The Boston College Eagles present an unusual occurrence. It is an ACC opening game in the third week of the season; September 17th. This week is usually reserved for a non-conference peer or near peer team as a final test before heading into a heavy ACC schedule.
The BC Eagles came over to the ACC with us from the Big East in the big expansion period. Tech and BC go pretty far back, and there have been more than a few tough games, nasty surprises (Matty Ice in the rain), and redemption (ACC Championship later that year).
The Eagles struggled the last few seasons before 2013. Their offense suffered from a total lack of big talent at the Quarterback position; the last quality player at the position was actually none other than Matt Ryan, himself. Their coaching changes hadn’t helped a great deal. The search for some stability and consistency currently rests on head coach Steve Addazio.
The his tenure started out fairly well, taking a 2-10 disastrous 2012 season into a 7-6 bowl bid season of 2013 and 2014. BC’s 2015 was a frustrating disappointment for Eagle fans. Even the struggling Hokies went to Chestnut Hill to grab a win on the road last season. Three and nine is not where Addazio wants his team. The season certainly wasn’t helped by the injury loss of starting QB, Darius Wade. Addazio is looking to get back on the winning track, even if it’s closer to .500.
BC is looking to improve the QB position with a graduate import from the University of Kentucky, Patrick Towles. We will have to see who takes the field for the first few games, but Towles has two solid years of experience at UK. He’s 6’5” and can run the ball as well as pass. This puts certain opponents, if history remains constant, at a great disadvantage. We know Tech’s defensive strengths and weaknesses and running Quarterbacks rank as a serious problem for us. Of course the same is true for Wade if he stays healthy and needs to start; though at 6’0” he’s not huge.
At running back we are going to see more of Miles Willis who ripped us for some serious yardage in 2014. We’ll also probably see a good deal of Tyler Rouse and Richard Wilson as Addazio is going to push to establish the run to try to control the clock. No one is going to want a potentially high powered opposing offense on the field, and with it being the ACC opener it is unlikely the Justin Fuente is going to leave much in the back pages of the playbook for this game.
Boston College has a decent enough defense; decent enough to have held Notre Dame to a paltry 19 points last season. They return a linebacker corps that we’d dream to have. Matt Milano returns with his basked of honors from last season. The line is pretty new but will present a serious blocking problem for us. Defensive End Harold Landry brings his own basket of 2015 honors.
Boston College is a rebuild project in the works, but Addazio is going to be expected to get back on the plus side of the W ledger, soon. His roster is pretty heavy with underclassmen needing to step up and convert from Special Teams players to players taking regular snaps. Does this sound familiar?
The Eagles look very much like Tech did over the last two seasons, if not this season as well. They are our first totally evenly matched opponent, and the game is going to be loaded with emotion. Lane better be rocking on September 17th. Addazio and his Eagles are coming to return the favor of a home loss to the Hokies. We have seen that sort of emotion carry many teams before; often they are wearing gold and white, playing in the rain, and looking to make a statement.
This will be the opponent that we will probably get to see all of the starters with all of the offense working, and the revamped defense settled in, on both sides.
I won’t venture to guess at who is favored, before we see the first snaps of the season, but it will be a “defining game”. The Hokies should be the better team, but only slightly. It’s our chance to step on to the ACC ladder with a win.