2006 Preview & Prediction: Boston College

Quarterback Matt Ryan is the returning star of a squad that led the ACC in total offense in 2005, but the strength of the offense is at running back and along the offensive line.

2005 RECORD: 9-3 overall, 5-3 ACC (2nd in Atlantic).

HEAD COACH: Tom O'Brien, 66-42 overall in nine seasons.

KEY ADDITIONS: TE Jordan McMichael, S Wesley Davis, DE Alex Albright, LB James McClaskey, CB Roderick Rollins, DT Damik Scafe.

KEY LOSSES: WR Will Blackmon, OT Jeremy Trueblood, C Patrick Ross, DE Mathias Kiwanuka, LB Ray Henderson, DT Al Washington.

OFFENSE: Quarterback Matt Ryan is the returning star of a squad that led the ACC in total offense in 2005, but the strength of the unit is at running back and along the offensive line.

Tailback L.V. Whitworth gained more than 800 yards last year despite not getting much more than 15 carries per game and should challenge the 1,000-yard mark this year.

The big question surrounding the offense is at wide receiver. With the team's top two receivers from 2005 gone, more than one player needs to step up this year and fill the void. The likely candidates are senior Tony Gonzalez, junior Kevin Challenger and sophomore Bandon Robinson. If at least one doesn't emerge as the go-go guy, the Eagles will be grounded.

DEFENSE: The defense has been stellar each of the past two seasons and there's very little reason to believe that will change this year.

The secondary and linebackers are the strength of the defense, especially with junior linebacker Brian Toal, junior cornerback DeJuan Tribble and junior free safety Jamie Silva leading the way. The Eagles have to find some replacements on the defensive line that was fifth in the nation last year in rushing defense. But that shouldn't be too much of a problem. The interior of the line is absolutely huge, with 343-pound junior Ron Brace being the anchor.

If the Eagles can get any kind of production out of ends Jim Ramella and Nick Larkin, this unit will once again be among the nation's leaders.

BY THE NUMBERS: 6 – Consecutive seasons B.C. has won its bowl game, which is the longest active streak in the nation.

WHAT TO WATCH: The Eagles' run toward a division title will be decided by the seventh game of the season. They host Clemson in the second week and Virginia Tech in the sixth week. The following week, they play at Florida State. If B.C. is to challenge, they have to win at least two of those games.

PREDICTION: 9-3 overall, 5-3 ACC (3rd in Atlantic).


QB Matt Ryan



Head coach Tom O'Brien



RB L.V. Whitworth



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