Jeff: Tomorrow the Eagles play UCF in Orlando at their relatively new on campus stadium. With an 8 PM kickoff and ticket sales strong for the game, BC will be playing in a somewhat hostile environment. It will be Chase Rettig's first chance to win a game in a tough environment as the Syracuse faithful didn't really come out in full force for the BC game last season. UCF is the defending Conference USA Champion and is coming off a program-defining win against Georgia in their Bowl game. UCF is a good team despite some offseason losses.
Last season, Conference USA as a whole managed four victories over BCS AQ schools. Kansas, N.C. State, Notre Dame and Georgia all lost to a C-USA team in 2010. Other than the Kansas victory, the other games were won in overtime, by one point and by four points, respectively. None of those schools finished the season ranked but clearly when the defending conference champion matches up against an ACC team that has played in 12 straight bowl games, it is a chance to make a statement.
With UCF carrying the C-USA flag as well as their own flag into Saturday night's matchup, is there too much pressure on the team to beat BC? And do you think think the team and the conference might be a little overrated given that in retrospect, last season's wins against BCS AQ schools turned out to not be too impressive?
Brian: Second part first. Hats off to the Knights for winning 11 games last year, but none of their victories last season seemed all that impressive. None of UCF's wins last year came over teams that finished with a winning record. Memphis went a paltry 1-11 last year. Buffalo went 2-10. UAB, Rice and Tulane won 4 games last year. Marshall and Houston won 5. East Carolina ... 6-7. Georgia too. Conference USA West champ SMU finished an even 7-7.
UCF dropped both of its marquee games last year -- a 28-21 loss to N.C. State and a 17-13 loss at Kansas State. Given the Knights abysmal record against the Big Six, at least historically, I wouldn't say that the conference as a whole is overrated, but I'm not overly impressed, either.
That said, this is a huge game for UCF and the program's aspirations. I think the players know what is at stake and they'll be ready to play on Saturday night under the lights of Bright House Networks Stadium. This year's UCF team has a lot of talent, and there's clearly a reason why the Knights are currently considered more than a touchdown favorite over BC. So I don't see UCF cracking under pressure in this one. This team will be ready to play.
However, while BC is a dog in this one, I expect the Eagles to come to play too tomorrow night. I liked what I saw from Rettig last week and other guys will step up in the receiving corps to make up for the loss of Momah. I also like Andre Williams to have a better game and for the offensive line to recover from a so-so performance against Northwestern.
This game is going to come down to play in the trenches and there are currently a lot of bruised egos on both sides of the Boston College line. I'm not going to predict an outright BC victory ... yet (get back to you on that tomorrow), but I'm fully expecting a much closer game than Vegas would have you believe. That point spread seems to be an overreaction to last week's loss combined with the fact that both Montel Harris and Ifeanyi Momah are out.
Brian: The Nittany Lions take a 23-game home nonconference home winning streak into this weekend's game against Alabama. Penn State's last loss was September 6, 2003 vs. BC in a game you and I attended. The Lions can kiss that win streak goodbye after this weekend, right?
Jeff: Yep. Alabama is elite. Penn State is a stretch to be in the top 25.
Jeff: The Boston College men's ice hockey schedule came out today. Any highlights in your mind?
Brian: Every game in 2011. The schedule is extremely front-loaded this year, starting with the Ice Breaker and a possible matchup against North Dakota. Playing at Notre Dame on Holy War Friday will also be great as the Irish open a brand new arena.
Brian: BC football has had a good run this past decade+, but are we starring at the beginning of an era of mediocrity?
Jeff: I'm not justifying that question with an answer. Most people predicted the Eagles to be 7-5 or 8-4 and split the UCF/Northwestern games. If they still split no reason to give up.
Brian: Holloway has a much better shot of making a name for himself on the D Line this year. We need guys to step up up front.
Brian: The BC men's soccer team travels to College Park tonight to take on Maryland in a battle of top 10 teams. Do the Eagles emerge victorious?
Jeff: Sure! Go BC!
Jeff: Despite Momah being out, do you think the Eagles will actually be healthier tomorrow overall than in Week 1 and therefore Knights fans should be a little concerned?
Brian: BC has played well with its back up against the wall time and time again. I expect no different tomorrow. If UCF isn't concerned, then I don't know what to tell you.
Brian: Last one. Prediction time. The Eagles are 7.5 point dogs on the road tomorrow night in Orlando. Do they cover the spread?
Jeff: Absolutely. I think BC is a coin flip or better to win this one. Momah had a good game but Larmond, Jr. will be much more effective with another game under his belt.
Brian: Last week we started the 2011 Pick 5 season with me going 2-3 while Jeff got the ATL curse, going just 1-4. I'm up first this week and am going with the SBN Conference Re-Draft Twelve Pack special. BC, Georgia and Texas all cover.