The Boston College Eagles found themselves 2-5 midway through the 2010 season and mired with injuries on both sides of the ball. However, they turned things around by grinding out a 16-10 win over Clemson that triggered five straight wins to finish the regular season at 7-5 overall and 4-4 in conference play.
Unfortunately, the season ended on a sour note with a 20-13 loss to Nevada in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. The stage, though, has been set for continued success in the ACC Atlantic Division in 2011.
Frank Spaziani begins his third year as the Eagles head coach and has to be encouraged by his team’s grit and determination to turn things around last year. He also has to be encouraged that the recruiting efforts during his first two seasons that should begin to pay some dividends in 2011.
He started his tenure at BC with an 8-5 record in 2009 and earned an invitation to play USC in the Emerald Bowl. After two seasons of playing in second-tier postseason games, Spaziani has raised the bar heading into this year to try and lead his team to a more prestigious bowl.
If the Eagles are going to have any chance to compete with the likes of Florida State, Maryland, and Clemson in the Atlantic Division race, they will need sophomore quarterback Chase Rettig to add consistency to his game after an up-and-down freshman campaign. He completed just 51.3 percent of his passes and had three more interceptions (nine) than touchdowns (six). He did show some big-play capability with his arm and was able to manage the game fairly well, but has yet to show he can do this on a week-to-week basis.
BC will still rely on its running game to move the ball behind Montel Harris, who led the team in rushing last season with 1,238 yards and eight TDs. His numbers this season should be even better behind an offensive line that returns fourth of its five starters from 2010.
The Eagles defense was ranked 19th in the nation in points allowed (19.5) in 2010, but will have some holes to fill with just five starters back from last year’s squad.
DT Kaleb Ramsey will anchor the defensive line and All-Conference linebacker Luke Kuechly leads a linebacker corps that could be one of the best in the conference.
The secondary will have a number of new faces as cornerback Donnie Fletcher is the only returning starter.
2011 Boston College Eagles Football Schedule
The Eagles will be tested early with a Week 2 non-conference game against a Central Florida team that is on many people’s list as the favorite to win the Conference-USA this year.
A brutal mid-season stretch has them on the road against Clemson, Virginia Tech and Maryland before returning home to face the Seminoles on Nov. 3. That four-game stretch will make or break Boston College’s season as it cannot afford to go 0-4 against the meat of its ACC schedule.
BC’s non-conference schedule also includes an opening day tilt with Northwestern and its traditional matchup with Notre Dame on Nov. 18, so there is very little margin for error if it has any hope to surpass last season’s seven-win total.
2011 Boston College College Football Odds
Bodog currently has Boston College at 175/1 to win a national title this season, which is the highest odds on the board for any team that is not included in the 20/1 "field" odds.
WagerWeb is also less bullish on the Eagles’ chances to win the ACC as they are listed at +1500, which is the middle-of-the-road as six teams have lower odds and five teams have higher odds.
They are at +750 to win the Atlantic Division behind Florida State (-325), Maryland (+325) and Clemson (+450).
2011 Boston College Eagles Football Predictions
Spaziani has his team headed in the right direction, but realistically the Eagles are just an average team in a less-than-spectacular ACC Conference. Their ACC opponents this season combined with a difficult nonconference schedule could actually point to a step backwards in terms of wins with a 6-6 record and fourth-place finish in the Atlantic Division.