SAN FRANCISCO CA - JANUARY 09: Chase Rettig #7 of Boston College passes the ball during their game against the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park on January 9 2011 in San Francisco California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
2011: 4-8 (3-5)
Last year's meeting: Boston College 24, Miami 17 Randy Shannon's best recruits went out in just about the most ignominious fashion imaginable. Jacory Harris' interceptions problems crept back up in his final game at UM, the Canes could not stop BC's short passing game and consequently almost never had control of the ball. A fitting game to cap an era to forget.
Offense: B.C. is not reinventing the wheel. We all know this. They are going to look to control the ball on the ground and with a short passing game. Unfortunately for B.C., top tight end Chris Pantale is going to miss about half the season with a foot injury. But still, both of those things will put a lot of pressure on Miami's linebackers -- we should find out fairly quickly if Thurston Ambrister and/or Eddie Johnson are viable starters. New offensive coordinator Doug Martin is supposedly spreading the offense out... but, yeah, this is still Boston College.
B.C. quarterback Chase Rettig put up one of the worst ratings in the FBS last year, but he's a year older and figures to be a bit better. This game will be a litmus test of sorts for Miami's revamped secondary -- B.C.'s top returning wide receiver averaged 47 yards a game last year, and if the DBs don't play relatively well against this group, it may be a bad sign of things to come. The Eagles are also replacing running back Montel Harris, one of the best players in school history. Junior Rolandan Finch ran for 4.5 yards a carry last year, but he's listed as probable for today's game and his availability is unknown.
Defense: B.C's defense was okay last year. Like Miami, their glacial pace make them seem a bit better on paper, but this was a genuinely good pass defense. The good news for Miami is that Donnie Fletcher -- probably the best corner on the team in 2011 -- is gone, and projected starter Albert Louis-Jean (a one-time Miami commit!) will miss today's game. The defense will also be replacing top 10 pick MLB Luke Kuechly, and though there is arguably more talent at linebacker than anywhere on this defense, they're still, you know, replacing Luke Kuechly. The Eagles were not a good run defense last year, which is encouraging for a Miami offense looking to answer questions about its running game.
Good news matchup for Miami: Boston College finished last year with nine sacks. Total. As a team. For the entire season. That number is going to come up by default in 2012. B.C. will also have defensive tackle Kaleb Ramsey healthy for 2012, and his presence alone will improve this line. But this is still a favorable matchup for a Miami team that is essentially breaking in two completely new tackles. Can Malcom Bunche and Ereck Flowers hold their own against a line who didn't have a single player finish with more than two sacks? I'd like to think so.
Bad news matchup for Miami: Let's flip it. B.C.'s tackles are both seniors. In fact, it's quite possible that neither side will record a sack in this game. Rettig isn't great, but Miami doesn't want any quarterback just standing in the pocket this year, because guys will be open downfield. The Eagles are younger along the interior of the line, but also made it through camp healthy there and in general could give a soft Canes line some trouble. If B.C. can pop four or five yards a rush and protect the passer, Miami's defense may be in for a distressingly long day.