We are officially in the Back-9 of this Boston College football season and the Eagles seemingly continue to be hitting the ball into the rough.
Last weekend was another example of BC’s inability to do anything on the offensive side of the ball while the defense tried its mightiest to keep the Eagles in the game. The matchup against Louisville brought back sour memories of the 2015 Eagles squad, where we boasted the best defense in the country while simultaneously feeling depressed in trying to watch our offense move the ball down the field as they ranked dead last in offensive production that year. The last few weeks have had similar vibes.
Against the Cardinals, the Eagles did their job defensively by forcing four turnovers and giving the offense plenty of opportunities to capitalize. Yet, aside from the opening drive touchdown, Grosel and this offense were muffled by the Cardinals defense all game. And, as predicted in my last Pick ‘Em post, Malik Cunningham was eventually allowed enough time to find his stride and embrace his inner Lamar Jackson and start to make the gassed BC defense look silly and seemingly allow Louisville cruise to an 28-14 victory.
From a gambler’s perspective, the original narrative I drafted up in my head was about 50% accurate. I did not envision there being a lot of scoring this game, especially with the inclement weather, so hammering the under was the smart play. However, I was under the impression that BC could at least get SOMETHING going on offense and signs looked promising after that opening drive. Yet, I have been fooled one too many times by this team and they missed covering the spread by 8 whole points. With this offense lacking production, this makes looking ahead to next week’s contest a tad bit easier.
BC heads into the Carrier Dome this weekend after three straight losses in ACC play. As of Monday morning on Bet MGM, the Eagles enter as underdogs once again at +5.5. The O/U is currently at 51.5 for the game. Needless to say, these numbers seem appropriate given the matchup. Syracuse has been the better team here so far this season, and I think the spread should honestly be a point higher; we will see if that prediction comes true.
The Orange might be only a hair above us in the conference table with their record at 4-4, but they have had some extremely close contests that should have gone their way. Clemson and Wake Forest are the first two that come to mind. Clemson should have gone to OT but Cuse’s kicker shanked a tying field goal and Wake Forest was a game where the Orange had the lead in OT but dropped the game on a dime of a pass from Sam Hartman to the corner of the endzone to seal it for the Deacons. Overall, the Orange have had their fair share of opportunities squandered.
Looking at the statistics, Syracuse has one of the best pass rush defenses in FBS as they have 28 sacks on the season, equating to an average of 3.5 sacks per game. Defensive Lineman Cody Roscoe and Linebacker Marlowe Wax have been beasts of nature in the pass rush combining for 12.5 sacks on the season. As for the rest of the defense, they are rather solid all-around. Rushing defense they have allowed on average 132 YPG and in the air 192 YPG. And these statistics have come against some pretty solid competition in the likes of Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia Tech.
Offensively, this team has been trying to find its footing. Most of that revolving around who should be under center. Since week three, Tommy Devito, the Syracuse starter for the past three seasons, was benched for Mississippi State transfer Garrett Shrader. Shrader has stepped into the role rather nicely where he has a passer rating of 114, a TD to INT ratio of 7/3 and has thrown for just over 1,000 yards on the season. Meanwhile, Tommy Devito has just cast his name into the transfer portal most likely from seeing the offensive improvements Shrader has brought to the program. Yet, even with Shrader at the helm, the Orange still have their struggles in moving the ball as, just like the Eagles, do not crack the NCAA top-50 in offensive production. It has really been their defense keeping them in most games.
When it comes to prediction time, we once again run into a lot of unknowns on the BC side of the ball. Has the point come in the season where BC pats Grosel on the back for a valiant effort and then walks him to the bench to replace him with a fresh new starting QB? Or, do we continue this same song and dance we have seen for three weeks straight now: A stalwart defense left to carry the workload working in conjunction with a discombobulated offense.
Hafley has to make some tough calls here and who knows what he is going to do come Saturday. I would lean that he continues to put the ball in Grosel’s hands despite some backlash he might get from the fanbase. With this being my intuition and after what I have seen the past four weeks, I would say lean Syracuse and the under in this one. I just do not see BC having enough firepower offensively right now to feel comfortable in taking the over. Furthermore, I can imagine seeing BC steal this game on the road if their defense holds the ‘Cuse inside their own 50 all game which seems like a pipe dream at this point.
Final Prediction: Syracuse 30 vs Boston College 17 | ‘Cuse -5.5 | Under 51.5