Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis has to step up to help replace Luke Kuechly. (AP Images)

Miami at Boston College

Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN2)

Spread: Miami by 2

Watchability: One of two ACC conference games on opening weekend, it’s a rematch of the last game for each team -- a 24-17 upset win by Boston College at Miami to end last season. Both teams are in danger of a long season if they don’t get off to a fast start. A high level of urgency for the opener makes this a compelling game.

Shining stars: Miami: RB Mike James had 275 yards rushing last season as a backup to Lamar Miller. The job is his this season, and he’s starred in preseason scrimmages, scoring four touchdowns and holding off a challenge from true freshman Duke Johnson. Boston College: WR Alex Amidon will be the go-to guy for QB Chase Rettig now that Bobby Swigert is out with a knee injury. “It’s his third year coming in,” coach Frank Spaziani said. “We had to play him as a true freshman. It’s about time guys mature in programs. It’s time for Alex to mature and show what he can do.”

Who could steal the show: Miami: LB Denzel Perryman was second on the team last year with 69 tackles. The sophomore bulked up over the offseason and added 20 pounds of muscle. He’ll play the MLB position and could be a breakout star. Boston College: LB Kevin Pierre-Louis isn’t playing the position vacated by current Carolina Panthers MLB Luke Kuechly, but he’s the top returning linebacker. He was second to Kuechly last year with 74 tackles, but he missed three games with injury. He’ll have to step up his production and stay healthy this season.

You going? Ranking the road trip: Last year, Boston College averaged 9,000 unsold seats in the 44,500-seat Alumni Stadium, and the Eagles drew just 200 fans to their spring game. While the energy level will be low, be sure to head to the top of the upper deck on the west side of the stadium to get a view of the Boston skyline.

Magic number for Miami: 52. Boston College scored 18 points per game against everyone else it played last year, but the Miami defense has given up 52 points to the Eagles in their last two meetings, both Boston College wins.

Magic number for Boston College: 98.5. The Eagles return 98.5 percent of their offensive yards from last season. But the players who produced 20 percent of those yards -- WR Bobby Swigert and TE Chris Pantale -- are out, and RB Deuce Finch, who produced another 22 percent of them, has battled injury throughout preseason practice.

The game comes down to: The replacements. Miami RB Lamar Miller was the ACC's second-leading rusher last season, and Boston College LB Luke Kuechly led the planet in tackles. Both are gone, and Mike James will be trying to run through Boston College's rebuilt linebacker corps. 

Our Prediction: Miami 24, Boston College 17

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from ACC bloggers Shawn Krest and Sean Bielawski, follow @CBSSportsACC.