Several annual college football publications are on the shelves of bookstores or available online and while none is perfect — we learn that thanks to hindsight every year — there’s valuable information if you can account for uncertainty.
Here’s a look at how the writers at Athlon, Lindy’s, and Phil Steele feel about Boston College football ahead of a much-anticipated 2021 season.
Boston College is ranked No. 42 in Athlon’s preseason power poll. That is right around several other ACC teams (NC State 38th, Virginia Tech 40th, Pittsburgh 41st, Florida State 43rd, Wake Forest 46th), so he clearly sees a logjam in the league after Clemson, North Carolina, and Miami. Athlon projects BC will finish third in the Atlantic behind Clemson and NC State, with a record of 7-5 (4-4 ACC).
Within the ACC, Athlon gives BC the second best offensive line, the fourth best quarterback play, and the fifth best receivers. There are big concerns at running back and linebacker, it believes. Athlon gives BC the 9th-best offensive line nationally.
Athlon’s prediction is that BC will face Memphis in the Fenway Bowl.
In the BC-specific team preview Athlon gives the Eagles a chance to win eight games for the first time since 2009, although there are plenty of concerns about the defense.
All-Americans: C Alec Lindstrom (3rd)
All-Conference: All-purpose Zay Flowers (1st), OL Zion Johnson (1st), C Alec Lindstrom (1st), OL Ben Petrula (2nd), OL Tyler Vrabel (2nd), DL Marcus Valdez (3rd), PR Jaelen Gill (3rd)
Lindy’s considers Phil Jurkovec the No. 9 draft-eligible quarterback in the nation in advance of the 2022 NFL Draft. It also has Tyler Vrabel as the nation’s No. 9 offensive tackle prospect, Zion Johnson as the No. 4 offensive guard, Alec Lindstrom as the No. 5 center.
But in spite of those personal accolades for individual players, Lindy’s has BC No. 54 in its preseason power poll of all 130 Division 1 teams. However, it comes with the caveat, “If BC finds help for QB Phil Jurkovec and standout OL, this pick is too low.”
Lindy’s predicts BC will finish 5th in the Atlantic, which is the lowest selection for the Eagles out of all of these publications, with the note, “The Eagles feel like a team that is a year away from becoming a factor.”
It gives Zion Johnson the honor of being the best run blocker in the ACC. He is ranked as the No. 5 overall draft prospect in the league.
Lindy’s considers BC’s 2021 recruiting class the 8th-best in the league.
All-Americans: OL Zion Johnson (1st), C Alec Lindstrom (2nd)
All-Conference: WR Zay Flowers (1st), C Alec Lindstrom (1st), OG Zion Johnson (1st), OT Ben Petrula (1st), OT Tyler Vrabel (2nd).
Steele’s exhaustive annual project is hot off the press and the big takeaway is that he’s got NC State, Wake Forest, and Boston College tied for second in the ACC Atlantic behind Clemson. In other words, he thinks it’s wide open and doesn’t mind leaving it as a tie.
He ranks Phil Jurkovec as the No. 15 draft eligible quarterback in advance of the 2022 NFL Draft. He also has Flowers as the No. 16 draft eligible receiver, Trae Barry No. 29 at tight end, Alec Lindstrom No. 2 at center, Zion Johnson the No. 19 guard, Tyler Vrabel and Ben Petrula the Nos. 10 and 19 tackles respectively, Isaiah Graham-Mobley as the No. 32 outside linebacker, Brandon Sebastian as the No. 37 cornerback, and Jaelen Gill as the No. 20 punt returner.
In keeping with Steele’s theme of uncertainty and variance he says his “nine sets of power rankings” project anywhere between five wins and ten wins for Boston College. The uncertainty seems to be coming from a bit of tension. It seems as though Steele believes Boston College overachieved and played better than it really should have been last year. That could be cause for regression if some things don’t go their way. On the other hand, BC is now a much more experienced team and the number of All-ACC players is a very good sign.
He says BC has the No. 7 quarterback room nationally, the 18th-best wide receivers, and the No. 9 offensive line.
Steele says BC faces the 83rd-toughest schedule. Last year BC’s schedule ranked No. 57 nationally in difficulty according to Steele’s rankings. He lists BC as one of 25 teams with an 82% or better chance of having an improved record compared to last year.
Overall, Steele has BC as the No. 54 team nationally in his power rankings, which is actually quite a bit behind NC State and Wake Forest, the other teams he picks for second in the Atlantic.
All-Americans: OG Zion Johnson (1st), C Alec Lindstrom (2nd)
All-Conference: WR Zay Flowers (1st), C Alec Lindstrom (1st), OG Zion Johnson (1st), OT Tyler Vrabel (2nd), KR Travis Levy (2nd), PR Jaelen Gill (2nd), OT Ben Petrula (3rd), QB Phil Jurkovec (4th), WR Jaelen Gill (4th), P Grant Carlson (4th)