The Atlantic Coast Conference media has picked the Boston College Eagles to finish eighth out of fifteen teams in the 2013-14 ACC Preseason Poll.
The Eagles narrowly trailed seventh-place Maryland in the ballot, while leading ninth-place Florida State by a sizable margin.
The Duke Blue Devils were selected to win the conference with newcomers Syracuse picked second.
No Eagles were named to ACC preseason teams, including Olivier Hanlan. Hanlan did, however, receive three votes for ACC Preseason Player of the Year.
Being picked eighth in a conference of fifteen puts you literally in the middle of what happens to be a very strong league. The vast majority of the seven teams in front of Boston College in this ballot this year are expected to be named to the NCAA Tournament in March 2014. This ranking is not unfair to the Eagles because it states effectively where they are right now, which is to say a borderline tournament team themselves.
For the past two seasons, expectations were low and had to remain low out of necessity. Now, the rebuild of the program is beginning its end and the Eagles will soon be expected to contend. This is the year they must take their leap forward; if they do not make the tournament, they had better come close to set themselves up for what absolutely must be a tournament-qualifying 2014-15 season.
Preseason polls mean little and are often the source of mockery late in seasons for the one or two teams on which it inevitably misses badly, but what it does say to us is that some are beginning to take notice of Boston College.