As we countdown to kickoff in September, we’re going to be doing a team-by-team preview each week over the summer. SU will continue its 2016 ACC schedule when it plays Boston College on Oct. 22.
OFFENSIVE OFFENSE: Boston College boasted one of the best defenses in the NCAA last season, finishing 11th in overall defense at 324.2 yards allowed per game. The Eagles also held opponents to just 21.3 points per game (21st) and 5.13 yards per play. That should put in perspective how bad the offense was in a dismal 3-9 season. BC finished 83rd in overall offense with 26.2 points per game, mostly because it struggled to throw the ball (129.3 passing yards per game, 122nd in the NCAA). That led to former Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler taking over for Todd Fitch, BC’s third offensive coordinator in the past four seasons.
WHO TO WATCH FOR: Kentucky graduate transfer Patrick Towels will likely be the starter this season, though Darius Wade and John Fadule both started in 2015. Towels started 22 consecutive games for the Wildcats before being benched in favor of a redshirt freshman. He’s thrown for 5,099 passing yards and 24 touchdowns during his career. Defensive coordinator Don Brown left to take the same position at Michigan, but his replacement, Jim Reid, has plenty of talent in his unit. Keep an eye out for senior linebacker Matt Milano, who is on the preseason watch lists for the Butkus and Chuck Bednarik Awards. Last season, he he led the Eagles with 17.5 tackles TFL and 6.5 sacks. Junior defensive end Harold Landry notched 4.5 sacks and 15.5 TFLs in 2015.
PREDICTION: This game, like many BC/Syracuse games in the past, will likely be a competitive game to the final whistle, matching Orange’s uptempo offense against the Eagles’ stingy defense. It could be the key to bowl games for both teams in 2016. SYRACUSE 21, BOSTON COLLEGE 17.