ACC 2013 Spring Football Preview: Boston College Eagles

Steve Addazio's First Spring Practices at BC Will Set the Tone for His New Regime

Steve Addazio’s First Spring Practices at BC Will Set the Tone for His New Regime

As the ACC‘s spring practices get under way, we’ll be previewing the big storylines for each of the league’s 14 (15, in this case) teams. Check back on weekdays for what to look out for during your school’s spring practices and spring game.

Team: Boston College Eagles

Spring Practice Start Date: February 28

Spring Game Date: April 13 April 20 (updated to reflect newly announced date)

The Eagles are undergoing a complete overhaul this offseason now that Frank Spaziani’s reign of terror is finally over. Head coach Steve Addazio brings a new intensity into spring practice, and by all accounts, he’ll be looking for “his guys” early, to see which players are set to help him rebuild this program from the depths of 2012′s 2-10 finish.

Offensively, there’s hope for continuity as former wide receivers coach Ryan Day takes over to run a group that only scored 19.8 points per game last year. Whether or not he can harness quarterback Chase Rettig‘s skillset into wins, however, will be his biggest test as part of his new role. Rettig and his connection to receiver Alex Amidon were the only positives for the struggling offensive unit. In order to fix things going forward, he’ll have to identify some new leaders along the line (perhaps Dan Lembke and/or Aaron Kramer at the tackle spots?) and establish a running game to take some pressure off Rettig. Last year’s backfield was among the worst in the country, and those same players — mainly Andre Williams and Rolandon Finch — are back again for 2013. With former offensive coordinator Doug Martin and his pass-happy (to a fault) system out of the fold, there’s at least hope for some balanced play-calling this season.

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Final 2012 ACC Football Power Rankings

Clemson's Big Upset Over LSU Was One of Several Wins to Help the ACC Save Face This Postseason

Clemson’s Big Upset Over LSU Was One of Several Wins to Help the ACC Save Face This Postseason

Well that was a pleasant surprise now, wasn’t it? After getting knocked around on and off the field all season, the ACC found itself when it counted — the postseason — and (including Pitt & SU) managed a 5-3 slate, it’s first winning bowl record since 2005. If you want to include Louisville (and I sure do, given their big Sugar Bowl win), that brings the league to 6-3, with wins over the SEC (LSU & Florida), Big 12 (West Virginia) and Pac-12 (pre-season no. 1 USC). But sure, keep laughing at this league. They proved themselves and more during this year’s bowl season, and hopefully it’s a building block for even more excellent football.

1. Florida State Seminoles (12-2) (7-1) (LW: 1): Knock FSU for their schedule, their two losses (why are we criticizing a 12-win team again?) or their lack of a chance at a national title this season. But at the end of the day, they’re exactly where they were slated to be. The ‘Noles will be back in that conversation again this decade. It just takes some time, and this — winning both the ACC and the Orange Bowl — was the first step. Jimbo Fisher’s team will need to get past several big losses going forward, most notably Bjoern Werner and EJ Manuel, but the foundation’s there for a bright future.

2. Clemson Tigers (11-2) (7-1) (LW: 2): Despite not making it to a BCS bowl game, I’d say the Tigers’ consolation prize was still well-worth the trouble, no? On a national stage, Clemson beat mighty SEC’s LSU Tigers, and in the process, ended up being part of the most-watched non-BCS college football game in ESPN’s history. Most stunning in Clemson’s 25-24 victory, however, was the oft-maligned defense. Down 11 points heading into the fourth, the Bayou Bengals could’ve just run the clock out throughout the final stanza. Instead, it was Clemson that stayed strong, shutting out LSU and setting up a defining win for the Dabo Swinney era.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels (8-4) (5-3) (LW: 4): It’s tough to look at UNC’s 2012 season without imagining what could’ve been for a squad that seemed to finally turn the corner here in Larry Fedora’s first year. Knocking on the door of a division title for quite some time, the Heels finally put it all together, only to be ineligible for the postseason. So while it’s a disappointment for North Carolina fans to watch an eight-win season get laid to waste, it’s also built this program some street cred. Despite Giovani Bernard‘s departure to the NFL Draft, QB Bryn Renner will stick around for his senior year, meaning this team returns plenty of firepower; most of which this season only served as a preview for.

4. Syracuse Orange (8-5) (LW: 5): As if it was meant to be, Syracuse closed out their time in the Big East — the conference they built — by putting together its most impressive season in a decade. Up against one of the nation’s toughest non-conference schedules, and a top-heavy league to boot, the Orange still managed to win six of their final seven games. The exclamation point, however (on top of a split conference title), was their resounding victory over rival West Virginia in the Pinstripe Bowl. As someone who braved the cold to watch in-person, it was amazing to see this squad’s transformation from the season’s opening-week struggles to the machine-like execution against the Mountaineers.

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ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week 13 (Part 1)

Florida State and Florida Headline a Big Weekend of Rivalry Games for the ACC

Not much left to be decided on the last regular season weekend of ACC action. Florida State and Georgia Tech have their respective division titles clinched, and Miami and UNC are officially staying home for the postseason. But luckily, it’s Rivalry Week, so still plenty on the line for many schools. It’s also a prime weekend for the ACC to help out its reputation. Four teams go up against SEC foes this week. If the ACC can come out ahead in at least two of those (three are against teams in the top 13 of the BCS rankings), it would be a huge statement to close a forgettable regular season.

Game of the Week

Florida Gators (10-1) at Florida State Seminoles (10-1) (7-1): With both teams ranked in the top 10, there’s an extra spark in this rivalry not seen in a few years. The Gators, currently ranked fourth in the BCS standings, could very well be playing for a chance at a national championship shot. Florida State, on the other hand, is looking to take home the Florida Cup for the second straight year, and would love to put a damper on UF’s aspirations. Florida has struggled in recent weeks, but with starting quarterback Jeff Driskel back on Saturday, they’re hoping the offense receives a shot in the arm. They’ll need it if they hope to get by the ‘Noles stifling defense, which has allowed 20 points or more just three times all season. Prediction: Florida State 26, Florida 21

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

Syracuse Orange (6-5) at Temple Owls (4-6): The Orange are riding high after two straight victories earned them bowl eligibility. Can they keep up momentum in their final Big East football game, though? It’s tough to tell. There’s a 90-percent chance that regardless of what happens, SU is headed to the Pinstripe Bowl, and Temple also has no means to get to the postseason themselves, with only 11 games on the schedule. Still, given the number of seniors taking the field for the Orange, we may see another rave-worthy performance — to give a boost to draft stocks if nothing else. In particular, offensive stars Alec Lemon and Ryan Nassib have been getting buzz to go on the first or second day of the NFL Draft next spring. They’d hate to slip up now, especially with just two games remaining. Prediction: Syracuse 38, Temple 20

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ACC Football 2012 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week 13

Florida State vs. Florida is One of Several High-Profile SEC/ACC Rivalry Games This Weekend

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 13 Television Schedule & Spreads

Friday, November 23

Syracuse Orange at Temple Owls (+8), 11 a.m. ET, ESPN2

Saturday, November 24

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Georgia Bulldogs (-13), noon ET, ESPN

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Pittsburgh Panthers (-2), noon ET, ESPN2

Virginia Cavaliers at Virginia Tech Hokies (-10.5), noon ET, ESPNU

Miami Hurricanes at Duke Blue Devils (+6.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Gameplan/ESPN3

Boston College Eagles at NC State Wolfpack (-14), 3 p.m. ET, ESPN3

Maryland Terrapins at North Carolina Tar Heels (-24.5), 3 p.m. ET, ESPN Gameplan/ESPN3

Florida Gators at Florida State Seminoles (-7), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC

Vanderbilt Commodores at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+11.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

South Carolina Gamecocks at Clemson Tigers (-4), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN

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Conference Realignment: Examining the Effects on Teams After the Move (Part 1)

Texas A&M’s Fared Pretty Nicely Since Moving From the Big 12 to the SEC, But Has Every Program Made Out As Well?

There was lots of discussion this spring about teams jumping conferences… Lots of discussion! TCU and West Virginia actually did make the move to the Big 12, and there were rumors about Florida State and Clemson jumping ship as well. But for those who actually changed conferences, was it the right move? From a broader view, how has it worked out in general for teams which have changed conferences in recent years? Can even the best “mid-major” teams survive the so-called “grind” of a major conference schedule?

In the distant past (i.e. before 1990), when a team changed conferences it was generally to join one which was a better academic or geographic fit. Think Georgia Tech leaving the SEC to eventually join the ACC (via independence), or South Carolina doing the reverse. Today it’s a different story. Money generated by athletics has grown to the point where a school will actually consider joining a conference which is further away in order to grab yet more money. Imagine that – major universities motivated by money!

So we’ve seen several teams shift to/from major conferences in the past couple years:

  • Nebraska: from Big 12 to Big Ten
  • Utah: from Mountain West to Pac-12
  • Colorado: from Big 12 to Pac-12
  • Texas A&M: from Big 12 to SEC
  • Missouri: from Big 12 to SEC
  • TCU: from Mountain West (by way of Big East) to Big 12
  • West Virginia: from Big East to Big 12

Obviously there’s a pattern here, as one conference (Big 12) has been involved in the majority of these moves. But I digress…

How did these teams fare after the conference changes, though? To answer that, let’s look at before & after win/loss numbers in-conference and overall:

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ACC Football 2012 Previews & Predictions: Week Nine (UPDATE: With Devin Burns Injury Note)

Can NC State Continue Its Hot Streak Against UNC, Or Will the Wolfpack Finally Cool Off?

The ACC continues to battle perception this weekend, as teams looking to differentiate themselves face tough in-conference tests. While it would be great for Duke’s feel-good story to continue versus FSU, obviously the league would suffer mightily with a Seminoles loss. And while the Heels may be the Coastal division’s best hope to finish with a team above .500, they might just be outmatched by a Wolfpack team gunning for their first division title. At any rate, just another exciting weekend of ACC football…

Game of the Week

NC State Wolfpack (5-2) (2-1) at North Carolina Tar Heels (5-3) (2-2): Opinions differ on whether or not this is an actual rivalry, and given State’s recent 5-0 run, maybe the real mistake is the Heels discounting it. And if their recent cold streak against the Wolfpack wasn’t enough, UNC also has a score to settle after last week’s last-minute loss to Duke; a crushing loss made worse by the Blue Devils clinching a bowl bid with the victory. If they hope to stop NC State, though, the Tar Heels must play better defense than they did last week. Duke came into that game with one of the worst rushing attacks in the country, yet managed over 230 yards on the ground. If State’s similarly terrible running game can have a performance like that, coupled with a serviceable effort from Mike Glennon, UNC has little hope to pull this one out. Prediction: NC State 26, UNC 23

The Rest of the Slate (in order of start time):

Clemson Tigers (6-1) (3-1) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-3) (2-3): Did Clemson’s defense wake up last weekend, or did the offense shut down? The answer is crucial for the Tigers, as they hope to finish the regular season on a much more positive note than last year. And it all starts tonight. If it weren’t already enough that Wake gets star receiver Michael Campanaro back, both of the Tigers’ starting cornerbacks are inactive tonight. So suddenly, an easy matchup between Clemson’s improving defense and the Deacs’ stagnant offense gets a lot more hairy. It’ll all come down to stopping the pass, but if Wake Forest can get a running game going — not out of the question against a questionable front four for Clemson — it could be a very long night for Dabo Swinney’s team. Prediction: Clemson 31, Wake Forest 27

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ACC Football 2012 Television Schedule & Spreads: Week Nine

Wake Forest and Clemson Kick Off This Weekend’s ACC Action With a Thursday Night Matchup

Every week, we’ll be providing a quick rundown of which ACC football games are on television, and also list the latest spread on each game (should you choose to engage in gambling-related activities). Please plan your days accordingly.

ACC Football Week 9 Television Schedule & Spreads

Thursday, October 25

Clemson Tigers at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (+12), 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

Saturday, October 27

Temple Owls at Pittsburgh Panthers (-7), noon ET, ESPN Gameplan

NC State Wolfpack at North Carolina Tar Heels (-7.5), 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN Gameplan

Maryland Terrapins at Boston College Eagles (-1.5), 1 p.m. ET, ESPN3

BYU Cougars at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-2.5), 3 p.m. ET, ESPN Gameplan

Duke Blue Devils at Florida State Seminoles (-27), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Syracuse Orange at USF Bulls (-3), 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3

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