Friday, October 9, 2009

BC at Virginia Tech: The pick

Boston College will roll into Blacksburg, the site of a great triumph two years ago, to try to take down the ACC's best team.  The Hokies are a well-deserved #5 in the country, having beat Miami and Nebraska, and losing close to Alabama.  Boston College, for their part, had one very rocky game in Clemson but otherwise have handled themselves fairly well.  This is by far BC's biggest game of the year to date, and probably the best team they're going to see all year (unless a bowl matchup has someone better in store, or they meet the Hokies yet again in the championship game).

Virginia Tech is looking to break their streak of three straight regular season losses to the Eagles in trying to stay ahead of the Miami Hurricanes and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Coastal, while Boston College could realistically find themselves ranked in the Top 25 (or close to it) with a victory.  There is a lot at stake in this critical ACC game for both teams in terms of divisional positioning and respect.  The Hokies are considered, rightly so, to be one of the best teams in the country but Boston College, on the other hand, is underrated by many fans and media analysts.

The Eagles' offensive rankings are not pretty, coming 95th in FBS football in yards per game and in points scored.  Quarterback Dave Shinskie, however, had a solid game against Florida State, backing up his solid performance in the prior week against Wake Forest.  Tyrod Taylor, on the other hand, has had a bit of an up and down ride this year.  While he shredded Duke's defense last weekend for 327 yards in the air, he passed for under 200 in all of the previous four games, and was held to under 100 yards in two of them.  I would qualify his season thus far as good and getting better, but somewhat strange when looking at the box scores.

This game will most likely come down to defense.  Both of these teams have pitched some impressive games, but BC's recent propensity to led leads slip away late is of some concern.  Virginia Tech, on the other hand, has faced some very stiff opponents and handled most of them, despite allowing Duke to rack up nearly 400 yards last weekend.

I don't expect a particularly high-scoring game, nor do I expect Virginia Tech to cover the 13.5 point spread.  I do expect a physical, relatively well-played game.  What I can't say, however, is if Boston College is ready to face a team of this caliber.  The Eagles have definite talent and are better than most people would give them credit for, but the Hokies are a tough, tough out.  I hope I'm wrong, and given my track record I probably am, but I believe the Hokies win a close game, though this is not necessarily a bad outcome for BC.  I think they will hang in there with Virginia Tech, and prove, if nothing else, that they are worth noticing in 2009.  I also would not be surprised if BC wins, and if that happens, perhaps the Eagles won't be so underrated anymore.

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