Much will be made of Boston College attempting to replace Matt Ryan and the rest of the talented group of seniors that graduated after last year's stunning campaign.
The 2008 addition of the Eagles may not be as critically acclaimed, but they should keep the team competitive in a wide-open ACC.
Many people think the Eagles will struggle offensively with the loss of Matt Ryan, but I think Steve Logan still has a lot of offensive weapons to exploit for a strong spread attack.
All but one receiver return from last season, and top recruited tailback Josh Haden should be a big addition to the team. The running game is the weak link in the offense and will need to develop quickly for the Eagles to have a strong year.
The defense will be strong in the front seven with Brian Toal and B.J. Rajii added to the mix this season. Jamie Silva and DeJuan Tribble leave big holes to replace in the secondary.
Look for the Eagles to have a dominating run defense that should keep them in a lot of games.
I'm breaking the season down into three parts and examining each separately from the others.
Part One: Transition Period
@ Kent State - W
Georgia Tech - W
UCF - W
Rhode Island - W
With all the new position players, the Eagles will happy to find that the softest part of their schedule falls within the first four weeks of their season.
Kent State shouldn't be a problem for Boston College, as they were one of the worst teams in Division I-A football last year at just 3-9 overall.
The Yellow Jackets do not have a strong offensive attack and will be implementing a whole new system. They should be struggling in Week Two, and the Eagles should capitalize.
UCF doesn't have a very powerful offense and should have trouble in Chestnut Hill without All-Everything tailback Kevin Smith.
Rhode Island: Division I-AA opponent, Parents' Weekend—need I say more?
Part Two: When the Going Gets Tough
@ NC State - W
Virginia Tech - W
@ UNC - L
Clemson - L
O'Brien Bowl Part II makes its first appearance in North Carolina. O'Brien is trying to turn around a Wolfpack team that was near the basement in last year's ACC. The Eagles should prevail in this one and keep their season going.
I believe the Eagles will steal one game between their two games against VT and Clemson. I think Clemson's strong offensive attack will be too much for a weaker Eagles' secondary.
Virginia Tech is depleted on the offensive side of the ball and also lost Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi at the linebacker position. These two teams could end up starting a nice little rivalry, and another Boston College victory would go a long way towards that end.
The Tar Heels should be a very improved team this year, making it a tough visit for the Eagles in Chapel Hill. Two losses in a row will be tough for the Eagles, but at 6-2 at this point in the season, they would have to be enthused.
Part Three: Let's Go Bowling
Notre Dame - W
@ Florida State - W
@ Wake Forest - L
Maryland - W
The Holy War continues with Boston College taking down Notre Dame yet again. Notre Dame should be improved this year, but improving upon last year's campaign should be a pretty easy task.
The Eagles' weakest defensive unit is their secondary, but if they can pressure the quarterback and dominate the Irish's weak offensive line, the Eagles should escape with a win.
The Eagles should beat the Seminoles for their quality road win of the season. It will be a low-scoring affair, but I expect Steve Logan to craft an attack that uses the Seminoles' aggressiveness against them. The 'Noles broke up their dream season last year, and payback will be on the minds of all the Eagles players.
Wake Forest should have a strong team this year led by Riley Skinner at quarterback. Running back Josh Adams will provide a balanced attack that the Eagles just won't be able to handle.
The Eagles should finish up their season with a home win against Maryland. Maryland lost Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball, so their running attack should struggle to find legs this year. Look for the Eagles to dominate them defensively.
That leaves the Eagles at a very respectable 9-3 for the season, but it could easily be 8-4. That should land the Eagles in either the Champs Sports Bowl that they played in last year or something to the effect of the Emerald Bowl.
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