS teams). Their leading rusher, Rolandon Finch, had just 705 yards, while lead receiver Colin Larmond caught just 34 passes for 528 yards. Top offensive performer Chase Rettig was similarly unimpressive in comparison to his ACC peers, ranking 10th in pass efficiency while throwing for just 1,954 yards and 12 touchdowns. Worst of all, the team only topped 20 points three times in 12 tries.
On the positive end, Boston College’s defense was actually pretty formidable. While eighth in total defense in the ACC, the Eagles let up the third-to-least touchdowns in the conference (30), and ranked in the top half of both pass-defense efficiency and total rush defense. Allowing just 23.5 points per game (43rd in FBS), BC held six opponents to 20 points or less — including their final three, who only managed a combined 41. Of course, it all traces back to NCAA tackle-leader Luke Kuechly, who took home various conference defensive honors, as well as the Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defender.
Going into 2012, Boston College has a long road ahead. With Kuechly headed for the NFL Draft, the team has a huge spot to fill in the middle of the field. Combined with Coach Spaziani’s obvious hot seat, and what some are calling the team’s most difficult in school history, it’s difficult to see success with the current personnel. The only visible saving grace? The return of top running back Montel Harris. Perhaps with a full season of Harris, and a matured Rettig, some magic can happen. Otherwise, it’ll be another long year in Chestnut Hill, Mass.