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Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Clemson?: BC-Syracuse Game Preview

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NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles head to Upstate New York to take on the Syracuse Orangemen on Saturday. Yes, you read that correctly, and no, it is NOT Thanksgiving, but feel free to eat as though it is. BC has the good fortune of playing this game off another bye week. Yes, you also read that correctly. Syracuse (3-5), meanwhile, has lost three straight games, at NC State, home to Pitt, and at Florida State last week.

BC won the last meeting at the Carrier Dome in 2017 in dominating fashion, but the results in the Addazio-era have been bleh. He is 2-4, with three one score losses and two not-even-close wins.

The State of the Rivalry ft. John Cassillo

For some reason, people like asking for our opinions, and so we’ve just asked for some thoughts in return. Thanks to John Cassillo, the managing editor from Syracuse’s SB Nation blog “Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician” for his take on the BC-Syracuse “rivalry” and tomorrow’s big game. Be sure to check out his Q&A with us on their site, where I compare the rivalry to two exes who can’t seem to find anyone better.

This game’s a rivalry -- the primary rivalry for both teams -- because they don’t have other options, really, and college football is at least partially dependent on having opponents that mutually dislike one another. The typical timing of this game prevents it from becoming a bigger deal for students, since they’re not on campus when it occurs. So in the instances when it’s mid-season, it can’t just manufacture animosity. It would work if we were two nearby state schools, but we’re not, so we deal with what we have.

I know that SU beating BC more often than not is a sticking point for those that want Steve Addazio gone, and I don’t blame them. Would probably feel the same way at SU if a coach struggled to beat an in-conference and recruiting rival more than once every three tries. That’s not a dig. Just empathizing with the situation, and agreeing with the negative feelings.

As far as this specific game goes, I’m oddly hopeful that Syracuse can slow down A.J. Dillon enough without much of a passing attack to worry about, and the offensive line provides enough protection to make the offense look less downtrodden than it has in recent weeks. That won’t mean a resounding win, but I think (perhaps against my better judgement) that the Orange get the job done at home, 34-30.

What to Watch for:

I think there are a few intriguing match-ups to watch out for. The Syracuse offensive line vs. our defensive line is the first. Syracuse ranks dead last in the nation in sacks allowed at 5.25 a game (thank you, Brian for this factual), but well BC doesn’t exactly generate many sacks themselves. The flip side of this match up is where I think BC will need to dominate to win this game. Syracuse has been pretty porous stopping the run these past few weeks especially giving up over 200 yards on the ground to Cam Akers and co. at Florida State, and over a hundred the two weeks prior. You have to love BC’s offensive line and rushing attack against them.

I hope linebacker Isaiah McDuffie can play in this game. He dressed during last week’s bye week, but didn’t end up taking the field. Given this would be his own sort of homecoming being relatively from the area and having decommitted from Syracuse, it would be great to see him see get action for the first time this season. He’ll still have two years of eligibility if he only plays in four games. Addazio seemed to hint at him being ready to play.

The Oddsmakers:

Spread: BC +3

Straight: BC+135/Syracuse-160

Over/Under: 60

How many oranges can an eagle peel in three hours?: o/u: 140

At 4-4, the Eagles desperately need to take this game for a good shot at getting a bowl game. None of these winnable games are going to be easy, so I think we can rest a little easier (everything else aside) having this game in the bank.

Staff Predictions:

Niraj: BC 30 - Syracuse 27

Arthur: Syracuse 21 - BC 20 (missed XP)

Grant: BC 31 - Syracuse 30

Us, Syracuse.

Please, please, please. Win, win, win. Go Eagles!