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Boston College struggled through conference play a year ago coming up winless and finishing 3-9 on the season, a disappointment for Steve Addazio in his third season. After a rough offensive campaign, partly due to injuries, Addazio decided to bring in Scot Loeffler to coordinate the group, who comes from Virginia Tech. At the least, the Eagles will have better competition at the quarterback position.
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They bring in an experienced guy in Patrick Towles (from Kentucky) and he'll be fighting for the job with Darius Wade, who was the starter before getting hurt in the third game last year. Last season, it was a mixture of young quarterbacks, but Towles will give some experience to the group in addition to Wade, who is better than any of the options that took over for him. Of course, that still won't make them the best offense in the conference.
The status of running back Jon Hilliman will be just as vital as quarterback play. Hilliman broke his ankle in the fourth game last year, but if healthy, can be one of the best backs in the ACC. His replacements last year also return in Tyler Rouse (426 yards, 7 TDs) and Myles Willis (259 yards) so the Eagles have plenty of talent in the backfield. BC returns all of its top guys in the receiving game as well, but that's not saying much as their top receiver (Thadd Smith) had just 17 catches for 233 yards. The offensive line had a lot of new faces in 2015 and that led to some of its issues throughout the year. But with a season of experience for a few of those guys, this group should be better.
If the Eagles can figure out quarterback, they should at least be primed for more wins, especially if the defense can be close to last year's levels when it allowed the least amount of yards in the nation and only 15.1 points per game.
Coordinator Don Brown is gone from the defensive side to Michigan so that hurts, but new guy Jim Reid (from Iowa) has plenty of pieces to pick up where they left off.
From last year's dominant group, five starters return, so if Reid can keep his players aggressive, they should be nearly as good. Harold Landry leads the line, while Matt Milano and Connor Strachan are solid linebackers. The same can be said about the secondary with Isaac Yiadom and Will Harris. Sure, some guys moved onto the NFL, but Boston College has enough talent back on the defensive side to give plenty of offenses fits this year.
The problem for them will be winning that first conference game and getting over the hump. The Eagles have an easy non-conference slate with Notre Dame gone from the schedule and they could easily win all four of those games this year. The issue is that they only have three home ACC games, with one coming in Dublin against Georgia Tech. Playing in the Atlantic, there aren't many opportunities for wins, but when presented with chances, they have to take them. That means challenging Georgia Tech in the opener and beating Syracuse after a couple weeks worth of rest. A win at Wake Forest is a possibility, especially after that game was a miserable 3-0 a year ago.
With more experience and talent at quarterback and running back (as long as they stay healthy), the Eagles should be a little better this season and that could lead to five or six wins.
2016 Boston College Eagles Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. Georgia Tech (Dublin)
Sept. 10 at Massachusetts
Sept. 17 at Virginia Tech
Sept. 24 vs. Wagner
Oct. 1 vs. Buffalo
Oct. 7 vs. Clemson
Oct. 22 vs. Syracuse
Oct. 29 at NC State
Nov. 5 vs. Louisville
Nov. 11 at Florida State
Nov. 19 vs. Connecticut
Nov. 26 at Wake Forest
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