Boston College 2006 Preview
Posted Jul 31, 2006

Boston College Eagles Preview 2006  

Boston College Preview | Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Has there ever been a quieter 9-3 season than Boston College's 2005 campaign?

The nationally televised second half problems in the 28-17 loss to Florida State in the ACC opener all but crushing BC's ACC title dreams with a forgivable blowout loss at Virginia Tech and an unforgivable gaffe at North Carolina allowing the Seminoles to go off and win the conference title. There was a road win over a great Clemson team, along with wins over Virginia, NC State and Maryland, but no one seemed to notice, including the ACC bowls.

Despite going 8-3, BC was exiled to Boise to play in the MPC Computers Bowl to complete a third nine-win season in four years and a seventh straight winning season under head coach Tom O'Brien. All the Eagles did was finish first in the ACC in total offense, first in run defense (and fifth in the nation), and seventh in scoring defense while Syracuse turned out to be one of the worst teams in America. Yup, the ACC, at least for now, seemed to make the right choice when it came to getting a 12th team.

Is there any reason to believe Boston College won't be a 7-to-9 win team again and finish with yet another bowl victory after winning six straight? Why not? O'Brien has created a consistent football factory that always seems to do the same things, but does them really well. His teams always have big, talented lines, solid defenders that don't make mistakes, and heady skill players who always produce. However, last year's team was the one to win an ACC title with. This year's squad is good, but it doesn't quite measure up.

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Head coach: Tom O'Brien
10th season: 66-42
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 17, Def.18, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 16

Ten Best BC Players
OG Josh Beekman, Sr.
LB/FB Brian Toal, Jr.
FS Jamie Silva, Jr.
4. QB Matt Ryan, Jr.
5. CB DeJuan Tribble, Jr.
6. OT Gosder Cherilus, Jr.
7. DT B.J. Raji, Jr. 
8. RB L.V. Whitworth, Jr.
9. RB Andre Callender, Jr.
10. DE Nick Larkin, Jr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

8/31 at Central Michigan
9/9 Clemson
9/16 BYU
9/23 at NC State
9/30 Maine
10/12 Virginia Tech
10/21 at Florida State
10/28 Buffalo
11/4 at Wake Forest
11/11 Duke
11/18 Maryland
11/23 at Miami

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 9-3

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 at BYU W 20-3
9/10 Army  W 44-7
9/17 Florida State L 28-17
9/24 at Clemson W 16-13  OT
10/1 Ball State W 38-0
10/8 Virginia W 28-17
10/15 Wake Forest W 35-30
10/27 at Virginia Tech L 30-10
11/5 at No. Carolina L 16-14
11/12 NC State W 30-10
11/19 at Maryland W 31-16
12/28 MPC Computers Bowl
Boise State W 27-21

If the Eagles are going to make a push in the Atlantic, they'll have to do it with a fairly anonymous team full of good veterans. The star power isn't there compared to teams like Florida State, Clemson, or even Maryland. That's just fine by BC; this is a hard-nosed team that doesn't appear to have a problem with the lack of recognition.

The offense will center around the running game early on with the 1-2 punch of L.V. Whitworth and Andre Callender returning for a third straight year and with more speed behind them. Matt Ryan is a big passer who needs to make the average receiving corps shine. The offensive line that allowed only 15 sacks last year won't be quite as good, but it'll hardly be a liability.

The Eagle defense has to replace all-star end Mathias Kiwanuka and linebackers Ray Henderson and Ricky Brown, but the secondary should be outstanding and there's enough beef upfront to give most running games fits. Brian Toal leads a linebacking corps that should very quietly be among the best in the ACC.

The ACC is full of very good teams looking to take the next step. Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Virginia, and NC State have all had plenty of success. Boston College might not have what it takes to break from the pack, but under O'Brien, it's not going to fall far out of contention.

The Schedule: It's strange. Who starts off a season at Central Michigan? The Eagles had better be tuned up with big showdowns against Clemson, BYU and at NC State over the following three weeks. If Maine plays like it did last year when it pushed Nebraska and two years ago when it beat Mississippi State, BC won't be able to just show up and win. And all that comes before October. On the plus side, there's three weeks between the battle at NC State and the showdown against Virginia Tech followed up by the Atlantic battle at Florida State. Things ease up in a big way before ending the season at Miami.

Best Offensive Player: Senior OG Josh Beekman. One of the nation's best guards, he's one of the stars of the best line in the ACC last year. He could move to center if needed, and he'll dominate wherever he's put.

Best Defensive Player: Junior LB Brian Toal. Hampered a bit by a shoulder injury last season, Toal wasn't quite the force he was as a freshman. When 100%, he's not just a deadly linebacker, he's also an unstoppable goal line fullback.

Key player to a successful season: Senior WR Tony Gonzalez. With Will Blackmon and Larry Lester gone, the always dependable Gonzalez goes from being a nice number three target to a go-to number one receiver. He has the quickness and the hands, and he led the team in touchdown catches last season, but he has to prove he can also deal with everyone's number one corner.

The season will be a success if ... BC finishes with another nine-win season. The team isn't as good as last year's version and has brutal luck with the ACC scheduling getting Virginia Tech and Miami from the Coastal Division. In fact, playing at Florida State and at Miami should all but kill any ACC title dreams. Even so, the rest of the slate isn't all that bad; winning eight and another bowl game would be a nice feat ... again.

Key game: Oct. 21 at Florida State. They had them. BC survived a worst-case-scenario opening few minutes against the Seminoles only to see the offense die once starting QB Quinton Porter got hurt. A win in Tallahassee would mean the Eagles will be in the Atlantic Division driver's seat.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Sacks: Opponents 35 for 203 yards - Boston College 15 for 91 yards
- Third down conversions: Boston College 76 of 177 (43%) - Opponents 66 of 192 (34%)
- Rushing touchdowns: Boston College 21 ... Opponents 6

The Last Time Boston College…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (MPC Computers Bowl vs. Boise State)
…missed a bowl game…1998
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Ball State)
…was shutout…1998 (Virginia Tech)
…scored 50 points…2003 (Ball State)
…went undefeated…1940
…won a conference title…2004 (share, Big East)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1993 (Glenn Foley)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Derrick Knight)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1983 (Brian Brennan)
…had a first-round draft choice…2006 (DE Mathias Kiwanuka)

Related Stories
Boston College Preview 2006 - Defense
 -by  Jul 31, 2006
Boston College Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Jul 31, 2006
Boston College Preview 2006 Further Analysis
 -by  Jul 31, 2006

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