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Today at No. 90: BOSTON COLLEGE Coach: Steve Addazio (14-12, entering third season; 27-23) 2014 record: 7-6, 4-4 in Atlantic Coast Conference; fourth in...

college football free pickToday at No. 90: BOSTON COLLEGE

Coach: Steve Addazio (14-12, entering third season; 27-23)

2014 record: 7-6, 4-4 in Atlantic Coast Conference; fourth in Atlantic Division

Look back: Steve Addazio continued to build a solid foundation at Boston College in his second season at the helm. The Eagles finished with the same record from 2013 in and out of conference, but Addazio’s squad earned a signature victory over ranked USC while also coming close to pulling off wins against FSU, Clemson and Penn State. Equally impressive was that Boston College maintained its success despite losing running back Andre Williams, a Heisman finalist, and several other key starters.

Offensive starters returning: 3

Offensive starters lost: 8

Defensive starters returning: 6

Defensive starters lost: 5

Key losses: QB Tyler Murphy, LB Josh Keyes, OL Andy Gallik, OL Ian Silberman, DL Brian Mihalik, DL Connor Wujciak, WR Josh Bordner, WR Shakim Phillips, OL Bob Vardaro, P Alex Howell

Top returnees: DB Justin Simmons, LB Steven Daniels, DL Kevin Kavalec, DL Malachi Moore, RB Jon Hilliman, RB Myles Willis, WR Sherman Alston, OL Jon Baker

Strengths: Boston College has developed an identity as a tough, gritty group under Addazio, especially on offense. The Eagles were 15th nationally in rushing yards per game (254.69), although they must find a way to replace the ground game’s biggest facilitator, quarterback Tyler Murphy. They have a stable of proven backs, primarily bruiser Jon Hilliman (860 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns as a true freshman) and versatile weapon Myles Willis (459 rushing yards). The Eagles have adopted a similar reputation on the defensive side of the ball and return six starters on a stingy unit that allowed 324.2 yards per game last year, which was 11th in the country. Weaknesses: Not only must the Eagles find a suitable replacement for Murphy — that appears to be strong-armed, southpaw sophomore Darius Wade — but also the entire starting offensive line that paved the way for his success in 2014. The Eagles lose all five of their starting offensive linemen from last season, although Harris Williams and Jon Baker each have some experience.

The Eagles also have to fill the void left by mammoth defensive tackles Connor Wujciak (6-3, 300) and Brian Mihalik (6-9, 295).

Outlook: The defense returns some proven commodities, so the offense is the big unknown in Chestnut Hill. Because of inexperience across the offensive line, combined with Wade’s ability to push the ball downfield, the Eagles may have to return to a more balanced offensive approach this season if they want to become bowl eligible for the third year in a row.

2015 SCHEDULE

Sept. 5 Maine

Sept. 12 Howard

Sept. 18 FSU

Sept. 26 Northern Illinois

Oct. 3 at Duke

Oct. 10 Wake Forest

Oct. 17 at Clemson

Oct. 24 at Louisville

Oct. 31 Virginia Tech

Nov. 7 NC State

Nov. 21 at Notre Dame*

Nov. 28 at Syracuse

* at Fenway Park, Boston, Mass.

Vincent Rizzo

College Football / College Basketball Handicapper. 2011 won 74%, 2012 won 72% 2015 SPECIAL. CALL, 877.WIN.ATS9 EMAIL,V@VincentRizzoSports.com

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