The Boston College Eagles football team is the collegiate football program of Boston College. The team is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, a Division I Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) league governed by the NCAA. Within the ACC, the Eagles are one of six teams in the Atlantic Division. Begun in 1892, Boston College was one of six "Major College" football programs in New England as designated by NCAA classifications, starting in 1938. By 1981, and for the remainder of the twentieth century, BC was New England's sole Division I-A program. It has amassed a 601-419-36 record and is 71-30-0 since the turn of the century. In 2007, the Eagles captured the ACC's Atlantic Division Championship and finished the season ranked in the AP Top 10 for the first time since 1984. They also achieved a mid-season #2 ranking , their highest since being ranked #1 in 1942 . In addition, the program holds the record for the longest current bowl winning streak with 8 consecutive victories.
The team is currently coached by Jeff Jagodzinski and its home games are played at Alumni Stadium on the Boston College campus in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. In addition to success on the gridiron, Boston College football teams are consistently ranked among the nation's best for academic achievement and graduation . In 2005, 2006 and 2007, the football team's Academic Progress Rate was the highest of any school that finished the season ranked in the AP or ESPN/USA Today Coaches' polls.
In 1892, Boston College President Edward Ignatius Devitt, SJ, grudgingly agreed to the requests of two undergraduates, Joseph F. O'Connell of the class of 1893 and Joseph Drum of the class of 1894, to start a varsity football team. Drum would become the first head coach, albeit an unpaid position and O'Connell was captain. On October 26, 1893, BC played its first official game against the St. John's Literary Institute of Cambridge followed by its first intercollegiate game against MIT. BC won the first game 4-0, but lost 6-0 to MIT. Two of the original team's alumni had particularly significant careers: Lineman John Douglass became the first BC graduate to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and running back James Carlin became president of the College of the Holy Cross.
In 1896, Boston College and Holy Cross began what was to become one of the most storied rivalries in college football. For much of the early to mid 20th century, BC and The Cross drew some of New England's largest sports crowds. In 1913, BC began playing home games at Alumni Field.
To accommodate larger crowds, the Holy Cross game was routinely held at larger venues off campus, with the 1916 matchup taking place at the newly constructed Fenway Park. A record 54,000 attended the 1922 game at Braves Field, home of the Boston Braves baseball team. On November 28, 1942, BC lost in a huge upset to Holy Cross by a score of 55-12. This led to the BC players not attending their scheduled victory celebration at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, which burned down that night. By the late 1970s the Holy Cross game had become more of a tradition than a rivalry, as Holy Cross football had long since ceased being a major power. By 1980, the game was no longer part of the student ticket package, and was mostly attended by alumni. In 1986 Holy Cross changed the direction of its football program, joining the Division 1-AA Patriot League, and terminated the series. BC had won 17 of the last 20 games.
The 1940 season can arguably be called the greatest year in the history of Boston College football. BC's undefeated (11-0) and untied team captured the 1941 Sugar Bowl championship and earned the nickname "Team of Destiny." Five members of that storied team have been inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame: end Eugene Goodreault (50); guard George Kerr (47); center Chet Gladchuk, Sr. (45); fullback Michael Holovak (12); and halfback Charles O’Rourke (13). It included a 19-18 victory over Georgetown before 41,700 fans at sold-out Fenway Park, that was called one of the greatest games ever by famed sportswriter Grantland Rice. Going into the game, the Hoyas had twenty-two consecutive victories spanning three seasons. BC trailed until the third quarter, when a 43 yard touchdown pass from Charlie O'Rourke to Monk Maznicki put the Eagles ahead. With just seconds remaining, BC had the ball on their own nine, fourth down and 18 to go. Georgetown set up to return the Eagles’ punt. Instead of punting, O’Rourke scrambled in his own end zone for 45 seconds then took a safety. BC used the free kick to boot the ball far downfield and dashed the Hoyas' three-season unbeaten record. Legendary Coach Frank Leahy took his undefeated Eagles on to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans where they beat Tennessee. The Sugar Bowl victory also gave BC a claim to the 1940 National Championship in a three-way tie with Stanford and Minnesota. However absent a playoff, this claim is disputed and can be described as a mythical national championship. The NCAA does not recognize Boston College's claim to a national championship.
Following two mediocre seasons in 1997 (4-7) and 1998 (4-7), O'Brien's vision of a re-built football program began to take shape. In 1999, the Eagles finished the regular season 8-3 including a 31-29 win at Notre Dame Stadium on November 20. BC had earned itself its first bowl berth since being ensnarled in the 1996 gambling scandal. Despite the excitement of its first postseason game in five years, Boston College laid an egg at the Insight.com Bowl in Tucson, Arizona, getting squashed by the University of Colorado, 62-28. In 2000 BC finished the regular season at 6-5 with just enough wins to be bowl-eligible and found themselves in Honolulu for the Aloha Bowl where they downed Arizona State 31-17, giving O'Brien his first bowl victory as head coach.
The year 2001 saw Boston College end a 21-game losing streak to ranked opponents when, in the Music City Bowl, the Eagles beat No. 16 Georgia 20-16 to finish at 8-5. But the most memorable moment of the year came in another thrilling game against then-No. 1 Miami at Alumni Stadium. Trailing 12-7 BC stood at the Hurricanes 9-yard-line, poised to win with just over 20 seconds left in the contest, but a freak interception thrown by Eagles quarterback Brian St. Pierre cost BC the game. St. Pierre threw too low for BC receiver Ryan Read, and the pass ricocheted off a Miami defender's leg and fell into the hands of Ed Reed, who returned it 80 yards for a touchdown — preserving a win for the Hurricanes and keeping its hopes alive for a national championship, which they would eventually win. Despite the heartbreaking loss, the season had several highs including running back William Green rushing for 1,559 yards and being the top RB taken in the 2002 NFL Draft; eight wins for the first time since 1993; and the team finished the season ranked (No. 21) for the first time since 1994.
Over the next few years the team posted respectable win-loss records and continued to win bowl games. In 2002, BC went 9-4 and won the Motor City Bowl, in 2003 they were 8-5 with a victory in the San Francisco Bowl and finished 9-3 in 2004 with a win in the Continental Tire Bowl. The year 2004 would be the Eagles final campaign in the Big East, and it finished the season in a four-way tie atop the league — a year in which they closed the season ranked No. 21 in both major polls.
BC holds the active national record for consecutive bowl victories, having won a postseason bowl game in each of the past eight years. BC footballers routinely rank at or near the top in Division 1-A for best graduation rate and were ranked sixth nationally in Student-Athlete GPA for 2004-05. As of June 2005, 20 Boston College football players were on NFL rosters. Among the more notable: Marc Colombo '02 (Cowboys), Doug Flutie '85 (Patriots), William Green '02 (Browns), Matt Hasselbeck '98 (Seahawks), Chris Hovan '00 (Bucs), Dan Koppen '03 (Patriots), Tom Nalen '94 (Broncos) and Damien Woody '99 (Lions).
Mathias Kiwanuka, BC defensive end who earned Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2004, was drafted by the New York Giants in the April 2006 NFL Draft. The Giants are coached by former BC Head Football Coach Tom Coughlin.
|September 2||@ Ball State||W 19-11||1-0 (0-0)|
|September 11||Penn State||W 21-7||2-0 (0-0)|
|September 17||Connecticut||W 27-7||3-0 (1-0)|
|September 25||@ Wake Forest||L 17-14||3-1 (1-0)|
|October 2||Massachusetts||W 29-7||4-1 (1-0)|
|October 16||@ Pittsburgh||L 20-17||4-2 (1-1)|
|October 23||@ #25 Notre Dame||W 24-23||5-2 (1-1)|
|November 6||Rutgers||W 21-10||6-2 (2-1)|
|November 13||@ #13 West Virginia||W 36-17||7-2 (3-1)|
|November 20||@ Temple||W 34-17||8-2 (4-1)|
|November 27||Syracuse||L 43-17||8-3 (4-2)|
|December 30||North Carolina in Continental Tire Bowl||W 37-24||9-3 (4-2)|
|September 3||@ BYU||W 20-3||1-0 (0-0)|
|September 10||Army||W 44-7||2-0 (0-0)|
|September 17||#8 Florida State||L 28-17||2-1 (0-1)|
|September 24||@ Clemson||W 16-13 (OT)||3-1 (1-1)|
|October 1||Ball State||W 38-0||4-1 (1-1)|
|October 8||Virginia||W 28-17||5-1 (2-1)|
|October 15||Wake Forest||W 35-30||6-1 (3-1)|
|October 27||@ #3 Virginia Tech||L 30-10||6-2 (3-2)|
|November 5||@ UNC||L 16-14||6-3 (3-3)|
|November 12||NC State||W 30-10||7-3 (4-3)|
|November 19||@ Maryland||W 31-16||8-3 (5-3)|
|December 28||Boise State in MPC Computers Bowl||W 27-21||9-3 (5-3)|
|August 31||@ Central Michigan||W 31-24||1-0 (0-0)|
|September 9||#18 Clemson||W 34-33 (2 OT)||2-0 (1-0)|
|September 16||BYU||W 30-23 (2 OT)||3-0 (1-0)|
|September 23||@ NC State||L 17-15||3-1 (1-1)|
|September 30||Maine||W 22-0||4-1 (1-1)|
|October 12||#22 Virginia Tech||W 22-3||5-1 (2-1)|
|October 21||@ Florida State||W 24-19||6-1 (3-1)|
|October 28||Buffalo||W 41-0||7-1 (3-1)|
|November 4||@ #22 Wake Forest||L 21-14||7-2 (3-2)|
|November 11||Duke||W 28-7||8-2 (4-2)|
|November 18||#21 Maryland||W 38-16||9-2 (5-2)|
|November 23||@ Miami||L 17-14||9-3 (5-3)|
|December 30||Navy in Meineke Car Care Bowl||W 25-24||10-3 (5-3)|
Despite their #2 conference ranking, #14 BCS ranking and 10-3 record the Eagles were the 4th overall bowl selection in their conference and were chosen by the Champs Sports Bowl. Due to loopholes in the ACC bowl selection process the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl used its #2 pick to select Clemson, a team BC had beaten on the road. With the third choice the Gator Bowl selected Virginia. Both Clemson and Virginia had 9-3 records and only 1 win each over ranked teams to BC's 3 wins (over ranked opponents). This made Boston College and its former conference rival Connecticut the only bowl-eligible teams in 2007 that received a bowl bid lower than its conference ranking.
|September 1||Wake Forest||W 38-28||1-0 (1-0)|
|September 8||NC State||W 37-17||2-0 (2-0)|
|September 15||@ #15 Georgia Tech||W 24-10||3-0 (3-0)|
|September 22||Army||W 37-17||4-0 (3-0)|
|September 29||UMass||W 24-14||5-0 (3-0)|
|October 6||Bowling Green||W 55-24||6-0 (3-0)|
|October 13||@ Notre Dame||W 27-14||7-0 (3-0)|
|October 25||@ #8 Virginia Tech||W 14-10||8-0 (4-0)|
|November 3||Florida State||L 27-17||8-1 (4-1)|
|November 10||@ Maryland||L 42-35||8-2 (4-2)|
|November 17||@ #15 Clemson||W 20-17||9-2 (5-2)|
|November 24||Miami||W 28-14||10-2 (6-2)|
|December 1||#6 Virginia Tech in ACC Championship||L 16-30||10-3 (6-2)|
|December 28||Michigan State in Champs Sports Bowl||W 24-21||11-3 (6-2)|
|1897-1899, 1901||John Dunlop||15-17-2|
|1908||Joe Reilly, Joe Kenney||2-4-2|
|1919-1926||Frank Cavanaugh (College Hall of Fame Bio)||48-14-5|
|1927||D. Leo Daley||4-4-0|
|1935||Dinney McNamara / Harry Downes||3-1-0 / 3-2-0|
|1936-1938||Gil Dobie (College Hall of Fame Bio)||16-6-5|
|1939-1940||Frank Leahy (College Hall of Fame Bio)||20-2-0|
|2006-2007||Frank Spaziani||1-0-0 interim coach for Tom O'Brien.|
|Year||Bowl Game||Location||BC||Score||Opponent||Score||Year-End Poll AP||MVP|
|1939||Cotton Bowl||Dallas, Texas||Boston College||3||Clemson||6||#11|
|1940||Sugar Bowl||New Orleans, Louisiana||Boston College||19||Tennessee||13||#5|
|1942||Orange Bowl||Miami, Florida||Boston College||21||Alabama||37||#5|
|1982||Tangerine Bowl||Orlando, Florida||Boston College||26||Auburn||33||unranked|
|1983||Liberty Bowl||Memphis, Tennessee||Boston College||18||Notre Dame||19||#19||Doug Flutie|
|1984||Cotton Bowl||Dallas, Texas||Boston College||45||Houston||28||#5||Steve Strachan / Bill Romanowski|
|1986||Hall of Fame Bowl||Tampa, Florida||Boston College||27||Georgia||24||#19|
|1992||Hall of Fame Bowl||Tampa, Florida||Boston College||23||Tennessee||38||#21|
|1993||Carquest Bowl||Orlando, Florida||Boston College||31||Virginia||13||#13||Glenn Foley|
|1994||Aloha Bowl||Honolulu, Hawai'i||Boston College||12||Kansas State||7||#23|
|1999||Insight.com Bowl||Tucson, Arizona||Boston College||28||Colorado||62||unranked|
|2000||Aloha Bowl||Honolulu, Hawai'i||Boston College||31||Arizona State||17||unranked|
|2001||Music City Bowl||Nashville, Tennessee||Boston College||20||Georgia||16||#21||William Green|
|2002||Motor City Bowl||Detroit, Michigan||Boston College||51||Toledo||25||unranked||Brian St. Pierre|
|2003||San Francisco Bowl||San Francisco, California||Boston College||35||Colorado State||21||unranked||Derrick Knight / T. J. Stancil|
|2004||Continental Tire Bowl||Charlotte, North Carolina||Boston College||37||North Carolina||24||#21||Paul Peterson|
|2005||MPC Computers Bowl||Boise, Idaho||Boston College||27||Boise State||21||#18||Matt Ryan|
|2006||Meineke Car Care Bowl||Charlotte, North Carolina||Boston College||25||Navy||24||#20||Jolonn Dunbar|
|2007||Champs Sports Bowl||Orlando, Florida||Boston College||24||Michigan State||21||#10||Jamie Silva|