It's that time of the year again. Time for Jeff and I to put together our baseless 2011 predictions. Last season, both Jeff and I were both drinking the maroon Kool-Aid, predicting a 10-2 regular season for the Eagles. Yeah, about that.
A new season kicks off on Saturday and a new set of 2011 predictions. Here is how we see September playing out. Official prediction time.
September 3: Northwestern
Brian: With or without the services of projected starting defensive backs (LeGrande, Okoroha) and preseason ACC player of the year Montel Harris, I still think the Eagles match up really well with Northwestern. I think Andre Williams, Deuce Finch and Tahj Kimble have a career running back-by-committee day and make quick work of the 'Cats porous rush defense. The line plays well and Rettig does just enough to win as he continues to learn a new offensive scheme. The defense anchored by Kuechly and the LB corps keeps a less-than-100% Persa in check for most of the game and the Eagles win a relatively low scoring affair 20-13.
Jeff: There is a lot of change in store for the Eagles compared to last season. The emotional leader, Mark Herzlich is gone. Montel Harris will not be playing. Damik Scafe, who was the only consistant player since the departure of Raji and Brace on the defensive line, has graduated. The offensive line is completely changed. The secondary is now completely changed due to recent departures. Yet, we have a quarterback who by all accounts showed improvements since last season's bowl game and a new offensive coordinator which leave us rather optimistic. Northwestern will be a good test for BC to start the season. Northwestern is getting at least some attention from the preseason polls and is a dark horse to compete in the new Big Ten. Despite our losses, since it is a home game and with Persa not being 100% yet, I expect BC to come out on top Saturday. Boston College 22, Northwestern 17.
September 10: at Central Florida
Jeff: This might be the best non-Notre Dame, nonconference program we've played on the road in several seasons. Injuries could end up playing a factor in this game as I would imagine Spaz would be conservative with anyone like Montel Harris and hold them out one more game to wait for conference play to start rather than putting everything on the line to win the game in Orlando. UCF finished in the top 25 last season and despite returning their stellar freshman QB, the team lost enough in players and coaches combined that I do not expect them to finish the season ranked this year. Regardless of that, it will be a tough test on the road but not too tough for BC even without Montel Harris. I'll say BC wins 19-17.
Brian: I am worried about Jeff Godfrey and the Knights offense, but the Eagles' defense has had a ton of success bottling up quarterbacks cut from the same mold. I also think Central Florida has enough questions on the defensive side of the ball that the Eagles' offense will have a pretty good night down in Orlando. Look for Rettig to continue to progress and the Eagles rushing game -- Andre Williams, Montel Harris if he's back -- to have a big game. N.C. State went into Orlando last year and knocked off the Knights despite a furious fourth quarter comeback attempt by Godfrey. Eagles get the victory here to move to 2-0 on the year, and are feeling good heading into the (only) soft spot on this year's sched.
September 17: Duke
Brian: Much like Northwestern, I think BC matches up well with Duke. It's strength-on-strength and weakness-on-weakness, as the high-scoring Blue Devils offense goes up against the Eagles stout defense (and the Devils non-existent defense tries to stop the ACC's worst offense in 2010). Last year's game at Duke wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicated, and I think BC will bottle up Renfree, Connette and the Duke offense quite nicely. Last season, Duke gave us a bit of a scare at Wallace Wade, but I doubt that the Blue Devils can pull off the upset on the road this season. BC wins 30-13.
Jeff: I like BC in this game for sure just like you do. BC will have an easier time with Duke at home this season but I wouldn't go so far as to say that Duke's offense won't have any success. I think with some of the recent developments in our secondary, Renfree might be able to move the ball against us. If Renfree is the best QB in the league as many think he is, then there is no doubt that he will at least have some success. Meanwhile though, our offense should have a lot more success than last season. Duke does not have the personnel on defense to stop competent offenses in the ACC and BC should be able to show that their offense is competent this season in this game.
September 24: UMass
Jeff: I don't know anything about UMass but I know BC will win this game by 30. 36-6.
Brian: Quality analysis there. I will say that UMass is not your typical I-AA body bag, and I have a lot of respect for the program and wish them well as they make the transition to I-A ball and the MAC. That said, this is the one game on this year's sched I am least worried about. I think the Eagles offense has a big, big first half and cruise to a comfortable victory over the Minutemen. BC is 4-0 heading into October and getting some Top 25 love.