We’re still angry and dejected, but there are many games to be played, many more sorrows to be had, and so we must endure. Such is the life of a Boston College fan.
It’s the first road game of the season, as the Eagles travel to New Jersey for a 12 o’clock start, but it’s a bit of a homecoming for many players on the team. Rutgers enters the game 1-1 having had a bye last week, while BC is 2-1 after ...
Rutgers opened the season with a laughable 48-21 win over UMass, in which they saw themselves down 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. After last week, I hate to underestimate a team that had a close call against bad competition. UMass, however, followed up that performance with blowout losses to the directional Illinois school you’re not thinking of and Charlotte. They were then shutout on the road in Iowa 30-0 two weeks. This loss did come to a ranked Iowa team who was lights out on defense. The Rutgers defense though played pretty hard the first quarter and a half especially.
Backup sophomore quarterback Arthur Sitkowski will be starting this game after Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter was knocked out of the Iowa game with a head injury. Sitkowski threw 18 interceptions to only four touchdowns last year, and had the lowest quarterback ranking of any starter in the FBS. Eagle transfer Johnny Lanagan will serve as the primary backup. The backfield of Isaih Pacheco and Raheem Blashear are not as dangerous as Pooka Williams and Khalil Herbert were for Kansas, but BC made them look like gods amongst men out there. Nothing can be overlooked at this point.
The Scarlet Knights have not won a Power-5 game since defeating Maryland in 2017, but they will surely believe that BC is ripe for the picking after Kansas bucked a losing streak last week. Both teams are desperate. Both coaches are on the [extremely] hot seat. Chris Ash is 3-28 vs Power-5 teams, while Addazio is 21-38. Loser leaves town.
The rest of conference play begins after this, and so it’s critical to right the ship. This game is doubly significant because of how often BC and Rutgers clash on the recruiting trail. They can’t be happy about how well BC has done in Jersey and how often the staff has flipped a commit from Rutgers.
BC is better than they played last week [I think]. There were clearly other things at play in the collapse. They can and should win this game. There are no excuses.
1. How will the Eagles respond to the beatdown at home? It’s really the all-encompassing question, but needs to be asked no less. Coming off the meltdown at Purdue last season, BC had a less-than-convincing, uncomfortable 10-point home win over Temple if I recall correctly, and then lost on the road at NC State.
2. How does the defense respond? The performance has been picked apart at length. They couldn’t tackle, they played soft, and had more holes than a sieve. They were clearly surprised by what Kansas could do especially in the passing game, but that didn’t excuse the entire defense being all out of sorts. That cannot be the case again. After producing only one early turnover last week, let’s see if they can make some plays.
3, Can the Eagles put together two halves of decent offense? It’s been a tale of two halves in for both main games. One half looked good by all accounts, but the second has seen the team deviate drastically from what was working in the first. Where is the consistency?
4. Can we make two field goals in one game? It felt like it was all coming together beautifully about 5 minutes into the last game. Boumerhi nailed a 40 yard field goal. Everything was good in the world. But nothing good lasts. Early in the fourth quarter, a missed 31 yard field goal all but sealed any chance at a miraculous comeback. Forget the fourth down calls, just kick the field goals and see what happens. I need this.
5. Is there still a chance at 7 wins? My friend who declared “All roads lead to seven wins” on our way to Florida State last year, believes the odds every year should be this:
Under 7: +8000
7 exactly: -950
Over 7: +10000
I don’t know why the sportsbooks haven’t caught on yet. Yes, we’re a weird team, and the definition of mediocre. Weird losses like this happen (inexcusably far too often, in the Eagles case in this era). Given how poorly much of the ACC has played thus far though, seven wins is not out of the question. That being said, it might take a bowl game to get to that point.
Spread: BC -8.5
Moneyline: BC -340, Rutgers +280
No fun prop, just win
The game opened up with BC as a 6.5 point favorite and point total at 52. People are backing the Eagles. Those people are fools (I am too though). Also, ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives BC a 50.3% chance of winning this game.
Alright fine. Number of players to attempt a pass: o/u 2.5 (Over all three games so far)
Game margin difference between this game and our Big Ten/ACC Challenge game: +/- 7.5
Grant: 40 Rutgers - 21 BC
Arthur: 50 Rutgers - 12 BC [We will miss two extra points]
Niraj: 34 BC - 21 Rutgers [I’m upset, but not upset enough to pick Rutgers in a game]