Boston College will look to clinch a winning season as they take on ACC newcomer in the #17 SMU Mustangs at Fenway Park. The Mustangs are 11-2, with losses to Oklahoma and TCU but also a victory over a ranked Tulane squad. This should be a good preview of the new-look ACC.
Offensively, SMU was led for most of the year by signal-caller Preston Stone, but he broke his leg in the regular-season finale against Navy. Backup Kevin Jennings stepped into the starting job and did not miss a beat — he led the Mustangs to their win over Tulane in the AAC Championship game. He brings a more dual-threat approach to the position, and he is surrounded by playmakers. SMU does not really have one go-to guy on offense. Every position is deep and full of contributors; there are five receivers with at least 400 yards and three more with at least 300. Of those 8 guys, all but one went for over 20 receptions. TE RJ Maryland led the way with 518 yards and 7 TDs, but big Jordan Hudson also reeled in 7 TDs. In the running back room, Jaylan Knighton compiled 720 yards and 7 TDs, and was aided by LJ Johnson Jr. and Camar Wheaton’s 544 and 410 yards, respectfully. BC’s defense will need to be dialed in to whoever is in the game, because SMU simply has so many playmakers all over their roster.
Defensively, this is a fun battle in the trenches. BC’s O-line was dominant all year long, and SMU’s D-line was second in the country with 47 sacks. How this matchup plays out will play a huge role in determining who emerges with the win. BC will need to establish its run game, because SMU’s secondary is a turnover machine — led by SS Isaiah Nwokobia’s four, the team has 11 interceptions. With Castellanos’ penchant for forcing throws, limiting turnovers will be key. If SMU’s D-line imposes itself and forced BC to throw the ball, it could be a very long game for the Eagles.
Ultimately, with BC sitting at +10, I’m taking SMU’s spread. I think a depleted BC secondary will get carved up by SMU’s offense, especially given BC’s struggles with mobile QBs. If BC turns the ball over once or twice, I think SMU covers easily. With Jaden Williams transferring and Ryan O’Keefe medically retired, there is little depth in the receiving room as well. Against an SMU squad who will be fired up about missing out on a New Year’s Six bowl and hungry to prove they belong in their new league, I don't have a lot of faith in the Eagles.
Picks: SMU -10, O 49.5