Boston College football dealt with injuries but still survived last season and now have high hopes for Jeff Hafley’s third season in Chestnut Hill.
Jeff Hafley took over Boston College football after leaving his position as the Ohio State defensive coordinator and there were high hopes for the Eagles. With his recruiting acumen combined with a great on-field mind as well, he seemed like the right man to get the program to a next level outside of the 6-7 wins they seemingly accrued each year.
Now entering his third season in Chestnut Hill, though, Hafley has yet to win more than six games in a season (albeit that number is different due to not playing in a bowl game in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID or other complications) and is still trying to reach for that next step. Is the 2022 college football season the year Boston College makes that jump?
Coming in at No. 42 on FanSided’s Preseason Top 50 Rankings, the Boston College Eagles.
Boston College football 2021 season in review
Things were trending decisively up for the Eagles at the start of the year when they reeled off four straight wins and looked like Boston College was about to be a potential spoiler in the ACC. Then came the injury to quarterback Phil Jurkovec and the wheels came off.
Even when the star signal-caller returned to the fold late in the season, he was clearly not at 100% and the offense showed as much.
That led to a 2-6 showing in the conference and, with BC not playing in a bowl game despite being eligible for the second straight season (this time due to COVID complications and opt outs 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 have hopes of busting through in the 2022 season.
Previewing Boston College offense for 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), 3-star OL Jude Bowry
- Impact player: Phil Jurkovec
With Jurkovec returning and healthy once again, there are decisive reasons for optimism about this offense, particularly with the weapons coming back to the Eagles for the 2022 campaign. Zay Flowers has been a stud for the program at the position and Jalen Gill figures to take a step forward with Jurkovec’s return. Meanwhile, Pat Garwo III emerged as a playmaker out of the backfield a year ago, a performance which he can build upon.
Having said that, the great unknown for Boston College is the protection up front. Not only is the offensive line losing four starters, but it’s four starters who are all now in the NFL. To make matters worse, the lone returner was set to be Christian Mahogany but a torn ACL in offseason work has already ended his 2022.
How well a new-look O-line is able to both protect Jurkovec and clear the way for Garwo will determine a great deal about how this BC offense looks this year.
Previewing Boston College defense for 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: 3-star CB Amari Jackson
- Impact player: Josh DeBerry
For better or worse, this is an experienced defense that should have some relatively high expectations for them, particularly the secondary led mostly by one of the best nickel corners in the country, Josh DeBerry. His playmaking could be huge.
While there is experience coming back on the defensive line, the big question will be if 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 being plagued by injuries. If he can stay healthy, he could be an even bigger game-changer than DeBerry or hard-nosed strong safety Jaiden Woodbey.
Boston College football players awards watch for 2022 season
Phil Jurkovec, Maxwell/Davey O’Brien
In 16 games with the Eagles (four of those played last year when he was clearly not fully healthy), the former Notre Dame recruit has thrown for 3,472 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. With a fantastic arm and NFL-type potential, expect a healthy Jurkovec to make some serious noise and potentially have a Kenny Pickett-like rise to fame 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, the Jurkovec injury played a big part of that. He should be expected to be a serious Biletnikoff contender with the rapport he possesses with his quarterback combined with his talent.
George Takacs, Mackey
All told, it’s probably a longshot for the Notre Dame transfer to end up winning the Mackey given that he transferred from a school with one of the leading candidates (Michael Mayer) and that Georgia has a host of tight ends who could win the award for the nation’s best at the position. With that said, it does highlight the fact that Hafley is adding a great player to a position of need.
Boston College football biggest game on 2022 schedule
There’s an argument to be made that the second week of the season when the Eagles travel to Lane Stadium to face the Hokies that such a game could be a massive tone-setter for the team. While that might be true, Boston College should open the season at 3-1 or 2-2 before they welcome Louisville to Chestnut Hill on Oct. 1. And that’s going to be a big one.
Fresh off their trip to Florida State the week prior, Louisville promises to have an explosive offense that could put this defensive front to the test. Moreover, it also comes the week before the Eagles welcome Clemson to town, so it could be a trap lookahead spot. There’s a big difference between being 4-1 or 3-2 than 3-2 or 2-3 after that game and it could have a great effect on the second half of the regular season.
Boston College football best-case scenario
Let’s say that BC gets the expected wins over Rutgers and Maine to start the season and then splits their trips to Virginia Tech and Florida State. That leads us to that Louisville game and, in a best-case scenario, they have the talent to beat them, which would also mean the defense has found some footing and the offense is getting the train rolling now at full strength.
That would lead into the Clemson game, which is probably a loss no matter how you examine it. Still, that would have them at 4-2 going into the back half of the season. A showdown at Wake Forest would break the Eagles’ way if things are going well but they’re probably not picking up road wins at NC State or Notre Dame. But that would wrap up the season at an impressive 8-4 and have BC heading to a bowl game for a chance at nine wins, a huge push forward for Hafley.
Boston College football worst-case scenario
On the flip side of the coin, it’s not hard to see where things could get derailed if the Eagles offensive and defensive lines don’t come around as people throughout the program are hoping. That would mean losses to the Hokies and Seminoles and then more defeats against Louisville and Clemson, which would put them at 2-4 and would likely spell a 2-5 start with the looming trip to Wake Forest up next.
Thereafter, there are still winnable games but I’d still have them losing to the Wolfpack and Irish, which would unfortunately leave the Eagles at 5-7 and taking a step backwards rather than forward in the 2022 campaign.
Boston College football 2022 season prediction
As is often the case when it comes to looking at the best- and worst-case scenarios for a team coming into the season, the eventual reality probably lies somewhere in the middle. They’ll pick up the obvious wins because I have enough faith in Jurkovec and the back end of the defense to buoy their performance in those contests. Moreover, I see them being able to split that Virginia Tech/FSU start and then either take care of Louisville at home or clip Wake Forest in Winston Salem.
In any case, that puts them at seven wins for the year, which feels like where this team ends up. That would still be a great campaign, more wins than Hafley has gotten to 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 bowl game prediction
Early bowl projections have the Eagles staying close to home for the postseason. College Football News has Boston College playing in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl with its ACC affiliation and facing off with Cincinnati, which would be quite a good matchup, even with the Bearcats having to retool after their CFP appearance a year ago.
Up next: No. 41: South Carolina Gamecocks
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