A few weeks ago the Boston College-Florida State game this coming Saturday looked like it might be a game day equivalent of “garbage time,” without there being much at stake for either team. But after FSU pulled off an upset over Miami on Saturday, and BC racked up a two-game winning streak following the return of Phil Jurkovec, Saturday’s matchup now has stakes for both teams.
With a bowl berth clinched at 6-4, Jeff Hafley said all the right things on Saturday about what that means for Boston College: they’re glad they have bowl eligibility, but that wasn’t the goal - now the focus is on having a “November to remember” and getting to a better bowl.
I am not sure how much of a difference there is between the various bowls BC is potentially in the running for. Jerry Palm of CBS has BC in the Sun Bowl against Oregon State; ESPN’s two writers have BC either in the Pinstripe Bowl or the Fenway Bowl. The Sun Bowl would be kind of neat but ultimately the landing spot doesn’t matter much.
But what would be a difference-maker - to me anyway - would be getting past that 7-win barrier that has been the upper limit for BC football for a decade now. With two home games and a bowl coming up, BC needs to go 2-1 to do it. 8 wins on the season would represent a building block for Hafley & co., and would be especially impressive in a season in which they lost 4 straight while Jurkovec was out.
But getting there won’t be easy.
On the other end of this week’s matchup, Florida State looked pretty unlikely to make it to postseason play sitting at 3-6 before Saturday’s game, but a big win over Miami now has them sitting at 4-6 and looking at winnable games against BC and Florida to end the year.
The Noles picking up the win this past Saturday adds some juice to the upcoming game at Alumni, but selfishly, it would have been kind of nice to see them fall to 3-7 and have little to play for at BC. We all know how much talent FSU has on the roster every year, and we’ve seen even mediocre Florida State teams come to Alumni and show off that talent through the years.
Redshirt sophomore QB Jordan Travis led an impressive winning drive for FSU to beat Miami at the end of Saturday’s contest, and comes in to this game with confidence. He’s a solid dual-threat QB with some good numbers on the ground (6 TDs) but less success through the air, throwing for about 136 yards per game. However, Saturday’s win over Miami was his best outing in terms of passing yards, going 18-for-26 for 274 yards, while also adding 62 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground.
Vegas has this as somewhere between a 2- and 3-point game with the Eagles slightly favored, which feels about right: FSU and BC are #55 and #57 in ESPN’s Football Power Index, and #63 and #64 in the Sagarin Rankings.
The optimistic BC fan would point out that these stat-based rankings are based on how BC performed without their talisman at QB, and will be looking at this game as one BC should win. If Jurkovec continues his form from Saturday in Georgia, it’s hard not to feel optimistic about BC’s chances.
BC and FSU kick off on Saturday at 12 PM on the ACC Network. As usual, we’ll have a full slate of articles leading up to the game, including an FSU Q&A, previews of the offense and defense, and breaking news and updates on BC’s depth chart throughout the week.