Well... you made it. Not only is this the final Syracuse Orange football opponent to cover, it’s also being released right before Week 1 of College Football gets underway! If you missed any previous previews, they’re linked for your convenience: Louisville, UConn, Purdue, Virginia, Wagner, NC State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Pitt, Florida State, and Wake Forest.
So at long last, we conclude our season breakdown with...
School: Boston College
#BRAND Slogans: #WeAreBC, #ForBoston, #GetIn
Alternate #BRAND Slogan Suggestions: #TheArtOfSixWins, #ForASuburbOfBoson, or “Remember when the Patriots played here, then left for Harvard?”
Recommended Blog: BC Interruption
History vs. Syracuse: The Orange lead the Eagles 32-22 all-time and 6-4 since joining the ACC. We’ll see if history repeats itself, as in both 2004 and 2013, SU took down BC in the final game of the regular season to earn bowl eligibility. ‘Cuse hasn’t traveled to Chestnut Hill since the finale of the 2018 season - their last bowl year, fittingly enough. The longest Syracuse winning streak in the series is six games from 1987-1992.
Coach: Jeff Hafley, third season. Jeff was one of the last to come out of Siena College football before the program was discontinued. After a brief stint as the RBs coach at DIII Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Hafley worked with the defenses of Albany, Pitt, and Rutgers. In 2012, he made the move to the pros with Tampa Bay, followed by San Francisco and Cleveland. Ohio State lured him back to college athletics in 2019, then he took the BC head coaching job prior to 2020.
2021 Record: (6-6) (2-6)
Recapping Last Season:
The Eagles blew through their non-conference slate with convincing wins against Colgate, UMass, and Temple, along with an OT victory over Missouri. Their wheels quickly fell off as ACC play began. BC managed to hang around with offensively-challenged Clemson, but the next three games against NC State, Louisville, and Syracuse were all multi-score losses. They managed to snap their losing streak with wins over both Techs (Virginia and Georgia) to move to 6-4. Bowl-eligible Boston then lost to Florida State and Wake Forest to close out the 2021 campaign. The Military Bowl against East Carolina was cancelled because of positive BC players, marking the second straight year that the Eagles were eligible to play an extra game but did not.
Boston College was forced to become a run-heavy offense last year, though not as extreme as Syracuse. Pat Garwo exploded onto the scene with a thousand-yard season and seven touchdowns. Meanwhile, Zay Flowers stood atop the receiving corps. with five TDs and over 700 yards. There wasn’t a lot to point out beyond those two, and it’s mainly because of inconsistent QB play. Starter Phil Jurkovec was injured in one of the early blow-out wins which meant Dennis Grosel had to take over in ACC play. During four straight conference losses he had only two TDs to five interceptions and forced BC to be a one-dimensional team. Jurkovec took back over and looked better in the next three but finished on a bad performance against Wake Forest.
This defense was a group that struggled immensely to get to the quarterback. Marcus Valdez showed some speed off the edge and had five sacks, but the rest of the front-end failed to do the same. That being said, I never expected that BC had the 4th-fewest average passing yards allowed in college football. Unfortunately for them, it came at the cost of not being able to stop the run; they were near the bottom of the Power 5 in that regard. Brandon Sebastian had four takeaways from in the two-deep, while several other DBs including Josh DeBerry contributed some clutch moments in coverage. Connor Lytton handled most of the FG tries, going 11/12.
2022 Season Outlook:
The Eagles’ first two home matchups are against Rutgers and Maine. Their road OOC calendar features UConn and Notre Dame. ACC home games are against Louisville, Clemson, Duke, and Syracuse. BC will also travel to Virginia Tech, Florida State, Wake Forest, and NC State this fall.
The offensive trio of Jurkovec, Garwo, and Flowers are still atop the depth chart. Jaelen Gill and Jaden Williams stick around as pass catching options too, with the later slotted in at the X. Notre Dame transfer George Takacs takes over at TE after Trae Berry’s retirement.
There’s a few adjustments in the defense, mostly made by internal options. Jalen Cheek appears to have won a corner spot after redshirting as a freshman. LB Isaiah Graham-Mobley was the only starter who left for the pros. There’s still some last minute battles ongoing for two of the linebacker spots, but Bryce Steele has the third locked down.
Syracuse Game Date: Saturday, November 19
Location: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Odds of Orange Victory: 60%
Very Early Outlook vs. Syracuse:
This is one of the few games on the SU calendar where they really should be favored. BC’s offense will be better this season, but other than Flowers is there enough to overcome the strong Syracuse secondary? A late November matchup like this should feel the full effect of the New England winter, with windy conditions giving Syracuse the advantage in a trench battle. And if the Orange are in a “win-and-in” situation like I think they will be, then you can confidently mark this one down in the win column.
Thanks everybody for following along with all of the opponent previews. Please feel free to leave me some feedback in the comments. What did you like/dislike the most about these articles? Any suggestions on how I can improve my writing are always welcome.