The college football season may still be weeks away, but Telegraph reporter Coley Harvey is here to start getting you ready. As teams across the ACC prepare for the ACC Kickoff in Greensboro, N.C. on July 25-26, they can’t help but turn their attention toward the fall. With the conference as competitive as it has ever been, the ACC schedule boasts several key matchups this year that could help determine its eventual champion. Here is game No. 10 on our countdown:
No. 9 — Virginia Tech at Boston College
Date: Sept. 25
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich is expected to return to full health this season. Photo Credit: bostonherald.com
Last meeting: For Boston College, 2009’s Blacksburg beatdown is one the Eagles hope to never witness again. With the combination of a stifling, pass-rush focused defense and a balanced, prolific offense, Virginia Tech easily felled Boston College at home, 48-14. Third downs were problematic for the Eagles who were 1-for-13 on the day. Meanwhile, the then-No. 5 Hokies converted scores from the ground and air, with freshman running back Ryan Williams tallying 159 yards rushing along with his touchdown.
Recent history: The pair have had a spirited series the last six seasons, splitting their eight games in that stretch with four wins a piece. Two of those meetings came in the ACC championship, with the Hokies taking both games, and scoring 30 points both times.
What’s at stake: As is typically the case when the teams meet there is plenty on the line. Although it is an early-season meeting and the first conference contest for either school, this game should give both a good idea where they stand in the ACC. Virginia Tech, fresh off a 10-3 campaign last season is considered a favorite to win the Coastal Division and return to the title game after a year absence. Boston College, a year removed from an eight-win season that saw them compete without star linebacker Mark Herzlich, is expected to see significant success in the Atlantic Division. The Eagles will also be in their second season under head coach Frank Spaziani.
Subplots: In addition to the impact this game could have on the early ACC race, likely the biggest subplot looming throughout the season for Boston College will be that of Herzlich’s story. Now in his final season, the noted defensive leader will be making a much-anticipated return this year following a yearlong layoff. This will be his first ACC game in nearly two years. In May 2009, he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a malignant tumor most often found in bone or soft tissue. After therapy and long recuperation process, he was cleared around Thanksgiving to play this coming season. On the field for Virginia Tech, this will be a key moment for the Hokies to prove they haven’t lost as much offensively as pundits may think. This will be a real test for their new, younger offensive line and growing offensive stars Tyrod Taylor (quarterback) and Williams.