Head Coach Steve Addazio and the Boston College football program start their 2017 season on Friday September 1st when they go on the road to play against Northern Illinois. On paper this may seem like an average out of conference football game between two struggling programs but for Boston College this game and this season are of immense importance. New Athletic Director Martin Jarmond comes to BC from Ohio State and he has inherited an athletic department with football and basketball programs that have not been relevant in years. Dismal conference performance in both sports along with huge declines in attendance will force Jarmond to make drastic changes if things do not improve this coming season. It was Coach Addazio himself who said it would take five years to turn things around at BC and as he enters his fifth season leading the program fans are still wondering if he will be able to follow through on his plan. This first game against a decent Northern Illinois team that won four of its last five games in 2016 will show if Addazio has recruited the type of players that can compete in the ACC or if they are just another version of last year’s BC team that could play against weaker teams but were no match for highly ranked teams such as Clemson, Florida State and Louisville. After the Northern Illinois game BC will face Wake Forest at home and will then play Notre Dame at home and Clemson on the road. How BC fares in these first four games will likely determine Addazio’s future at the Heights. Should he go 1-3 or 0-4 in these first four games Jarmond will have to start considering what is best for the program in the long term. Even if BC goes 2-2 with losses against Notre Dame and Clemson fans will still be complaining that no progress has been made under Addazio in his five years leading the program. Beating Northern Illinois and Wake Forest are critical but winning against Notre Dame or Clemson (or even just being competitive in these games) will be the only way to show Jarmond and the BC fans that actual progress is being made. Jarmond is a young and motivated Athletic Director who will not sit by and watch his football program be irrelevant with an apathetic fan base. The month of September will go a long way to determining who will lead the Boston College football program into the future.