As the college football season inches closer, we decided to start our annual series taking a look at the best-case and worst-case scenarios for each team in the ACC. First up: Boston College.
New coordinators? No problem. The Eagles show in the season opener in Dublin, Ireland, that they have an offense to match their shutdown defense, showing off a power-run game that they lacked last season. Jon Hilliman posts a 100-yard rushing performance, setting the stage for a 1,000-yard season with Scot Loeffler calling the plays. Patrick Towles and Darius Wade both play quarterback in the opener before Wade wins the job permanently.
The conference victory over Georgia Tech gives BC some much-needed momentum in September and the Eagles roll through three easy nonconference games and pick up a surprise victory at Virginia Tech (a team they have beaten twice in the past three seasons).
The second half of the schedule is a little more difficult. Boston College doesn't have enough to beat Clemson, Louisville or Florida State but will be competitive the rest of the way. Syracuse and UConn won't be easy outs, and neither will Wake Forest. Playing at NC State won't be easy, either, but the Eagles won handily the last time they played in Raleigh. With the quarterback position stabilized, a young offensive line vastly improved, healthy running backs and a controlling defense under new coordinator Jim Reid, Boston College gets back to a bowl game with eight victories at minimum.
The staff changes on both offense and defense mean a difficult transition for Boston College. Opening on the road in Ireland against the always difficult Georgia Tech offense proves to be difficult for a young team still trying to find its bearings. Though BC is good enough on defense to slow down the Jackets, the offense remains a work in progress. Indecision at quarterback and struggles on the offensive line hamper BC in the opener, and then again at Virginia Tech, leading to an 0-2 start in the ACC.
With losses to Clemson, Louisville and Florida State, BC needs to find a few ACC victories to get back to a bowl game. But Wake Forest, which beat BC in an unforgettable 3-0 game in 2015, will be improved. NC State remains a notch ahead. Syracuse will be improved, too, under Dino Babers. BC plays each game close, but can't quite surge ahead, ending in a replay of last season.
The absolute nightmare scenario is another winless ACC campaign, plus a loss to improved UConn, in another 3-9 showing that will surely put heat on coach Steve Addazio by season's end.