UVa Faces Mixed Bag In ACC

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Mike London faces opponents favored to finish higher than UVa in the ACC.

With football practice starting in a few short days, the road to the ACC Championship begins its paving process. Preseason predictions have pegged Virginia Tech and Florida State as the division front-runners for 2011 and the media ultimately expects FSU to take home the ACC title in December. TheSabre.com takes a look at the rest of the conference as practice looms on the calendar.

Atlantic Division

Boston College

Last Year: It was an up and down season in Chestnut Hill last year. The Eagles, under third-year coach Frank Spaziani, started out 2-5, and then rallied to win its final 5 games behind a stifling defense that led the nation against the run last year and was 14th in scoring. The offense, however, was ranked last in the ACC in scoring and total offense, a not-so-small factor in offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill’s decision to retire after the season.

Players to Watch: Last season, the Eagles’ offense relied mostly on the legs of junior RB Montel Harris, who had 1,243 yards on 269 carries and 8 TDs last season. But with sophomore Chase Retting now established as the starting quarterback after winning that job in the middle of the season last year as a true freshman, Coach Spaziani hopes the previously one-dimensional offense can find some new depth.

Games to Watch: The Eagles are going to have to reverse their pattern from last year; their schedule starts slow, with matches at home against Northwestern, Duke, and Massachusetts, and at UCF, before entering the heart of ACC play. If Boston College starts slow, this year, it might not be able to catch back up.

Overview: There are only a few players missing from the Boston College team that went 7-6 last season, so it’s clear that’s the baseline of expectations going into the season. Anything beyond that, and a sub-par bowl berth, will be up to the combination of Harris and Retting. If Retting can find his stride, and new offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers can do just about anything to improve on last year’s