Some Predictions for BC Athletics in 2020
By JD Biagioni
The ball has dropped and a new decade has begun. As the 2020s get under way, Boston College athletics is undergoing a period of transition. The football team has a new head coach. Men’s hockey finally seems to have returned to NCAA Championship contender status. Men’s basketball will welcome a high-profile recruit next fall. And women’s basketball, field hockey and volleyball all appear to be on the rise. Though the year is less than a week old, let’s check out some predictions for 2020 and see where BC athletics could be sitting this time next year. Keep in mind, most of these predictions probably won’t come true, and some are quite outlandish indeed, but it’s fun to think about.
- Anthony Brown plays BC next year. No, he doesn’t play for BC, but rather against them. On September 19th, he suits up for the Jayhawks against his former team. In a stunning turn of events, the Eagles quarterback in that game is Felipe Franks, currently the favorite to head Les Miles’ offense next season. After Brown chooses Kansas, Franks decides on BC in the hopes of continuing his baseball career. Franks was selected in the 31st round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Red Sox, and, although he remains adamant about sticking with football, may have a change of heart once he arrives in Boston. He hasn’t picked up a baseball in five years but can touch 95 on the radar gun. Franks chooses BC, and, following his senior season with the Eagles, decides to join the baseball team, fresh off a tournament appearance (more on that in a bit).
- The Eagles finish the regular season 7-5, but Jeff Hafley does manage to tie Steve Addazio’s record for victories over ranked teams during his first season. The Eagles will knock off No. 21 North Carolina on October 10th. Hafley’s defense flummoxes Sam Howell, who throws two interceptions in the game. BC wins 17-10.
- Speaking of Franks and the Red Sox, he caps his collegiate career where he could begin his professional one, at Fenway Park. He leads the Eagles to a 27-17 victory over SMU in the first ever Fenway Bowl. The win gives BC its first 8-win season since the program won 9 in 2009.
- Under Hafley, the defense jumps from 125 into the top 50, allowing under 350 yards per game.
.@ACCFootball will be a part of the newly introduced Fenway Bowl, which will kick off at Fenway Park beginning in 2020.
“We are proud to be part of the annual Fenway Bowl as it will be a unique and enjoyable experience for the ACC, our football program and fans." pic.twitter.com/mZMUo8fe8A
— The ACC (@theACC) September 17, 2019
- The Eagles win their first Beanpot title since 2016, defeating Boston University 4-1 in the semifinals and Harvard 1-0 in a defensive battle in the championship game.
- They finish first in the Hockey East and face a bit of a scare in the opening round against UNH. After losing the first game in overtime, BC pounds the Wildcats in the next two to advance to the Garden, along with UMass, UMass Lowell and Providence.
- A win over Providence sends the Eagles to the championship game, but they fall just short again, losing to UMass 4-2 in the championship game.
- Nevertheless, BC earns a No. 1 seed in the Northeast Regionals and advances with wins over Minnesota-Duluth and Cornell. Spencer Knight wins regional MVP honors (if that’s an award they hand out).
- The season ends in heartbreak, with a 3-2 overtime loss to eventual national champion North Dakota in the national semifinals.
- Only two goalies, Ryan Miller and Robb Stauber, have ever won the Hobey Baker Award. This year, Knight finishes third in the voting, but he isn’t the highest-placing goaltender. Dyden McKay, the Minnesota St. netminder, takes home the award, and Providence forward Jack Dugan finishes second.
- Not a BC prediction, but I said prior to the year that Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield would lead the nation in goals. He’s only two goals off the lead, and I still maintain he will be atop the scoreboard come March.
- Knight and Matt Boldy return for their sophomore seasons. Alex Newhook leaves and signs with the Avalanche. He scores two goals in the postseason and helps the Avs advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they eventually fall to the Blues.
- David Cotton becomes an RFA and signs with his hometown Dallas Stars. Ben Finkelstein inks a deal with the Florida Panthers before they lose his draft rights.
Check out this week's @kroger Great Save of the Week courtesy of U18s goaltender Spencer Knight! Knight's saves helped the U18s come from behind to defeat the Chicago Steel, 5-4. pic.twitter.com/hH2s8o0osu
— USA Hockey’s NTDP (@USAHockeyNTDP) March 29, 2018
- Birdball goes 35-24, 33-22 in the regular season, and qualifies as an at-large team in the NCAA Tournament; they are selected for the Coral Gables regional with Miami, South Alabama and Kentucky. Much like 2016, BC wins its regional as a No. 3 seed, this time getting revenge on the Hurricanes on their home field. Unfortunately, again like 2016, BC falls a round short of advancing to Omaha, putting forth a valiant effort against powerhouse Vanderbilt, but ultimately losing two hard-fought games.
- Sal Frelick and Cody Morissette both hit over .400 on the season.
- Jack Cunningham leads the team with 18 home runs.
- Emmet Sheehan develops into a reliable weekend starter, becoming the Eagles most trusted option behind Mason Pelio.
- Led by Frelick and Chris Galland, BC finishes in the top 10 in the nation in stolen bases.
The kid @SalFrelick doesn't know how to not make top plays!#SCtop10 nominee.#Birdball🦅
Mid 7: BC 1, Duke 0.
🖥 https://t.co/Tgk2NXaohz (ACCNE)
📊 https://t.co/SGKjo1jWTM pic.twitter.com/I8ckb2mXZ0
— BC Baseball (@BCBirdBall) April 26, 2019
- BC manages to win 7-9 conference games in a weak ACC. They also pull off an upset somewhere along the way, winning either home against Louisville on January 29th or at Chapel Hill on February 1st.
- The Eagles finish as the No. 10 seed and defeat bottom-seeded Wake Forest in the opening round, before losing to No. 7 Pitt in the second round.
- Jairus Hamilton scores 30-plus in a game this season.
- Despite another ho-hum season, Eagles fans are rejuvenated by the tantalizing possibility of a Wynston Tabbs, Jay Heath, Jairus Hamilton, Damarr Langford and CJ Felger starting five with Julian Rishwain and Makai-Ashton Langford coming off the bench.
— Hoop Group (@TheHoopGroup) May 11, 2019
- BC makes a surprise run to the semifinals. The Eagles enter as the No. 10 seed but knock off No. 7 Duke and then pull off a massive upset against No. 2 Georgia Tech. The season ends with a loss to No. 3 UNC, but the run is enough to propel BC to an NIT bid, where they reach the Sweet 16.
- The excellent play of sophomore trio Cam Swartz, Makayla Dickens and Taylor Soule has the Eagles positioned as a fringe NCAA Tournament team heading into the 2020-21 season.
— Boston College Women’s Basketball (@bc_wbb) December 20, 2019
- The Eagles bounce back from a rough December but end the season on the NCAA Tournament bubble. An unlikely conference champion steals an at-large bid spot and causes BC to miss out on the tournament for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
- Again women’s lacrosse advances deep into the postseason tournament, and again they come up just short. This time, they lose in the national semifinals against UNC.
- Field hockey reaches the NCAA Tournament again next fall.
- Volleyball was selected to its first postseason tournament in team history in 2019. Next season, the team breaks through and reaches the NCAA Tournament.