As part of our September preview, Jeff and I both predicted 4-0 starts for the Eagles. But now it's time to look a October where the schedule gets significantly more difficult. BC has three ACC road games during the month of October, and two of those three games will be played in the two toughest venues in the conference -- Clemson's Death Valley and Virginia Tech's Lane Stadium.
October 1: Wake Forest
Brian: Everyone will be feeling pretty good about the Eagles football program once September comes to an end, especially with big victories over Northwestern and Central Florida in weeks 1 and 2, as well as getting into the ACC Atlantic Division win column with a W over Duke. I've gotta say though that I really don't think BC loses here hosting Wake Forest. Sorry Bill, but I just don't see it. Jim Grobe is a fine coach but the slide in Winston-Salem from ACC Champ to 3-9 chump is fairly dramatic, and I don't see Grobe turning things around this season. This will be BC's fourth home game in its first five games and on Parents' Weekend. There are very few fluky circumstances where I see the Eagles losing this game. The Wake D is just really, really bad. Last season, the Wake D gave up 48 to Duke, 68 to Stanford, 52 to Virginia Tech and 62 to Maryland. Rettig has a career day against a weak Wake Forest passing defense and parents and Superfans can leave this one at halftime. BC cruises to a 28-7 victory.
Jeff: I pretty much completely agree with you. This is certainly the game I am least worried about in ACC play. With it being Parents' Weekend there will be a good crowd and I think the possibility of a letdown is less in this game than against Duke. With what we know right now, Harris should be 100 percent or really close to it and the team will be more well rested after having played UMass the week prior rather than having played UCF on the road the week prior like before the Duke game. Wake Forest gave BC a lot of trouble while Wake was in its unprecedented run of success in football. More recently though Wake has not been as competitive and it turned out that they had a lot of NFL talent on those teams that competed with anyone in the ACC. I think Wake is back to a 6-6 type team or worse for the foreseeable future. BC wins this one 31-13.
October 8: at Clemson
Jeff: I have a feeling this will be our first disagreement on the schedule. I do think it is very likely that BC is 5-0 going into this game. The Clemson Tigers could be 2-3 with their victories come only over Troy and Wofford. Like the Eagles, Clemson will not have a bye week before this game but unlike BC, Clemson will have played three of its four toughest games of the season in the weeks leading up to this game. The Eagles will hopefully be healthier than they are right now. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine that the Tigers won't be a little banged up after having played Auburn, Virginia Tech and Florida State who are all ranked at this time. BC will kick Clemson while they are down sending them to 3-3 or 2-4 on the season in another typically close BC-Clemson matchup. BC wins 23-17.
Brian: I look at this very difficult stretch of three Eagles road games and am having a tough time coming up with more than one win. I just don't think that BC will escape Death Valley with a W this season. The bubble bursts in a back-and-forth type game, with the Tigers going on a long TD drive early in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. In a reverse of the 2007 game, BC tries to counter with its own scoring drive late in the game but comes up short. The Eagles are handed their first loss of the season in a highly contested game with Clemson.
October 22: at Virginia Tech
Brian: Bud Foster and the Hokies defense has absolutely OWNED Boston College the last two seasons. Hard to envision anything different happening this year. Even with the turnover on the offensive side of the ball, the Virginia Tech schedule is too creampuffy and all the toughest ACC programs -- Clemson, Miami, Boston College and North Carolina -- all come to Blacksburg to play the Hokies. Seriously, the ACC schedule makers have gifted VPI a ridiculously easy schedule and it's not too much of a stretch to predict the Hokies finishing the regular season at a perfect 12-0. Despite having an extra week to prepare, Rettig and Rogers can't crack the Hokies D, the Eagles special teams units don't come to play and Virginia Tech wins comfortably by two scores. BC falls to 2-2 in the conference and is very much looking up at N.C. State and Florida State in the ACC Atlantic Division standings.
Jeff: The last trip to Blacksburg was extremely painful to watch. Last year at least BC was in it for almost all 60 minutes. BC couldn't move the ball much but they were within striking distance. Rettig didn't play against the Hokies last season which I believe gives the Eagles a significant advantage. Rettig won't have flashbacks to the previous season and getting pounded by Foster's D as Shinskie did last season. As you point out, BC might end up finishing the year as the best opponent VT plays. Regardless of BC's bye week leading into this game, or the lack of quality opponents VT will see, I don't see BC winning hear. They will be competitive, but not get a victory. VT wins 24-13.
October 29: at Maryland
Jeff: Is this game more about how healthy the Eagles are and how they are playing or is more about how Maryland is playing? Randy Edsall is in his first season as Maryland's head coach. Will Danny O'Brien improve in his second season and be the best quarterback in the conference? Will Maryland be 6-1 (3-1 ACC) going into this game? Or will they be 2-5 (0-4)? Unfortunately for Maryland fans, I see the 2-5 scenario more likely. Coach Jags came into a good situation at BC after TOB left for a seemingly better opportunity. Friedgen was fired at Maryland after a few seasons on the the hot seat. It will take a few years for Edsall to get Maryland competing for championships and O'Brien will not be a Heisman longshot as some are currently predicting once we get to this point of the season. BC wins this game 23-14.
Brian: I agree with you here. I think this is the game BC has to have to deem this a successful season. It seems that Terps fans are riding a huge wave of preseason optimism thinking that they can compete with Florida State and Clemson for this year's Division title. Frankly, I see a lot more questions than answers for the 2011 Terps, and as you alluded to, I think Edsall will find it a difficult task to transform Maryland into a consistent winner. Taking a I-AA program and making the jump to I-A and building on Friedgen's success in a more legitimate BCS conference that includes Florida State, Clemson and Boston College on the Terps' side of the conference are two very, very different coaching orders. People need to remember that Maryland won several close games in 2010 -- should have lost to Navy, could have lost to Duke, might have lost to BC and probably would have choked away the regular season finale win against N.C. State if anyone other than Tom O'Brien was roaming the opposite sideline. I expect a regression back towards the mean and .500 football for the Terps this year, even with the Labor Day gift the NCAA just handed the Terps. BC wins in College Park to stop a two game slide and improve to 6-2 (3-2 ACC).