Jeff: Since Virginia Tech beat Miami (Fla.) two weeks ago and the Eagles have gotten off to a 2-1 start against all Atlantic Division opponents, the 2009 ACC Championship game in Tampa is looking like it will be a rematch of the 2007 and 2008 versions. Boston College needs this game tomorrow against Virginia Tech tomorrow more than Virginia Tech needs it since they already have one loss in conference. Any chance that Virginia Tech comes out a little flat tomorrow and the Eagles improve to 5-1? Or can the Eagles even beat Virginia Tech on their best day?
Brian: First, I’m going to disagree here about who needs this game more. You said so yourself in our podcast this week that Virginia Tech probably needs to go 8-0 or 7-1 to win the Coastal Division. If they drop this game to Boston College, they will likely have to run the table or get some help from Miami to make it back to Tampa for the third straight season. Running the table will prove difficult with a road trip to Atlanta starring the Hokies in the face next week.
On the other hand, as Boston College already has the tiebreaker over both Florida State and Wake Forest, it looks like the winner of the Atlantic Division is going to finish at 6-2 (best case scenario) or 5-3. Boston College can drop this game and still win the Atlantic, as they will have an opportunity to make it 4-1 vs. the Atlantic with games coming up against NC State and Maryland. I also don’t see Wake Forest, Clemson or Florida State winning out in ACC play. The margin for error is much smaller in the Coastal this year, and with the game a home game for the Hokies, the margin for error is much smaller for Virginia Tech in their division race. The Hokies need this game more.
Jeff: Margin for error is smaller in the Coastal. If Virginia Tech beats Boston College and then loses to Georgia Tech, they might miss the ACC Championship Game at 7-1. On the other hand, the Eagles just need to win four of their next five in any possible combination to head to Tampa. The Eagles have no more dates to circle on the calendar in ACC play this year (except for NC State and the older players that might have been recruited by Tom O'Brien).
Brian: To answer your question, I will only give the Hokies a 5 percent chance of coming out flat against the Eagles tomorrow. They remember what happened the last time the Eagles came into Blacksburg and came away with the W. The Eagles are the last team to go into Lane Stadium and beat the Hokies. That’s plenty motivation to take into hosting the Eagles this weekend.
Jeff: The Hokies also remember what happened in the ACC Championship Game the last two years and they'd rather win the second time than the first. Frank Beamer's teams have always showed up for the conference games that really matter since joining the ACC just like their Miami game two weeks ago. We'll see how they come out tomorrow.
Brian: Sure the Hokies would rather win the second time than the first, but they have to win the first time to even have a chance at getting a second shot vs. the Eagles! It’s hard to beat a team twice in a season (as Eagles fans are painfully aware) but you can’t take anything for granted in the regular season. There's absolutely no shot the Hokies will be flat for this game. Virginia Tech will be ready to play.
This is a winnable game for the Eagles, but the Eagles will have to have a nearly perfect game on offense to pull out the victory. If not "nearly perfect," leaps and bounds better than the last time BC took their offense on the road. On defense, two injuries on defense worry me in particular. Damik Scafe isn’t even listed on the two-deep, while Alex Albright – nursing a sprained right ankle – is listed as probable and is listed as the backup defensive end on the two-deep. Roderick Rollins listed as questionable also has me worried. We’ll need a great game out of our secondary to have a chance at winning. Which Eagles unit has you worried the most?
Jeff: The Eagles defensive line is one area where we lack depth the most. Everyone on defense is going to need to step up to fill the void left by Albright and Scafe.
Brian: LA Times reporter Chris Dufresne has Boston College as one of the five most underrated teams of the college football season so far (along with Stanford, South Carolina, South Florida and Notre Dame). Your thoughts?
Jeff: I agree that Stanford and South Florida are underrated but I can't really agree with the Eagles being tabbed as underrated. They do not deserve to be in the top 25 right now but are getting some votes so I think that's right where they should be.
Jeff: Are you buying that the Eagles have figured out Virginia Tech? Or have the Eagles just had some good teams the last few years?
Brian: I think that Spaz’s defenses have excelled against Virginia Tech the last three seasons. But in those last three seasons, we had enough offensive firepower (read: Matt Ryan and a little Chris Crane) to beat the Hokies in the regular season. We’ll see how our "work-in-progress" offense plays tomorrow.
Brian: Redshirt freshman cornerback Uko Okpara has quit the football team to focus on school. Respect the move?
Jeff: Absolutely. Things like this happen every season.
Jeff: Tom O'Brien said this week "Nothing at BC surprised me. I'm surprised that you guys never pick them." Well said, right?
Brian: Jags winning 11 games in 2007 had to surprise O’Brien, no? I thought the ceiling at BC was 8-9 wins. Too soon?
Brian: The October 31 game against Central Michigan has been set for a 1pm start time. No chance this game ends up on television, right?
Jeff: I'm surprised after Central Michigan pulled off the win at Michigan State earlier this season.
Jeff: Good chance of rain tomorrow. Over/under one fumble by Shinskie? We saw what happened last time in the rain on the road.
Brian: I’ll push here. Shinskie is good for one fumble tomorrow.
Brian: Last one, the chic thing to do apparently is predict an overtime game this weekend in Blacksburg. You agree? What’s the final score tomorrow?
Jeff: Boston College wins 20-16.
Brian: Last week Jeff managed to crawl back into this year's Pick 5 challenge going 4-1 and making up 2 games in the standings. It's a ball game, folks. This week, Jeff picks first.
Boston College (+13.5) at Virginia Tech
- Auburn (-2.5) at Arkansas
- Alabama (-4.5) at Mississippi
- Duke (+15.5) at NC State
- Maryland at Wake Forest (-12.5)
- Connecticut at Pittsburgh (-7)
- Georgia Tech (+3) at Florida State
- Miami (OH) at Northwestern (-18.5)
- Oregon (-3.5) at UCLA
- Florida (-7.5) at LSU