Q: What do you get when your program returns double digit starters, won 8 games last season, plays in a BCS conference and has a favorable 2010 schedule?
A: Three of five of SI's Stewart Mandel's BCS Sleepers in 2010. One of those five sleepers just happens to be Boston College:
Five other ACC teams appear in the preseason rankings. Fortunately for the Eagles, four of them (Virginia Tech, Miami, Georgia Tech and UNC) play in the opposite division and only two of them (Virginia Tech and Florida State) appear on BC's regular-season schedule. That alone gives Frank Spaziani's team an auspicious path to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte, at which point an upset is certainly possible.
Mandel is one of the few preseason college football prognosticators that thinks to check the schedule. BC might not have the most talent in the ACC Atlantic Division, but the schedule is smooth sailing compared to last season -- where the Eagles still managed to win 8 games. Florida State and Clemson, in particular, have much tougher roads this season. Plus, even with all the injuries coming out of camp, this Eagles team is arguably more talented and much more experienced than it was going into the 2009 season.
If BC can get to the 9-10 win mark and beats the right teams, they could easily find themselves in their third ACC Championship Game in four seasons.