Monday, September 20, 2010

Virginia Tech at Boston College: Primer

This weekend, the real (as in, conference) games begin, though admittedly, we head into the much-anticipated game against Virginia Tech with it holding a lot less luster. The Boston College Eagles are 2-0, having beaten both Weber State and Kent State, despite not putting forth as complete an effort as they could have. Nevertheless, that’s better than where the Hokies sit at 1-2, after having opened up the season with a last-minute loss to Boise State and a devastating home loss to FCS also-ran James Madison. Their first win of the year came at home against East Carolina on Saturday, which is good if you believe that that’ll make VT less desperate to win next weekend (and I am not one of those people).

Last year, these two teams met at Lane Stadium on a dreary, muddy day in Blacksburg, Virginia, and the Eagles got their asses stomped. This game is at Alumni Stadium, long term forecasts suggest the weather will be better, and Virginia Tech no longer has that small number indicating a high rank next to their name. As such, the opening line for this ballgame is BC -2. I didn’t know which way they’d go with that, as BC is alright and VT clearly hasn’t played up to their capability so far, but evidently the Eagles being at home with the better record are very slight favorites.  For what little it's worth, BC opened last year's contest as 13.5-point underdogs.

This game is interesting for a number of reasons, the most interesting being that Virginia Tech is a wounded team looking for redemption. Sure, they were able to beat a decent ECU team over the weekend, but this is their first true road game, and they don’t want an 0-1 start in the conference to accompany a 1-3 overall record. Boston College is a team expected to contend in the ACC Atlantic this year and are a potential ACC Championship game foe for the Hokies. A loss here would be an ominous sign for their season (perhaps not a death blow, but a very bad sign indeed), so they’ll be very motivated to win in a stadium where they haven’t won since 2002. The Eagles are where everyone expected them to be at 2-0, but they certainly have something to prove as well, having come out of the ACC gate poorly last year. In short, it’ll have a lot of meaning for both of these teams; Boston College looking to show they’re here to stay, while the Hokies are just trying to keep their heads above water.

Last year, the Hokies looked like a team destined for the BCS once again (but followed their decimation of BC with two crippling losses), while the Eagles were a young team looking to reload. Now, the proverbial playing field is a lot more level. Gone are the days of VT being a top ten team, while BC are hoping to be improved. I’m not sure we know if BC is improved or not yet – they’ve only played two lesser opponents and didn’t thrill much of anyone despite solid victories. The Hokies, beaten up as they are, will be Boston College’s first real test.

The offenses are coming up tomorrow, and boy do we have a lot to break down.

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