Miami-Florida (0-0) at Boston College (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 1st, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Stadium (49,550) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ABC or ESPN 2. Home Record: Miami-Florida 0-0, Boston College 0-0. Away Record: Miami-Florida 0-0, Boston College 0-0. Neutral Record: Miami-Florida 0-0, Boston College 0-0. Conference Record: Miami-Florida 0-0, Boston College 0-0. Series Record: Miami-Florida leads, 23-5.
GAME NOTES: After a self-imposed bowl ban last season, head coach Al Golden will be looking to start fresh, as Miami-Florida begins 2012 with a battle with ACC rival Boston College.
Due to past recruiting violations, Golden's first season at the helm for Miami was not the promising start that was hoped for. The former Temple head coach led the Hurricanes to a mediocre 6-6 overall record and a 3-5 mark in conference play. Although the 6-6 record made the Hurricanes bowl eligible, the school placed a bowl ban on itself. Golden also had to deal with the suspension of a number of key players.
Boston College might have preferred to have missed out on a bowl by choice as the Eagles had a 12-year postseason berth streak ended in a 4-8 2011 season. The Eagles lost six of their first seven games with the lone win against then FCS-opponent Massachusetts. The stumbling of his squad has put head coach Frank Spaziani firmly on the hot seat.
With such an iconic play as Doug Flutie's Hail Mary, it would stand to reason that this rivalry might be slightly even in its history. That is not the case though, with the Hurricanes holding a 23-5 record all-time against Boston College. The Eagles did win last season's matchup 24-17 at Miami.
Although Miami will be replacing seven starters on offense, this season will give Golden a bit more control as he will not be dealing with suspensions while also working in players he has worked with for more than a year.
Junior quarterback Stephen Morris is set to fill in under center. He will be replacing Jacory Harris who left the Hurricanes as the second-leading passer in school history. Morris got into four games last season and completed 26-of-37 passes for 283 yards. He did not throw for a touchdown and had two interceptions as well.
With a new starter under center comes a new one in the backfield. With 1,000 yard rusher Lamar Miller gone, the Hurricanes will turn to senior Mikes James and talented freshmen Duke Johnson to carry the ball. James had 275 yards on 3.8 yards per carry in limited action last season.
The depleted roster trend continues in the receiving corps which returns junior Allen Hurns as the top returning pass catcher (31 receptions, for 415 yards).
Golden is best known as a defensive coach and his 2011 squad was fairly strong in that area ranking 17th nationally in scoring defense (20.1 ppg). Gone though is the defense's anchor Sean Spence.
Denzel Perryman, a sophomore, is the lone returning starter at linebacker. In his freshmen season Perryman impressed, ranking second with 69 total tackles.
Anthony Chickillo and Darius Smith are both back on the defensive line. Chickillo tied for a team-high five sacks a year ago. After dismissing safety Ray Ray Armstrong in the off-season, Golden will have a largely new secondary. The leader of the group will be senior safety Vaughn Telemaque, who had 59 tackles and an interception last season.
Boston College was supposed to get former star rusher Montel Harris back for the 2011 season but the offense will have to go on without him. Harris was suspended indefinitely and then dismissed from the team for violating team rules during the off-season. In light of his absence the Eagles will use a three-man attack similar to last season. The leader is Rolandan Finch (705 yards) but Andre Williams (515 yards, 4 TDs) may be the most talented of the bunch.
With its rushing attack an uncertainty, the Eagles desperately need more out of what was a very weak passing game. Boston College ranked 100th nationally with 167.8 yards per game through the air last season. To help with the development of junior quarterback Chase Rettig, Spaziani brought in former Kent State head coach Doug Martin, who is widely known as a quarterback guru.
Rettig threw for only 1,960 yards last season, along with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He does have his two leading receivers in Bobby Swigert (44 receptions, 470 yards) and Colin Larmond (34 receptions, 528 yards) back.
One dependable part of the offense is the line which has four starters returning including Freshmen All-American guard Bobby Vadaro.
Seven starters will be back on defense for Boston College but there is a massive hole to fill with the departure of All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Junior Kevin Pierre-Louis will step in as the heir apparent. The junior had 74 tackles a season ago which ranked second on the team behind Kuechly. Steele Divitto (72 tackles) will also be called on to keep the linebacking corps effective.
Defensive end Kasim Edebali and defensive tackle Dillon Quinn each return as starters up front but the two need to improve on creating pressure. They combined for just a single sack last season. The line should be improved with the return of defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey who was a valuable contributor in 2010 but missed most of last season due to injury.
Senior Jim Noel is the lone holdover from a secondary that last year that ranked 81st nationally against the pass (243.3 ypg).
These two teams will begin this season where the last began, as the regular season finale in Coral Gables was the last game for both teams. Both teams would like to think that this year will begin a new postseason streak but it is more likely that Golden's crew has the talent on both sides of the ball to really make a run at that goal.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Florida 24, Boston College 21
08/29 10:37:46 ET