Jeff and I gaze into our crystal balls to determine what will happen during Boston College's upcoming football season. Today we bring it home with BC's games in November. Here are our predictions for September and October. Heading into the home stretch, Jeff has the Eagles at 6-2 while I have a slightly more optimistic view at 7-1.
November 6, 2010: Boston College at Wake Forest
Brian: BC enters the final month of the regular season with a road trip to Winston-Salem. Allow me to state the obvious for a moment and say that the road schedule lightens up considerably down the stretch. While BC plays three of their final four games on the road, none of the November opponents went bowling last season. In fact, the Eagles final four opponents went a combined 14 games below .500 last season, with only Duke and Wake Forest getting to the 5 win mark.
Now BC historically has struggled against Wake Forest on the road, and the Eagles and Deacons have produced some of the wildest, strangest games over the past 7-8 seasons. While I hate to count a Jim Grobe-led squad out, I think BC matches up extremely well against Wake Forest this season. Gone is four year starting QB Riley Skinner and Grobe and the Deacon's offense figures to rely much more heavily on their rushing attack this season. I like BC to come away with the victory here. If you're looking for a letdown, WTF game, this one isn't it. BC handles Wake Forest to move to 8-1 (5-1 ACC) on the year and is in control in the Atlantic Division race after FSU loses to N.C. State the week before.
Jeff: If this game were earlier in the season, I'd be worried. As I said in earlier predictions I expect the road to give BC trouble just as it did last year, but in this case, by trouble, I mean it won't be a blowout win. I think if BC played Wake Forest in Alumni this season, we would be in for a completely lopsided game. On the road though, the game might be in question for a while but BC will ultimately pull out a victory. BC has too much talent compared to Wake this season that almost no matter what scheme the Wake coaches come up with, BC should be able to counter. If BC does stumble here, I think that might be the end of BC's hopes to return to the ACC Championship Game. I really don't see that happening though and with only Duke and Virginia left for conference games I think after this game fans can start looking into travel arrangements.
November 13, 2010: Boston College at Duke
Jeff: There is really no way to spin this game to get really excited about it. If BC win, the Eagles will be picking up their fifth or sixth conference win (most likely) which is huge in terms of going to Charlotte. But Duke probably won't win a game in October and will probably be 3-6 on the season and possibly worse heading into this game. Duke had a very competitive team last season, especially by their standards. This season however, some of their talent graduated and they are not to the point of being able to quickly replace key players and compete at the level they need to week to week in the ACC. BC will really be heading to Durham just to take care of business as many top tier ACC programs have always done in the past. Will Spaz be able to keep the team focused enough that we don't find ourselves trailing at halftime? We'll find out, but I don't think there's any doubt that BC will win the game and move to 8-2 on the season.
Brian: The Duke football program made some big strides towards respectability last season, finishing just a few wins shy of bowl eligibility. The problem for the Blue Devils is that they play in arguably the deepest division in college football. Not helping matters is the fact that Duke replaces N.C. State -- a program they beat last season -- with BC on the Atlantic side, as well as playing host to the preseason #1 team in the country. There just aren't many sure Ws on the 2010 Duke schedule, and I think you'll see the Blue Devils take a step back before they take a step forward.
As for this game, if college football is truly won in the trenches, then BC should be able to make quick work of Duke. The Blue Devils defensive line two-deep is stocked with true freshmen, and BC's offensive line should be able to open up plenty of holes for Montel Harris and Sterlin Phifer to run through. Shinskie leads the Eagles offense in a conservative ground attack, and the Eagles get out of Durham with a two touchdown victory. BC moves to 9-1 (6-1 ACC) needing a win in the ACC finale against Virginia to write their ticket to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game.
November 20, 2010: Boston College vs. Virginia
Brian: I have a ton of respect for first year coach Mike London -- a former BC staffer -- but I think it will be a tough first year for him in Charlottesville. Last season, BC struggled to a 4 point victory over the Cavaliers. With the Eagles drawing Virginia at home this season, I expect that winning margin to increase this year. BC will catch UVA looking ahead to their annual Super Bowl -- the Commonwealth Cup against Virginia Tech -- and cruise to a 2 TD victory. BC gets the victory, moves to 10-1 (7-1 ACC) and wraps up their third ACC Atlantic Division title in four seasons.
Jeff: There is a chance that BC will have the Atlantic Division wrapped up going into this game but that is probably somewhat of a remote possibility. At the very least they'll need someone else to lose in case they lose to Virginia. I don't think that this is really an option though when first year coach Mike London and his new team travel to Chestnut Hill at the end of November. Virginia won't be playing for bowl eligibility or anything at this point and BC should be able to control this game against a team that will be significantly over-matched by the Eagles. We have been stressing how important it is that we have an easy schedule this season and it's these final two games in ACC play where that really shows. We play two teams that are extremely unlikely to even be bowl eligible this season and BC may very well be at least two touchdown favorites in both contests. The ACC Atlantic Division race will clearly be decided in October for the Eagles even though it might not be wrapped up until this game.
November 20, 2010: Boston College at Syracuse
Jeff: The Eagles should be heading to the Carrier Dome looking for their tenth win of the season and looking ahead to the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. How will Spaz handle this potentially meaningless game? Hopefully the Eagles will put out a better effort than Clemson and Georgia Tech did going into last season's rematch in the ACC Championship Game. BC should be able to not bring their best game of the year and still come out with a win but I honestly wouldn't be shocked if they lost the week before heading to Charlotte. For prediction sake, I'll say the Eagles finish with a win and go 10-2 in the regular season but this is a toss up depending largely on what the Eagles and the Orange are playing for other than pride at this point in the season.
Brian: I think you're right, Jeff. Syracuse will have much more to play for in this game than BC. If we are to believe TNIAAM's Sean Keeley, Syracuse may very well be sitting at 6 wins heading into the season finale against BC. A motivated Orange squad -- hungry to become bowl eligible for the first time in six seasons -- puts together the perfect game plan against an unmotivated Eagles side, and Syracuse pulls off the upset. Here's your one WTF game of the year but this time (for once) it doesn't affect BC's ACC Title hopes. Other reasons for me to pick the Orange over BC: the Eagles' 2-10 record all-time in the Carrier Dome, BC's 2009 road struggles and sprinkle in some Big East-ACC divorce bad karma.