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Athlon Sports College Football Preview - Eagles at #42

NCAA Football: Louisville at Boston College Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The next major college football pre-season publication landed a couple of weeks ago, Athlon Sports, one of the recognized leaders in this space and they have Boston College picked for #42 in the country at 7-5 and in a four way tie for second in the ACC Atlantic at 4-4.

You may recall a few weeks earlier, ESPN FPI had BC at 54, which I felt was low, but this 42 number feels right in line with my personal assessment.

That said, it’s a crowded field both in the conference and nationally that the Eagles are jockeying for position with. Missouri at 34, NC State at 38, Virginia Tech at 40, Pittsburgh at 41, Florida State at 43, Louisville at 45 and Wake Forest at 46 are all circling BC’s ranking nationally, meaning that the toss up games are likely to define the outcome of the Eagle season.

I know when I wrote the ESPN FPI story, I mentioned feeling that mid 40s ranking about right and many disagreed, thinking BC deserved better. In the Athlon mag, they quote opposing league coaches on every team, the quote on BC summarized just how I got to my conclusion (and yes, I got to it before Athlon came out!).

It’s not going to show up in the win column just yet, but this is a team in our conference that is secretly building, at least in terms of media attention. If you pay attention as a coach, you can see they are doing some really smart stuff. Schematically, they’re night and day better with this staff than the previous one, especially on defense. They’re recruiting the entire country right now and pushing hard in private and Catholic schools. They have a unique pitch we’ve heard about, where they’re looking to push the NFL experience for players, boasting about the NFL experience on the staff. I bet Notre Dame wishes they had that quarterback (Phil Jurkovec) back, though.

Not a disagreement there. This is the good stuff, the up and to the right trend line that should have us all excited. Then though, a bit of current day reality.

Right now, they’re still below average overall in talent. They’re poor in terms of ability on defense, but he’s just starting to get there. They need to fit the defensive scheme better, recruit better overall talent and I think they probably want to balance the run/pass a bit more, but they just went heavier with Phil because he can make those throws.

Athlon rates the Eagles running backs last in the conference and the three defensive tiers at #9 for the d-line, #13 for the linebackers and #9 for defensive backs and yes, this does include Jaiden Lars-Woodbey.

This is going all the right direction, but based on what the Eagles bring defensively, which when you recap 2020, was a very pleasant surprise in comparison to 2019 and what was on the roster that could deliver it, BC still has at one more year, with all that young talent, before we start assessing where this program could get to.