Dec. 30 MVP: MassVarsity Pre-and-Post

It is not too much to ask.

As Jeff Hafley leaves his post as a co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State and begins his tenure as the Boston College head coach, he is not expected to immediately take the Eagles to the College Football Playoff.

According to athletic director Martin Jarmond, it appears the Eagles simply want, at least in the short term, to be a regular in the top 25.

That is both manageable and doable, and something Hafley can deliver.

Right now, if you look across the landscape of the Atlantic Coast Conference, it is ripe for another team to enter as a consistent contender to Clemson. No one is saying that Boston College can instantly become a team that can knock the Tigers off their perch. That would take several years of elite recruiting to close that gap.

But Hafley can immediately take what he has in Chestnut Hill and put the Eagles in a spot to be that next best team. Look around that Atlantic Division and it is wide open for someone else to emerge. After Clemson, you have teams like NC State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Florida State and Louisville either all in rebuilding mode or playing at a level that is equal to or barely above BC's.

To rise above that group is all that Jarmond seems to be asking of Hafley. And, if you look at those schools, there is not one that BC has not beaten in recent years. If Hafley can simply bring the Eagles to a place where they are better than those teams on a consistent basis, you are looking at a top 25 team.

When BC built the Fish Field House, the Eagles made an over $52 million commitment to take its football program to the next level. The caliber of recruit that that facility has helped bring in is significant. BC is not in a spot where it will take a backseat as far as hopes and dreams for its football program are concerned.

Jarmond has clear ambitions for the Eagles. And it appears Hafley does not shy away from them. Talent-wise, we expect BC to only get better, and last year the Eagles had four players drafted.

That Eagles team made a couple forays into the top 25. It is possible, even with the players they are losing at the end of this season, to do so again in 2020.

At the end of the day, it will come down to BC winning the games it is supposed to, especially the ones that could go either way.

You look at the six Eagles losses this fall, and there was ample opportunity for improvement. Sure, there were defeats to Notre Dame and Clemson. But Kansas, Wake Forest, Louisville, and Florida State were all games that — at the beginning of the year — did not seem all that daunting. You turn those losses into wins, and BC is definitely ranked in the top 25.

If that, initially, is what Jarmond wants from a Hafley-coached BC team, then it is a smart hurdle to put in front of the new coach. This is a realistic benchmark for a program that seems to be getting a lot of things right.

Perhaps the best part of Jarmond's goal is that it does not feel too tall an order. Steve Addazio did a good job of steadying the ship and getting the program back to respectability. However, he simply could not get the team to that next level, and the number of wins leveled off at seven every year.

Now, Hafley seems like the right guy to kick the door down. No, he does not have any head coaching experience, but his defensive acumen and energetic personality seem to make the best fit.

Jarmond and Hafley want the same thing, and BC has everything in place to be that ranked team on an annual basis. Don't be surprised to see the Eagles find that groove sooner rather than later.

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