BC's Spaziani has Eagles heading in right direction

Boston College coach Frank Spaziani probably should have been this year’s ACC Coach of the Year.

Let’s be realistic.

Not only did Boston College exceed expectations by contending for the Atlantic Division until late November after the Eagles were picked to finish last in the division, but Spaziani also coached the team to its 11th straight bowl game and put the players in position to beat USC. That’s right, USC.

It doesn’t matter that the Trojans weren’t national contenders this year, or that they lost three of their final five regular season games. It doesn’t matter that they were without leading rusher Joe McKnight. BC still had to travel to the West Coast and beat Pete Carroll and one of college football’s most storied programs.

And they almost did.

It’s remarkable considering that quarterback Dave Shinskie, just a year ago, was sitting around on a couch watching these bowl games with his buddies.

BC went into this season without a quarterback. Period. The Eagles were without their best player, Mark Herzlich. They were under the direction of a first-year coach and new coordinators. It was a patchwork job on both sides of the ball, and the usually commanding offensive line didn’t live up to its traditional reputation until late in the season. After the transfer of backup quarterback Justin Tuggle and backup running back Josh Haden midway through the season, every game was a gamble with the health of Shinskie and standout running back Montel Harris.

And yet after all of that, there was BC, trailing USC 14-13 at the half. And down by just four points at the end of the third quarter.

That’s not good enough for Spaziani and his players, nor should it be. They didn’t make that trip to “almost win.” They played to win. And with Spaziani quietly putting together his plan for the future and building that program, they will.