The biggest factor going into Saturday's Boston College- Duke game may not be something either team can control. Mother Nature appears ready to blast North Carolina and the rest of the east coast with rain and wind. According to the National Weather Service, Hurricane Joaquin may or may not strike the Eastern coast, when and where is not clear at this time as multiple models show different trajectories. Right now weather.com is showing .25 inch of rain for Saturday with localized flooding. However these forecasts seem to be changing by the hour.
This type of weather affects the upcoming game for a multitude of reasons. One, if it rains heavy with wind, and if there is thunder and lightening, there may be a possibility that they are forced to postpone the game. This has happened before, but all of the games were cancelled. All of the examples I researched were out of conference games (Florida-Idaho, McNeese State-LSU, UCLA-Miami in 1998). Conference games are a different story, and for a team like Duke that needs the conference game and possibility of a win for a championship game shot. Right now the weather looks like the game will happen, but certainly with the changing conditions and forecasts it's worth considering.
Secondly, in-climate weather changes the way offenses will run. If there are 20+ mph winds, passing games are going to be neutralized, it's tough for QB's to get a good grip on a wet ball, and tougher to get it where they want it to go. Add to that young QB's like Thomas Sirk, Troy Flutie and Jeff Smith, and you may not have more than 25 passes thrown all game, and certainly not many deep balls where receivers will struggle to push off and get a good burst on soggy grass. A
Also wet weather is advantageous to a power running game. Good ball control, with less chance for the elements to factor in will be something that both coaches are going to want. Expect both teams to do a lot of straight runs, and to keep with the running back they trust most with the ball. That could be Tyler Rouse, Marcus Outlow or Myles Willis (who is questionable for the game). Given that the ball is slippery, look for far less of the option play as well, those fake handoffs can lead to fumbles and neither coach is going to want to give the ball away and pin their defense back.
Finally, the weather is going to neutralize Duke's homefield advantage. Last weekend Duke only had 20,000 against rivals Georgia Tech which is very low. This weekend's weather could be worse, and with an opponent that isn't a rival, Duke fans probably will be staying away, many to prepare their homes for a possible hurricane. Ticket sales are sagging already, and there are reports out that Duke has slashed ticket prices to get fans there. Will that be enough? Probably not so expect a quiet stadium on Saturday.
Weather is going to be a major factor in Saturday's game against the Blue Devils. In fact it may help Boston College, as BC can run their conservative rushing attack, and not have to worry about a ravenous rocking stadium. Should be interesting, certainly keep watching the forecasts.