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Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Steele: BC football lacking experience

By Jack McCluskey

College Football Review's Phil Steele released his 2014 combined experience chart this week, and the numbers are telling for Boston College.

Jared Shanker broke it down for the ACC blog, summing up Steele’s method and what the numbers mean for the conference:

Steele considers five factors and uses a formula to create a grade between 0 and 100. The higher the grade, the more experience a school returns. Steele accounts for senior starters and senior backups, percentage of lettermen returning, percentage of returning offensive yards, percentage of total tackles returning and career starts returning on the offensive line.

Of the Power Five conferences, the ACC had the lowest average ranking. The league’s 14 teams averaged a ranking of 79.78 and an average score of 56.55. That means there should be a lot of new faces in the ACC, and adding to the potential warning sign is the number of new starting quarterbacks expected in the league. (It worked out fine for Florida State last season, we should add.)


The Eagles don’t fare well when the numbers are tabulated. BC ranks second-to-last nationally (127 of 128), and dead last in the ACC with 42.54 points. Only Oklahoma State (35.94) has a lower points total in 2014.

(UMass, meanwhile, ranks No. 95 with 54.79 points.)

Steele’s Experience Chart

Who has the most and least returning experience in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2014? Phil Steele has the numbers.

ACC experience
Team Rank Points
Syracuse 17 71.41
Virginia 18 70.98
Duke 25 69.75
Florida State 39 66.06
Louisville 77 57.92
North Carolina 79 57.69
Miami 80 57.03
Virginia Tech 92 55.37
Pittsburgh 105 51.45
Georgia Tech 106 50.39
Clemson 113 48.99
NC State 114 48.73
Wake Forest 125 43.40
Boston College 127 42.54

Though Steele projects the Eagles to have 13 senior starters, more than all but a handful of teams, the experience level of those seniors is relatively low. BC returns 59.32 percent of its letterwinners and 55.27 percent of its tackles but just 12.79 percent of its offensive yards -- the latter figure the lowest percentage in the country by far, with LSU second-to-last with 18.04 percent returning.

Just what does all that mean? That depends.

Answer the following question: Is the glass 12.79 percent full or 87.21 percent empty?

If you’re a “glass-87.21-percent-empty” type, Steele’s numbers are cause for concern. There’s experience returning, sure, but not much of it, and Steve Addazio will face a steep, uphill climb in Year 2 to replace departed playmakers like Alex Amidon, Chase Rettig and Heisman finalist Andre Williams.

If you’re a “glass-12.79-percent-full” type, Steele’s numbers represent an opportunity. There’s an incredible amount of playing time up for grabs, and Addazio and his staff just have to put the right players in the right positions to take advantage of it.

Eagles fans already knew the team graduated a lot of talent and production in 2013, but Steele’s numbers show just how much. There are 73 days until the 2014 season.

Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.