The Boston College Eagles hosts former Big East foe Pittsburgh on Friday night (7 p.m. Eastern, ESPN) in the first meeting between the two teams in nearly a decade. Both the Eagles and Panthers finished with identical 7-6 records in 2013, Pitt's first season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The comparisons don't stop with the programs' 2013 records. Both BC and Pittsburgh are similar ground-and-pound teams committed to establishing the run and controlling the clock. Pitt rolled up over 400 yards on the ground in its 2014 opening weekend victory over FCS Delaware, including 153 yards and 4 first-half touchdowns from starting running back James Conner. Not to be outdone, Boston College gained 338 yards on the ground and 511 total yards in a 30-7 victory at UMass. Tyler Murphy led all Eagles ballcarriers with 13 carries for 118 yards and a score.
Pitt head coach Paul Chryst begins his third year at the helm of the Panthers football team, having gone 6-7 and 7-6 in his first two years in the Steel City. Like BC, Pitt lost quite a bit of talent from last year's bowl team, including the school's most decorated defensive player in program history (DT Aaron Donald), its starting quarterback (Tom Savage) and star wide receiver (Devin Street).
Savage is replaced by sophomore Chad Voytik, who wasn't really tested in the opener against Delaware (10-of-13, 84 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) -- playing just three quarters before giving way to backup Trey Anderson. Street is replaced by start WR Tyler Boyd, who was limited by a dislocated finger suffered in the first half of the Delaware game (2 catches, 18 yards, 1 TD). He's expected to be ready to play tonight.
Having a year up on BC in the rebuilding process, Chryst's Panthers probably have the edge in talent ... at least on paper. But Addazio and the Eagles punched above their weight playing at home last year, finishing with a record of 5-1. The lone blemish on the Eagles' home schedule a 14-point loss to eventual National Champion Florida State.
Pitt owns a slight 19-16 edge in the all-time series and has won three straight and four of the last five. However, it's Boston College that finished with a 8-5 advantage in the Big East series. The series is knotted at 5-5 over the last 10 games.
Game Time, TV channel: 7 p.m. Eastern, ESPN
Previews: Opening Odds, Game Week Intro, Depth Chart, Q&A with Cardiac Hill, Film Study, Kickoff Links, Addazio Press Conference Transcript