Boston College is making a long trip to Foxborough, Massachusetts to open up the 2014 season by visiting the Massachusetts Minutemen at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. Boston College is coming off one of the school's biggest single season turnarounds in program history -- from 2-10 to 7-6 -- while UMass has posted consecutive 1-11 seasons in their first two years as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision.
UMass will be breaking in a "new" head coach in Mark Whipple, who returns to the program after spending a decade as an position coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Hurricanes and Cleveland Browns. Whipple previously served as head coach of the Minutemen from 1998-2003, winning the I-AA National Championship in his first year at the helm.
On the other side, Steve Addazio begins his second year at the helm of the Eagles after finishing last season with an overall record of 7-6 and 4-4 in the ACC. Despite the losses of several key contributors on both sides of the ball, Superfans hope that another offseason under defensive coordinator Don Brown will lead to better execution of his pressure defense sets. BC struggled to defend the forward pass in Brown's first year -- ranking 113th against the pass -- and were a far cry from the defensive units Brown turned around at his previous two stops, Maryland and Connecticut.
Both teams will be breaking in new-look offenses, with graduate transfer Tyler Murphy getting the start at quarterback at BC and Marshall transfer Blake Frohnapfel for UMass.
These two schools have previously met 24 times with Boston College owning a commanding 19-5 edge in the all-time series. The Eagles won the last meeting between the two in 2011, 45-17. UMass' last win in the series came in 1978, the first year of the I-AA / I-A split. The two schools have never met as FBS opponents.
Game Time, TV channel: 3 p.m. Eastern, ESPN3
Previews: Final Thoughts & Predictions, Q&A w/ Daily Hampshire Gazette, Depth Chart