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2017 Virginia Football Opponent Preview: Boston College

The visiting Eagles bring a strong defense and questionable offense to town

Clemson v Boston College Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

2016 Record: 7-6 (2-6 ACC)

How does a team win 2 conference games and make a bowl game? Make your out of conference schedule UMass, UConn, Wagner, and Buffalo. Truly a murderer’s row of northeastern football supremacy, there. Boston College may have missed the joy of getting embarrassed by Oregon on primetime tv, but their scheduling led to a bowl game (victory of Maryland, no less). BC has actually played in bowl games three of the past four seasons! Former Virginia coaches might want to take note.

Notable Departures:

LB Matt Milano (All ACC Honorable Mention)

QB Patrick Towles (1730 Passing Yds)

FS John Johnson (most John names on team and 66.5 tackles in 2016)

Notable Additions:

ATH A.J. Dillon (3* 247sports)

OG Ben Petrula (3* 247sports)

CB Brandon Sebastian (3* 247sports)

Best Name on the Roster:

So. DB Hamp Cheevers

Better Know a Virginian:

DE Tanner Karafa (Ashburn, Va.)

Karafa is a redshirt sophomore who saw minimal action as a RS Fr. last season. A three star recruit out of Stone Bridge HS, he was recruited and offered by the previous UVa staff and attended a junior day on grounds. Kafara was listed as the 31st best prospect in Virginia by 247sports, but offers from VT, BC, and UVa indicated better potential than that ranking. He should be in the rotation for playing time at DE each game this season for BC, but is still behind All American DE Harold Landry and his two junior teammates on the line.

2017 Outlook:

Here’s a shocker: The Eagles should have a strong and stubborn defense and really struggle on offense. Jon Hilliman is a decent runningback and finally healthy again, but the Eagles are replacing their quarterback and bringing in OC Scot Loeffler to potentially try a up-tempo offense. Darius Wade has seen some playing time at the position and is battling redshirt freshman Anthony Brown for the starting role. Whoever wins, they’ll have returning talent at the skill positions and on the line...but a new scheme and “returning talent” from one of the worst offenses in football don’t necessarily breed confidence.

The defense under former UVa coach Jim Reid should be a strong unit. Harold Landry is an elite player on the DL, Connor Strachan is a more-than-servicable MLB, and the returning secondary is a talented and productive group. The Eagles struggled a little with injuries last year and unimpressive rate for giving up big plays, but this year’s squad should be a top-20 unit nationally.

The schedule isn’t quite the cake walk that last year’s was for the Eagles. They’ve got Notre Dame and a road trip to Northern Illinois (though still will get to play UConn) in addition to their Atlantic Division peers in FSU, Clemson, and Louisville. In fact, the SBNation S&P projections favor BC in only 3 games on the schedule. However, if Loeffler’s offense improved to “fine” from “dreadful,” games against Wake, UVa, and Syracuse certainly look more winnable.

Prediction:

This game seems to be the first low-hanging ACC fruit for UVa fans looking at the upcoming schedule. The Orange and Blue optimists immediately pencil in a W for the Wahoos, which seems like a surprising assumption to me. If the teams had played last year, I would’ve expected a 5-3 BC win or some other similar mind-numbingly boring and sloppy result. Has UVa really improved to the level of confident win against any ACC opponent, much less one that reached and won a bowl last season?

I was pretty surprised to the stats favor the Hoos here, mainly because UVa’s yet to show in consistently score points and BC should be a top tier defensive team in 2017. However, the stats speak to the returning talent and coaching for UVa and the game being in Charlottesville compared to a boatload of uncertainty for the BC offense. The Hoos should have a solid defense of their own - so I’ll go with the stat projections and optimistic fans: Virginia wins by 10.

Poll

Will the Wahoos beat BC at home?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    Yes
    (167 votes)
  • 29%
    No
    (70 votes)
237 votes total Vote Now