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Breaking Down the Preseason Predictions and Big Finish

Brian: May is an absolute dead period for college football, so there’s not much to talk about other than to dissect college football prognosticator’s preseason predictions. One such prognosticator, the AJC’s Mr. College Football Tony Barnhardt, predicts the Eagles will finish third in the Atlantic, behind both Florida State and Clemson:

What we learned: We are not going to bet against Mark Herzlich. Herzlich was the ACC defensive player of the year in 2008 but missed the entire 2009 season while he underwent treatments for bone cancer. This time last year the discussion was about Herzlich’s survival, not if he had a football future. He returned to practice on a limited basis (no contact) this spring. "We let Mark do what he could," said coach Frank Spaziani. "He’s certainly nowhere near ready to play, but it’s remarkable to see him where he’s at right now." Herzlich had a titanium rod inserted in one leg. If Herzlich comes back anywhere near his previous level, BC will have two of the best linebackers in the country. Freshman Luke Kuechly took Herzlich’s position last season and was the league’s defensive rookie of the year.

What we still don’t know: Will QB Dave Shinskie take another step forward? Shinskie, a former minor league baseball player, was pressed into service as a freshman last season and responded by throwing 2,049 yards and 15 touchdowns in 10 starts. Shinskie turned 26 years old on May 4 and so mentally, he’s not a sophomore. We still don’t know if BC will be able to find some help for running back Montel Harris, who ran for 1,457 yards as a sophomore. His 308 carries in 13 games was more than any back in the ACC. Only two players in Division I-A football—Toby Gerhart of Stanford (343) and Dion Lewis of Pittsburgh (325)—had more carries last season than Harris.

We’ve certainly been here before. It wouldn’t be May if Florida State wasn’t AGAIN the favorite to win the Atlantic Division. In fact, FSU has been selected in all but one of the five preseason ACC coaches polls since the league expanded to 12 teams. Are you comfortable with a middle-of-the-pack prediction from Barnhardt, or should the Eagles be ranked higher going into the summer?

Jeff: At the end of last year I really thought that we would be the team to beat this season in the Atlantic. Florida State lost more talent than we did. While they do replace talent quickly down in Tallahassee, we still beat them last season. Clemson lost all their offense in my opinion when C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford left. Ford never put up huge numbers but his presence on the field changed things. Spiller also made everyone on the field better and put up big numbers at the same time. And if their spring game is any indication, Clemson's offense will struggle this season.

As for BC though, unfortunately none of our questions at the end of last season have been answered. Will Shinskie really improve this off-season? Will someone step up to fill the void at receiver? Will Herzlich be back to form? Who will give the Eagles more backfield depth and compliment Montel Harris?

At the end of last season we thought we'd have answers to at least one of these questions by the spring game. Unfortunately, we've answered none of them. So, we have given sports writers the opportunity to pick us below where we probably deserve to be in the Atlantic Division standings.


Big Finish

Brian: Seven ACC men’s basketball teams are ranked among the nation’s top 25 recruiting classes for 2010, yet BC has yet to sign a recruit. The deck seems to be pretty stacked against Steve Donahue next year, no?

Jeff: BC has never been heavily dependent on freshman but going two straight years without a frosh coming in is a problem.


Jeff: Kelly Henderson, co-captain of the women's soccer team, and Ben Smith, co-captain of the men's hockey team were named this year's Eagle of the Year at today's BC All-Sports Banquet. That cool with you?

Brian: Absolutely. Women's soccer won a share of this year's ACC regular season title and two National Championships in four years isn't too shabby either.


Brian: HD has tabbed the Pack as her early ACC darkhorse pick, rationalizing that "Coach O’Brien is due." Your thoughts?

Jeff: He is due for winning or getting the ax unfortunately.


Jeff: Al Skinner, Mo Cassara, Bill Coen or Ed Cooley. Who wins the most games as a HC next season? Who makes the Dance?


Brian: My guess is Skinner won't coach next year, Cooley wins the most games with Fairfield and both Cooley and Cassara get to the Dance. 


Brian: This link is a bit old, but BC and Holy Cross will renew their basketball rivalry next season, with 2 games being played at Conte and the middle of the games being played at the DCU Center. Like the move?

Jeff: Should be longer than a 3 year agreement.


Jeff: With the basketball team roster getting slimmer and slimmer, is it too late for me to apply to grad school and tryout for the team?

Brian: Sorry dude. I'm pretty sure you if you don't use it (your eligibility while in school), you lose it.


Brian: Last one, the Eagles baseball team took game 1 of their three game set with division-leading Florida State. Can BC get back on track and win the series?

Jeff: I can't believe the Eagles didn't do better last weekend. Winning one of two isn't too much to ask, especially with Pat Dean on the hill tomorrow.