MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 25: Rolandan Finch #28 of the Boston College Eagles rushes during a game against the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium on November 25, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Jeff: The 2012 football season finally gets underway tomorrow. In some ways, a new season brings hope but in other ways, no matter what happens, it is really just preparation for the 2013 season when this current group of juniors become seniors. With a win against Miami tomorrow it will certainly be much more hopeful.
Last season was a struggle for the team. They were eliminated from bowl eligibility before their second conference win and they struggled to score points. The defense gave up quite a few points but that was largely attributed to the fact that the offense kept putting them back on the field and in tough spots. Despite the struggles, Luke Kuechly managed to turn in an incredible season individually and cash in by becoming a top ten NFL draft pick. With such a talented player leaving early for the NFL the concern heading into this season would seemingly be the defense. But, with a new offensive coordinator and given the offensive struggles we have had during Spaz's tenure, all the focus is on the offense and it feel like this team will be as good or bad as the offense is and the defense will do it's part.
Are you in the majority here and worried more about the offense than the defense? What do you hope to see from the offense tomorrow in terms of point production and ball control?
Brian: I may be in the minority here, but I'm 100x more worried about the defense than I am the offense. On offense, I like Rettig and I have hope that Doug Martin can help turn around a unit that has been dreadful the last two seasons. BC has a stable of capable running backs at its disposal and the offensive line, while arguably not as talented as last year's group, does have a newfound consistency that should pay off earlier this season than it did last season. Injuries to Chris Pantale and Bobby Swigert hurt -- without question -- but I'm optimistic that Martin can scheme around those missing pieces and get the most out of the players who will see the field tomorrow. The biggest reason why I'm not worried about the offense is it really can't get much worse than the last two seasons.
I'm not expecting more in terms of point production from the offense. My guess is it will be another 20-30 point performance consistent with the last two year's output.
The defense is a whole different story. In the middle, I've very concerned that the linebacking corps won't be able to replicate Luke Kuechly's ability to cover up the deficiencies of both the front four and the defensive backs. I'm sure KPL and Clancy will help to replace Kuechly's production, but #40 did much more than simply rack up a ridiculous number of tackles.
The front four generated little to no pressure on opposing QBs last season, registering something absurd like 11 sacks all season. A program should be able to luck into more sacks over a 12 game season. Sure, the Eagles get Kaleb Ramsey back from injury, but they have to replace Max Holloway at end with a relatively unproven sophomore (Brian Mihalik) while the right of the line is the same as it was to end last season (Quinn-Edebali). Unless Spaz and McGovern are implementing new schemes for this season, I don't see where the improvement is going to come up front.
Finally, the situation in the defensive backfield borders between question and potential disaster. BC will have to replace both Donnie Fletcher and Hampton Hughes in last year's starting secondary and turns to an unproven number of sophomores to do so. The injury to ALJ doesn't help matters. Spaz's bend-but-don't-break scheme could easily fall apart if the DBs don't step up their game early on.
Brian: Valencia crushes BC hoops 93-66, but you have to be encouraged by Clifford's performance, leading the team with 15 and 8, right?
Jeff: Clifford should be very good this season.
Jeff: TOB says he is trying to beat Tennessee for the ACC in addition to his own school. Are you glad to hear he gets it?
Brian: Sure. Now it's time to execute. No WTF losses.
Brian: Thursday night's UConn-UMass opener had an announced attendance of 35,270. Will more people show up to BC's season opener against Miami?
Jeff: Good question. Announced attendance definitely.
Jeff: Do you feel better about our chances tomorrow knowing Heather Dinich picked us to lose?
Brian: I am no more or less confident in BC's ability to W based on HD's prediction.
Brian: New York Giants Mathias Kiwanuka makes a jab at Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. You like this?
Jeff: Kiwi is speaking the truth, recognizing the Giants have a target on their back.
Jeff: BCDraft picked tomorrow as the game of the year over Notre Dame and the rest. Agree?
Brian: If tomorrow is as exciting as this season gets, we are in for a loooooong season.
Brian: Last one. BC football is back. Tomorrow. Who ya got? What's the final score?
Jeff: BC wins 20-13.
Miami Hurricanes at Boston College Eagles (+2.5)
Tennessee Volunteers vs. N.C. State Wolfpack (+3)
Boise St. Broncos at Michigan St. Spartans (-7)
Fla. International Golden Panthers at Duke Blue Devils (-2.5)
Western Michigan Broncos at Illinois Fighting Illini (-10)
Tennessee Volunteers (-3) vs. N.C. State Wolfpack
Ohio Bobcats at Penn St. Nittany Lions (-6.5)
Northwestern Wildcats (PK) at Syracuse Orange
Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Ohio St. Buckeyes (-24.5)
Southern Miss. Golden Eagles (+20.5) at Nebraska Cornhuskers