BC's football world is not very big
Whenever someone starts worrying about BC's football future or how quickly we will rebound post-Spaz, I like to remind them that BC's football world is not very big. We are not competing against 120 FBS schools. We are not competing in the SEC or Big Ten. Our competition is Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Maryland, Wake Forest and now Syracuse. Finish with a better record than those six schools and you go to the ACC Championship. It is that simple. If you are going by history, BC is as strong as all the other programs outside of Florida State. Now this doesn't mean that we can just send out any old team and win the division. It does mean that with the right coach and the right talent BC can compete to win this division every year. Now let's look at the short-term horizon for each school.
Sleeping Giants: Clemson, Florida State and NC State
Due to their size, commitment to facilities, location and recruiting appeal, Clemson, Florida State and NC State all have potential to be great programs. When their programs are clicking they should be better than BC. But the reality is that there will rarely be a year when all three are peaking at the same time. In good years, BC will probably only compete with one to win the division. And the good news is that all three have major questions that they will have to answer in the next few seasons. NC State will have to replace TOB. Will they hire someone as good? FSU seems headed in the right direction. If Fisher's recruiting translates to wins, the giant will no longer be sleeping. But Fisher has yet to prove he can reach Bowden like levels of success. He will be given another year or two to win. If he doesn't, change will come. I don't think FSU will stay mediocre forever. They just have too much going for them. But I don't know if Fisher is the guy to make them great. Clemson is also another Jekyll and Hyde program. I've questioned Swinney from Day 1, yet he just won the conference. And he is a relentless recruiter. But as the Orange Bowl showed, Xs and Os are still an issue. I also wonder how he will do when he keeps having to replace coordinators. I love Clemson's potential. Like Florida State, they shouldn't be down for long, but if they keep Swinney as long as they kept Tommy Bowden, I think we can count on them being inconsistent.
Programs we can handle: Syracuse and Maryland
There is still time for Randy Edsall to turn things around, but based on his disastrous first season with the Terps, I don't think they will be an obstacle for Spaz or his successor. Syracuse still has a long way to go too. But regardless of how good their current coaches are, neither Maryland nor Syracuse should ever be dramatically better than BC on an annual basis.
Program that should revert to the basement: Wake Forest
Jim Grobe is five years younger than Spaz so he has plenty of time ahead. But how long will he hang around and how long can he produce like he has? Also, will Wake ever find a good replacement when he does leave? They are a private school with smaller natural recruiting footprint and the play in a small, off campus stadium. I think life after Grobe will be tough.
I know we will play Virginia Tech every year and other ACC teams. But those should not be BC's focus. We just have to be better than the six schools in our division and the rest will one day fall in place. I am not blind to BC's issue nor do I think any new coach can come in and compete for an National Championship in Year 1. However, if you really look at things, BC can and should be able to compete within the division every year.