CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- There are three games left in Boston College’s season.
The Eagles (5-4, 2-3 ACC) host NC State (3-6, 0-6) on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN3) for senior day, then travel to Maryland and Syracuse to finish the year.
With one win in the final three, BC will reach bowl eligibility for the first time in three years. With one more win, BC will triple its win total from the final season of the Frank Spaziani era and further exorcise the demons from that period.
No matter the outcomes of the final three games, fifth-year senior co-captain Ian White said that when all is said and done he’ll remember this team’s fight the most.
“The way we came out every game and we may not have executed the best we could in some games, but physically we fought really hard every game,” he said. “And I know we’re gonna fight really hard the next three games. [I’ll remember] how well this team has come together after where we were after a 2-10 season last year. The senior class is doing a really good job of getting this team to come together and know we can win games and have success.”
First-year BC coach Steve Addazio likes to say his team is “scratching and clawing” for everything it gets. He praises his players for their toughness and for their work ethic.
That all starts with the players closest to the end of their BC careers.
“The most important thing is this senior class has really, totally bought in to everything that we wanted to do,” he said. “They’ve embraced it. They love it. Even in the last two weeks, they’ve brought the mental part of their game even higher.
“This senior class in Week 10 is still growing. That’s what’s amazing to me. Most of these guys are playing their best football in Week 9, in Week 10, in Week 8. That’s a good thing.”
Look anywhere on the field during an Eagles win this season, and you’ll likely find a senior playing well at a key position.
White demolished two would-be Army tacklers in one powerful motion, opening a gaping hole for his running back to streak through. Kevin Pierre-Louis turned in a game-changing play in the upset of Virginia Tech, picking off a pass and taking it to the house for a pick-six. Andre Williams burst through the line and went 80 yards to put BC over the top on the road at New Mexico State.
“It’s really important,” Addazio said of the contributions from the senior class. “Those seniors came in here when the program still was winning and it’s interesting to watch them latch and grab on right now and develop. And obviously [we’re] tremendously gonna miss those seniors.”
After two years of losing, two years filled with talk about re-establishing a winning culture and not accepting a loser’s mentality, it’s clear that under the new regime the 2013 senior class simply wouldn’t accept it any longer. All season, Addazio said, BC’s seniors have been “swinging away ... with everything they have.”
“I’m just glad that it started with us,” Williams said. “I’m glad that we were the senior class that can say that we went through some things, maybe some of the worst years in BC history, but in the end we were really able to come together under great leadership and really turn things around for the program and for ourselves.”
When White, Williams & Co. arrived in Chestnut Hill, the Eagles were in the midst of a 12-year run of bowl games. That came to an end on their watch.
But because it's human nature to remember the most recent events best, if they can get one more win this season the BC seniors will leave with a drastically different legacy.
“We’re obviously trying to get the program back to a bowl game, back on a streak that we saw end during our time here,” White said. “So that’s something that we’re trying to do for Boston College and not as much for ourselves, but get BC back on the map and back to bowl games.”
There’s still room to disappoint. Lose the last three games and the final record, 5-7, would underwhelm once again.
But Addazio, as hard-charging and bottom-line-oriented as anyone, sees it differently.
“I will always think about the senior class, no matter what happens, [that] we have laid a really good footprint right now,” he said. “And a really good standard has been set for this program. That needed to happen, and that really has been accomplished. Obviously it’d be absolutely terrific to win as absolutely many games as we can and get to bowl eligibility, but the foundation, the bricks, the things that need to go down have happened here right now.
“That’s real and nothing’s gonna change that, no matter what.”
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.