'Nole Perspective: Early Look At Boston College Eagles Football 2011

Let's take a look at Boston College football in 2011.  I hope you have been using the convenient links on the left side of the home page that guide you to many excellent previews.  

Why Boston College?  BC is one of the first teams for which the major preview links have finished their look.  Have a look at their take and then read my brief take.

2011 Season Preview: The Boston College Eagles And The Excitement Gap - SBNation.com
A look at the 2011 Boston College Eagles football team. Since their last losing season in 1998, Boston College has produced wins, draft picks, loyalty, human interest stories, more wins, more draft picks and a fantastic, frosted cereal. They've also fought failing attendance and some serious offensive doldrums. With a host of precocious sophomores, is 2011 the year the turn into something more than a steady, eight-game winner?

Below is a small handful of projection and change factors most pertinent to the Football Outsiders' preseason projections you will find in this summer's Football Outsiders Almanac 2011.

Four-Year F/+ Rk 33
Five-Year Recruiting Rk 47
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin**** +8 / +3.0
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 15 (8, 7)
Yds/Pt Margin***** +0.4

B.C. needed quite a bit of fumbles luck to produce a good turnover margin, and ... really, this just wasn't a very good team last year. In terms of Def. F/+, the Boston College defense has improved, at least slightly, in each of the last three years. Unfortunately, the offense has regressed at a steeper rate than the defense has progressed. It is easy to see the steady fall as a sign that Frank Spaziani fits into the "A great assistant coach who, when promoted to head coach, proved himself to be a great assistant coach" model, and who knows, you might not be wrong. We'll begin to find out this year, with a new hand leading the offense. If Kevin Rogers can breathe some life into a dying offense, then things could rather quickly turn around. The offense doesn't have to be good; it just has to be average for B.C. to succeed.

If B.C. is to come up with yet another winning season and/or threaten for a surprise division crown, a fast start is mandatory. They face a tricky trip to Central Florida in the second week of the season, but four extremely winnable home games (Northwestern, Duke, UMass, Wake Forest) should supplement, at worst, a 4-1 start. Anything less, and six wins becomes an awfully difficult task. The Eagles have a three-game road trip to Clemson, Virginia Tech and Maryland (ouch) in October, host Florida State and N.C. State, then finish at Notre Dame and at Miami. That's brutal.

One way or another, this is going to be a telling season in Chestnut Hill. The offense should be better, the defense should be good, and the schedule gives Chase Rettig, Bobby Swigert, Alex Amidon, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Kasim Edebali and the other precocious sophomores a chance to get their bearings early on. The future may be bright (or, as bright as Boston College's future can be), but Spaziani needs to have a good season to keep the vultures from swirling.

This is the sort of excellent work I have come to expect from Bill.  Please make sure to click the link to see the breakdown of the offense and the defense.  It is well worth your time.

Now we turn to our friend Paul Myerberg of PreSnapRead.com

Pre-Snap Read: #62- Boston College

I have my concerns. One is this offense, which has a new coordinator but might not experience immediate success. There’s no questioning the fact that Rogers stands as a massive upgrade over his predecessor, if only because he cannot possibly be any worse; still, Boston College will go through a sizable change in philosophy after three years of being extremely vanilla offensively. Much depends on how much improvement we’ll see from Rettig, the sophomore quarterback who scuffled – with a few bright spots – through a true freshman season. But there are pieces in place to be better, thanks to two strong backs and a deep receiver corps, and even with one big loss up front the line shouldn’t take a massive step back. Even if the offense continues to be one of the A.C.C.’s worst, the defense is there to carry the team to bowl play. There’s Kuechly, who is terrific, as well as a handful of blossoming underclassmen dotting the defensive line and the secondary. So what’s the problem? My biggest worry is with the face of the program: I’m not sure if Spaziani is up to the challenge of leading B.C. back to the forefront of the Atlantic division. A second worry: this schedule. The Eagles must start at least 4-1 if they plan on keeping this bowl streak alive, as the slate from Clemson on is extremely difficult. I think B.C. can do just that, but I don’t think this is much better than a .500 team. Is the university satisfied with more mediocrity? Spaziani’s job seems safe, but I think B.C. is capable of doing more.

Like with Bill's take above, please click the link to read Paul's hopes and concerns.

My take:

BC is playing some ridiculous defense just about every season, but the offense continues to slide.  I think the defense will take a slight step back this season, but I suspect the offense will improve more than the defense regresses thanks to a second-year quarterback and the new offensive coordinator. That trendline should scare Eagle fans as BC continues to regress.  'Noles are not particularly concerned with BC's ability to make a bowl against a difficult schedule, but rather with FSU's ability to win a tough game on a Thursday night in Boston off short rest.

BC's offense still doesn't scare me.  FSU allowed over 40% of BC's yards last season on two run plays on consecutive drives in which FSU misdiagnosed a tight end as a receiver in the coaching booth (had him mislabeled on the sheet), and thus aligned in such a way as to give BC an enormous gap through which they ran.  FSU realized its error and dominated after that.  And in fairness to FSU, BC had been using him flexed out for much of the year, so he did look like a receiver with his slight build.

And after examining many a box score from BC games, there remains a universal truth: you will not blow out the eagles without having a big edge in the turnover battle.  That defense is way too conservative and too good to blow out unless FSU's defense gives its offense short fields.  That didn't happen last year as the 'Noles failed to force a single turnover.  

For the record, I see BC going 6-6 (4-4 in conference), though I see that 6-6 record coming from a 4-1 start and a 2-5 finish down the stretch.  That won't make folks in Chestnut Hill happy.

Game-By-Game Projection

0.73 NWST
0.5 at UCF
0.9 Duke
0.999 Umass
0.9 WF
0.23 at CU
0.18 at VT
0.38 at MD
0.28 FSU
0.5 NCSU
0.18 at ND
0.3 at UM

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