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HD's Preseason Predictions and the Big Finish

Brian: ESPN’s ACC blogger HD has her three predictions for the Eagles in 2009. Namely,
  1. Dave Shinskie will be a better quarterback than people think.
  2. The Eagles’ running game will flourish behind one of the best offensive lines in the conference.
  3. The losses up front and in the linebacking corps will be too much to overcome.

Care to pick apart any of these statements?

Jeff: As usual HD's statements are vague so that we can never truly say "I told you so!" at the end of the season.

First, I agree with her that Shinskie will be the guy and will be a decent ACC quarterback. Tuggle and Boek had their chances to be "the man" but in all likelihood that time has passed.

Secondly, we know our backs are young and pretty good and our O-line is almost becoming overrated now after being very good for over a decade.

But to her third point, will the losses on defense be too much for the team to overcome and win ANY conference games? Will it be too much to overcome and win the Atlantic Division again? Will it be too much to overcome and be the 5th best defense in the country? What does she mean?

If she means that we won't be the 5th best defense in the nation again, well, duh!!! ...

If she means we won't win the division again, then she is just joining the crowd of Boston College football naysayers ...

But if she thinks that's the reason we won't go to a bowl game or won't win a bunch of games, she is very, very far from being right. BC went without B.J. Raji in 2007 and did fine. We've dealt with Toal's extensive injury problems over the last several years and have been fine. Good players graduate and move onto the NFL. BC has had good players leave before and we have rebounded, and they will again this year. It's just as simple as that.

The quarterback position is somewhat questionable but the running backs should be the best we've had in a since Derrick Knight and William Green. The linebacking corps has injury issues but the secondary will be the best it has been in years. The defensive tackles won't be as good but the defensive ends will be much improved. The only thing that might be too much to overcome in 2009 is HD's terrible predictions when she hopes to keep her job.

Brian: Whoa. Settle down there. Well I don't think HD has to worry about job security by making a uninformed season preview of Boston College, because it seems every college football prognosticator (with the exception of Phil Steele, who thinks we'll finish 3rd in the Atlantic) has made a similar assessment. Safety in numbers I guess.

The only thing you said that I will slightly disagree with is your assessment of the secondary. Our defense led the country in interceptions last season. I think this was largely due to the strength of our line (particularly Raji and Brace in the middle) and our linebacking corps of McLaughlin, Herzlich and Akins putting pressure on the opposing QB. While I have great faith in the secondary this season, I wouldn't expect a better performance than last season's performance given that we've lost a lot of talent in front of them.

Also, the running game will be strong, but this is predicated on having a capable quarterback under center than can move the ball through the air. As you mentioned, this remains to be seen whether we have such a capable signal caller.

Big Finish

Brian: The ACC announced game times and networks for the 2009 Big Ten/ACC Challenge. BC will travel to Crisler Arena and play Michigan on Wednesday night, December 2 at 7:30pm on ESPN2. Do you like the time slot and network selection, or are you disappointed because you’ll be attending the Illinois at Clemson game that night starting at 7:15?

Jeff: That sounds like a perfect two TV setup night. BC can't complain about being on the Deuce when playing Michigan in basketball.

Jeff: BC and the ACC also announced that Matt Tennant and Jim Ramella will represent the Eagles at this year’s ACC Football Kickoff weekend. That cool with you?

Brian: You bet. It’s a great honor for the seniors and is a testament to the offensive and defensive line talent our school consistently produces.

Brian: Pittsburgh Penguin Brooks Orpik is bringing the Stanley Cup to Boston College. If you had one day with the most famous trophy in sports, where would you take it?

Jeff: If I were a well-known alumni, I'd take it to the Heights, but since I'm not, I don't know. I might have to go to South Beach and drink out of it all night.

Jeff: The Carolina Hurricanes agreed to terms with ex-Eagle Andrew Alberts. With all the recent player movement of various Eagles in the NHL, who has the best chances to hoist the Stanley Cup this season?

Brian: You have to still like Orpik's chances with Pittsburgh, but Patrick Eaves and Andrew Alberts have a good shot in Carolina.

Brian: Last season, the Eagles finished dead last in offensive turnover rates, turning the ball over 26 times on 637 offensive plays. Will we see any improvement in that category this season?

Jeff: Yes, even if for no other reason than that we go to more conservative play calling with Logan gone.

Jeff: HD thinks we have the 5th best running back corps in the league. Objections?

Brian: Considering that Montel Harris had nearly as many rushing yards and TDs last season as Miami's Graig Cooper and Javarris James combined, I am surprised to see Miami (Fla.) ranked ahead of BC. Georgia Tech shouldn't even be ranked (their entire offense is rushing!) and Clemson at #8? I thought C.J. Spiller was a darkhorse Heisman candidate?

Brian: Last one, Matt Ryan indeed won the ESPY for Breakthrough Athlete (the ESPY’s will be aired on Sunday). I believe you had this one right. Time to gloat. Have at it.

Jeff: No need. That one was too easy.