And so another year has come and gone. I would dare say that most Boston College football fans are relieved that 2011 is behind and that we can look forward once again with hope for the 2012 season. The biggest news for 2012 is the addition of Doug Martin to the coaching staff as offensive coordinator. Hopefully, Martin can take the talent that this BC offense most certainly has and turn it into a force to be reckoned with. It doesn't hurt either, that Martin will be able to utilize Montel Harris and Ifeanyi Momah, both of whom have been granted medical hardship waivers and will return to play for BC in the 2012 season. BC football fans have every reason to be hopeful, and every reason to dread the 2012 season.
With all that said, here are my bold predictions, some for BC and some not, for 2012.
1. Luke Kuechly will return to BC- I have no reason to believe that this will be so and expect to be proven wrong just as much as I expect to be proven right. But Luke has been oddly quiet about whether or not he will enter the draft. Both Matt Barkley and Robert Griffin have already announced their intentions. I can understand if Luke is waiting until after the holidays or until after his surgery, but something tells me that the long silence bodes well for BC fans.
2. Spaz and Gene will both still be at BC for 2013- Much to the chagrin of many BC fans, I do believe that Spaz and Gene will both be back at BC for 2013. I think that Spaz will find a way to win at least 6 games this in the 2013 season which will allow Gene to claim that things are getting better and that BC football is back on track. This, in turn, will help save Gene's job and keep him as AD in 2013. I do, however, believe that Gene will rule with less autonomy than in the past. Ticket sales and Flynn Fund donations will both be down next year and I think that will be enough for the powers that be to realize something is wrong in the Athletic Department.
3. Montel Harris will break the ACC rushing record- With the better part of two years to recover and get back into shape, Montel will break the ACC rushing record this year. Although BC has found suitable replacements for Montel at the running back position, and thus he may see less playing time, I do still believe that he will be hungry enough to play again that he will be running through opposing defenses
4. Chase Rettig will become the QB we all think he can be- Chase has shown flashes of brilliance over the two years that he has been the starting quarterback. In this year's Miami game I think we saw what he is capable of. I think that in his junior year Chase emerges as a great quarterback.
5. BC will finish second in the Atlantic Division- Pending a victory over either Clemson or Florida State, either of which I certainly expect to happen in 2012, BC will finish second in the Atlantic Division to whichever of those two teams it doesn't beat.
6. BC will beat Notre Dame- By all rights BC should have won the game this year. In 2012, with the game at home, I think BC pulls out a win. ND has a brewing quarterback controversy, Brian Kelly is not experiencing the success I think he or ND was expecting, and the division on the team between the Kelly recruits and the non- Kelly recruits will become an issues this year, as the latter will be the upperclassmen. BC is also due for a win in this one.
And now for a few non- BC predictions:
7. The Heisman winner will again come from a team not in the national championship- Somewhere out there, right now, is the next Cam Newton, Robert Griffin, or Toby Gerhart... someone who no one has really heard of, but is going to have a break out year in 2012 and make all the difference for his team.
8. An ACC team will make a run at the title- Clemson and Virginia Tech almost backed their way into the title game this year. Next year, I expect an ACC team once again to make a run at the title. My gut says Virginia Tech, but probably only because they've been close for a few years now.
9. The Big East will release West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse- Expect the 27 month waiting period to be waived by the Big East and these teams make the jump to their new conferences.
10. An SEC team will NOT win the national title- For a long time I have said to friends and colleagues that a USC team, at its peak, would be the best challenger for the SEC in the title game. I believe this will be the case in 2012 and USC will win the title over the SEC team.