ACC Football notebook

Eagles are down on the count

By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / July 26, 2011

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PINEHURST, N.C. - The media think that Boston College has the best player in the Atlantic Coast Conference - running back Montel Harris. They also think the Eagles have the third-best player in the conference - linebacker Luke Kuechly.

One media member - WEEI’s Jon Meterparel - even voted that the Eagles would win the ACC championship, ahead of overwhelming division favorites Florida State (Atlantic) and Virginia Tech (Coastal) and lukewarm choice Clemson.

But as another college football season nears, once again the Eagles as a team aren’t receiving much preseason love in the ACC, even though they have finished first or second in the Atlantic Division five of the six years they’ve been in it. BC was picked to finish fourth in the Atlantic this season.

At yesterday’s media session with the coaches, BC’s Frank Spaziani was asked why his team doesn’t get much respect, despite a track record of regular-season success.

“We’re new to the scene,’’ said Spaziani, searching for an explanation seemingly without much conviction. “The familiarity with everything is different. And we are removed. A lot of history goes with a lot of teams in this conference. I would probably be doing the same thing if I were in your [media’s] shoes.’’

The Eagles were picked to be behind Florida State, Clemson, and North Carolina State in the Atlantic. Virginia Tech and Miami were the top picks in the Coastal.

Florida State was the runaway choice to win the conference title.

Different views Kuechly and Harris were asked whether they favored a playoff in college football, and they gave different answers.

“I think it would be great,’’ said Harris.

“I like the bowl experience,’’ said Kuechly, who has bulked up to 237 pounds as he begins his junior season as one of the favorites to win the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college football.

“I like the idea of a trip to a neat city like we did last season in San Francisco [the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl]. I enjoyed it all. I like the bowl system.’’

Kuechly, who led the country in tackles last season, was asked about his high numbers each week. “My dad gets on me and said that we’re [BC] padding the numbers,’’ said Kuechly with a laugh. “He said there was one game when he counted only eight and they gave me 15.’’

Liking what he sees Former UConn coach and new Maryland head man Randy Edsall said he was impressed with his new quarterback, Danny O’Brien, from the start. “At our first meeting, I asked if there were any questions and he raised his hand and said, ‘When are you going to hire an offensive coordinator and when can I see the playbook,’ ’’ said Edsall. “That’s the kind of QB I want.’’ . . . Ex-BC coach and North Carolina State head man Tom O’Brien continued to dodge questions on the departure of veteran QB Russell Wilson, who will play at Wisconsin. “Russell is a great player and I hope he can help Wisconsin win the Big Ten,’’ said O’Brien. “But Mike Glennon has shown us he is ready to be a QB at this level.’’

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at