Boston College football suffered injuries but still survived last season and now has high hopes for Jeff Hafley’s third season at Chestnut Hill.
Jeff Hafley took over Boston College football after leaving his position as defensive coordinator at Ohio State and there were high hopes for the Eagles. With his keen recruiting acumen combined with a great spirit on the pitch too, he seemed like the perfect man to take the program to the next level apart from the 6-7 wins they have seemingly racked up every year.
Now entering his third season at Chestnut Hill, however, Hafley has yet to win more than six games in a season (although that number is different as he hasn’t played in a bowling game in 2020 or 2021 due of COVID or other complications) and is still trying to reach that next milestone. Is the 2022 college football season the year Boston College makes that leap?
Coming in at 42nd in FanSided’s preseason top 50 rankings are the Boston College Eagles.
Review of the 2021 Boston College football season
Things had a game-changing trend for the Eagles early in the year when they posted four straight wins and looked like Boston College was poised to be a potential spoiler in the ACC. Then came quarterback Phil Jurkovec’s injury and the wheels came off.
Even when the star signalman returned to the fold at the end of the season, he clearly wasn’t 100% and the offense showed as much.
This led to a 2-6 performance in the conference and, with BC not playing in a bowl game despite qualifying for the second straight season (this time due to COVID-related complications and withdrawals leaving them too shorthanded), the Eagles ended the campaign. with six wins for the second straight year and still stuck in a purgatory-like state of mediocrity that they hope to overcome in the 2022 season.
Boston College Offensive Preview for the 2022 Season
- Returning starters (4): QB Phil Jurkovec, WR Zay Flowers, WR Jaelen Gill, RB Pat Garwo III
- Notable newcomers: TE George Takacs (Notre Dame), OL 3 stars Jude Bowry
- Impacting player: Phil Jurkovec
With Jurkovec back and healthy once again, there’s compelling reason to be optimistic about this offense, especially with the Eagles returning to arms for the 2022 campaign. Zay Flowers has been a stallion for the program in this position and Jalen Gill thinks of taking a step forward with the return of Jurkovec. Meanwhile, Pat Garwo III became a playmaker out of the backfield a year ago, a performance he can build on.
That said, the big unknown at Boston College is upstream protection. Not only is the offensive line losing four starters, but four starters are all now in the NFL. To make matters worse, the only comeback was to be Christian Mahogany, but a torn ACL in the offseason has already ended his 2022.
The ability of a new O line to both protect Jurkovec and clear the way for Garwo will largely determine how this attack looks in BC this year.
Overview of Boston College’s defense for the 2022 season
- Returning starters (8): LB Kam Arnold, DT Chibueze Onwuka, DT Cam Horsley, DE Marcus Valdez, NB Josh DeBerry, S Jaiden Woodbey, S Jason Maitre, CB Elijah Jones
- Notable Newcomer: CB Amari Jackson 3 stars
- Impacting player: Josh DeBerry
For better or worse, this is an experienced defense that should have relatively high expectations for them, especially the secondary led mostly by one of the best nickel corners in the country, Josh DeBerry. His game could be huge.
While there will be experience coming back to the defensive line, the big question will be whether they can A. stay healthy and B. be more consistent with their production. Marcus Valdez might be the biggest factor there as he flashes last season with five sacks and seven tackles for loss despite injuries. If he can stay healthy, he could be an even bigger game-changer than either DeBerry or tough, unyielding safety Jaiden Woodbey.
Boston College Football Players Award Watch for 2022 Season
Phil Jurkovec, Maxwell/Davey O’Brien
In 16 games for the Eagles (four of those played last year when he clearly wasn’t fully healthy), the former Notre Dame rookie threw for 3,472 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. With a fantastic arm and NFL-like potential, expect a healthy Jurkovec to make some noise and potentially have a Kenny Pickett-like rise this season.
Zay Flowers, Maxwell/Biletnikoff
Despite playing one more game last year than in 2020, Flower saw his production drop by 146 yards and four touchdowns. Of course, Jurkovec’s injury played a big part in that. One would expect him to be a serious competitor to Biletnikoff with the rapport he has with his quarterback combined with his talent.
George Takacs, Mackey
All told, it’s probably a long time for the Notre Dame transfer to end up winning the Mackey considering he transferred from a school with one of the leading candidates (Michael Mayer) and Georgia has a crowd. tight ends who could win the award for the best in the country at this position. That said, it highlights the fact that Hafley adds a great player to a position in need.
Boston College’s Biggest Football Game on the 2022 Schedule
There’s an argument to be made that in the second week of the season, when the Eagles travel to Lane Stadium to take on the Hokies, such a game could set the tone for the team. While that may be true, Boston College is expected to open the season 3-1 or 2-2 before hosting Louisville at Chestnut Hill on Oct. 1. And that’s going to be important.
Fresh off their trip to Florida State the previous week, Louisville promises to have an explosive offense that could put that defensive front to the test. Plus, this also comes the week before the Eagles welcome Clemson to town, so it could be a trap to watch out for. There’s a big difference between being 4-1 or 3-2 and 3-2 or 2-3 after this game and that could have a big effect on the second half of the regular season.
Best Screenplay in Boston College Football
Let’s say BC gets the expected wins over Rutgers and Maine to start the season, then splits its trips to Virginia Tech and Florida State. That brings us to this Louisville game, and in the best-case scenario, they have the talent to beat them, which would also mean the defense has found a foothold and the offense is running the train now at full throttle.
That would lead to the Clemson game, which is likely a loss no matter how you look at it. Still, that would have them at 4-2 in the second half of the season. A showdown at Wake Forest would break the Eagles’ path if things go well, but they likely won’t get road wins at NC State or Notre Dame. But it would wrap up the season with an impressive 8-4 and put BC on course for a bowl game for a chance at nine wins, a huge push forward for Hafley.
Worst case scenario for Boston College football
On the other hand, it’s not hard to see where things could go off the rails if the Eagles’ offensive and defensive lines don’t turn out the way people across the program hope. That would mean losses for the Hokies and Seminoles, then more losses to Louisville and Clemson, which would put them 2-4 up and likely result in a 2-5 start with the next trip looming at Wake Forest.
Going forward there are still winnable games but I would still lose them to the Wolfpack and the Irish which would sadly leave the Eagles 5-7 and take a step back rather than forward in the 2022 campaign.
Boston College Football 2022 Season Prediction
As is often the case when it comes to looking at best and worst case scenarios for a team entering the season, the eventual reality likely lies somewhere in the middle. They will get the obvious wins because I have enough confidence in Jurkovec and in the back of the defense to support their performance in these competitions. Plus, I see them being able to split that Virginia Tech/FSU departure and then deal with Louisville at home or clip Wake Forest to Winston Salem.
Either way, that puts them at seven wins for the year, which feels like the end of this team. It would still be a great campaign, more wins than Hafley has had at this point in his tenure, and 7-5 could become 8-5 with a bowl win, which is a gigantic victory for the program.
Boston College Football 2022 Football Game Prediction
Early bowl projections force the Eagles to stay close to home for the playoffs. College Football News has Boston College playing in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl with its ACC affiliation and taking on Cincinnati, which would be a pretty good game, even if the Bearcats need to retool after appearing in the CFP a year ago.
Next: No. 41: South Carolina Gamecocks
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