Jeff and I gaze into our crystal balls to determine what will happen during Boston College's upcoming football season. Yesterday, we took a look at the games of September. Both Jeff and I have BC at 3-0. Today, we take a look at the five games of October.
October 2, 2010: Boston College vs. Notre Dame
Jeff: When we get to the Notre Dame game, everyone will be on a huge high with BC football because the team will be coming off a win against a ranked Virginia Tech team. Or there will be a lot of haters saying it could be a long season if we stand at 2-1, especially if Virginia Tech loses to Boise State this weekend. I don't think Notre Dame will be a problem for BC regardless of our record going into the game though. Shinskie has played well at home for the most part and the team should have beaten Notre Dame last year. This year, BC is probably more improved than Notre Dame is and the game is in Alumni Stadium instead of out in South Bend. I like the Eagles to win here and get to 4-0.
Brian: I also like the Eagles to win here to get to 4-0. The main reason is because like you said, Jeff, the Eagles left a ton of points on the board against Notre Dame last season. You aren't going to win many games when you lose the turnover battle 5-0, especially with some costly turnovers that would have otherwise resulted in BC points (the Montel Harris fumble at the 1 really killed BC's chances in that game). The Eagles coughed the ball up 5 times last year and still managed to lose by just 4 points. This year, I expect BC to even out the turnover battle and win in a lower scoring affair, a la BC's 17-0 win over Notre Dame in 2008.
October 9, 2010: Boston College at N.C. State
Brian: Every year when we get to the N.C. State game, I'm tempted to predict that Tom O'Brien and the Wolfpack will finally get over the hump and knock off his former team. The Wolfpack came close two years ago when BC last visited Raleigh, when the Eagles won a wild 38-31 game over TOB and N.C. State. If recent history is any gauge of future success, however, I just don't see O'Brien getting in the W column against his former program. Montel Harris ran wild against the N.C. State defense last season, to the tune of 264 yards and 5 TDs. The Wolfpack had no answer for Montel. With a depleted defense, I don't see N.C. State coming up with an answer for the BC rushing attack. So long as BC stays conservative and doesn't ask Shinskie or Marscovetra to win the game for them, I see the Eagles winning by 1-2 touchdowns to move to 5-0 on the year.
Jeff: NC State will be coming off playing a Thursday night game against Cincinnati, then two likely to be ranked teams in Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Does that mean the Wolfpack will be on a 3 game slide and 2-3 on the season facing BC? If so, a loss for the Pack would out TOB on far thinner ice than he is already on. I don't think the Pack will lose to BC though. BC hardly ever wins the games before and after the Notre Dame game. Add to that I don't think we have an experienced enough team to be good on the road so I think we'll get tripped up in our first trip away from Chestnut Hill this fall. 4-1 is still a good start, but losing to N.C. State is not the loss that many people would have expected of our first five games.
October 16, 2010: Boston College at Florida State
Jeff: In my opinion, the road date at Florida State is clearly BC's toughest game of the season. Second being Virginia Tech at home. With a little more excitement around the program following Bowden's departure, I think the Eagles will have to beat the Seminoles on the field and the crowd which will be rocking for a matchup featuring two ranked teams. Florida State might have two losses coming into the game but given their schedule, they will be ranked especially if Miami is still highly ranked when they meet the week prior to the BC game. Once again, the road will be a tough place for this team this season. FSU will be by far the toughest of our road games and I don't see BC coming out with a victory. Later in the season, BC's road games are against teams that might not have much left to play for. With a large crowd against them, this Eagle team will probably not come out of Tallahassee with a victory leaving them 4-2 on the season.
Brian: The Florida State game was the one game that I predicted incorrectly in 2009. Being so close to perfection stung a little bit, but I'll certainly take a BC win over being wrong in my preseason prognostications. This year, sadly, I'm going to double down on my prediction from last season and predict an Eagles loss in Tallahassee. For many of the reasons you said Jeff about the Eagles recent performances on the road, I don't see BC coming back from their road trip to Florida with a W. The Seminoles defense was dreadful last season, but Shinskie and the Eagles were only able to score 28 points on FSU last season. This year, the defense will be improved under first year coordinator Mark Stoops, and I don't see the Eagles being able to outscore an impressive FSU offense. BC falls to 5-1 on the year, but all hope is not lost in the ACC Atlantic Division race, especially with a win over Virginia Tech in the ACC opener.
October 23, 2010: Boston College vs. Maryland
Brian: I see this game very clearly. BC struggled to put away the Terrapins last year, winning by 2 on the road. I fully expect that winning margin to increase in 2010. The Terps have never knocked off the Eagles in Chestnut Hill and I don't see that streak being snapped this year. Maryland will be an improved team in 2010, if for no other reason than the fact that there's nowhere to go but up from a 2-10 season. I'm expecting some regression back towards .500 for Maryland this year, but this isn't a game I think Maryland can win. The Eagles win by 2 scores to push their record to 6-1, 3-1 ACC.
Jeff: Nothing cures a losing streak these days like a home game against Maryland. The Eagles should be able to bounce back easily once they return to the friendly confines of Alumni Stadium. Many people are whispering that Maryland might be better than some people think but I simply do not see it. I think that Maryland has been on a slide for several years and really just had certain team's numbers to give them a better record than perhaps they even deserved. BC will be able to improve to 5-2 on the season and 5-0 at home. After losing to NC State and possibly saving TOB's job for the moment, they might help hammer the nail in the coffin of Ralph Friedgen's career at Maryland. Shinskie should put up some good numbers in this game, quieting the critics after losing two games in a row. Montel Harris will also go over 1,000 yards rushing on the season in this game.
October 30, 2010: Boston College vs. Clemson
Jeff: With Clemson coming to town to wrap up October, BC will be 2-2 in conference but only 1-2 in the Atlantic Division. Fortunately, if BC can get past Clemson, their remaining games look more than winnable. BC is undefeated against Bowden-coached Clemson teams and winless against Swinney-coached Clemson teams. They really need to put an end to that second streak by getting a W that will be much needed for the Eagles to head to Charlotte. This could be a very hyped game or an afterthought nationally depending on both team's records and BC's storylines like Mark Herzlich and what kind of numbers Montel Harris is putting up to this point in the season. Clemson could be 6-1 or 3-4 with losses only coming to ranked teams heading into this game. Regardless of their record at the time, I think the Eagles will take care of their home field as it gets a little chilly for the boys from South Carolina. Spiller gave the Eagles fits as he did most teams and with him gone, there won't be any kickoff returns to beat us. BC improves to 6-2 on the season and has a division title back in its sights after this game.
Brian: I think BC's record against Swinney-coached Clemson teams is a bit of an aberration, mostly because BC probably still loses to the Tigers two years ago with either Bowden or Swinney coaching the team. The big advantage for the Eagles in this matchup is Clemson's loss of their home-run hitters C.J. Spiller and Jacoby Ford. I think without being able to rely on Spiller, QB Kyle Parker will struggle to establish the Tigers offense. Statistically, Parker wasn't much better than Shinskie was last season, and I don't particularly think the hype surrounding Parker is justified. Throw in a brutal early season schedule and the Tigers could be playing for nothing more than pride against BC if they drop early ACC games to Miami, Georgia Tech and North Carolina (as I expect they will).
While the Eagles struggled against Clemson in Death Valley last season, the BC defense was just as effective at stopping the Tigers offense as the Clemson D was at stopping the Eagles. Add in a bit of the home field advantage that you talked about Jeff, and I see the Eagles winning a very low scoring affair. BC moves to 7-1 on the year and is in contention for another Atlantic Division crown when the calendar turns to November.