Boston College Eagles (4-5 SU, 3-5-1 ATS) vs. Florida State Sun Devils (6-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Friday, November 11, 2016 at 7:30PM EST
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, Florida
By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: BC +21/FSU -21
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Boston College Eagles come into Doak Campbell Stadium on Friday to face the Florida State Seminoles in ACC action. BC was up against it in a big way last Saturday in a 52-7 home loss to Louisville, with Lamar Jackson throwing for four touchdowns and running for 3 more. They're hoping for better results this week, but on the road against FSU might not be a great week to find relief. The Seminoles got out of week 9 with a narrow 24-20 comeback win over North Carolina State. The game was difficult all the way through for the 'Noles. Maybe the fact that FSU is coming off a really tough game will help a Boston College team that can use all the help they can get.
Boston College is trying to work on some different things. In the right spots, they can be halfway respectable. Against teams like Louisville, they're utterly out of their depth. Against good teams like Virginia Tech, Clemson, and the Seminoles, they've lost by a combined score of 157-17. Other than NC State, they've yet to make much impact in the ACC. When playing teams more in their realm, they can use a gritty defense to stay in games. But that delicate recipe for semi-success doesn't translate at the higher levels, like what they're facing with FSU.
The Boston College offense is pretty bleak and one of the worst in the country. QB Patrick Towles, a grad transfer from Kentucky, has been decidedly pedestrian. They have almost no aerial attack or at least not much to speak of. Towles can move nicely at times with his legs, but the ground-game, led by Jon Hilliman, has been more or less rendered moot. The line isn't particularly good at anything. They have covered just two spreads since September 10. Other than the points they put up against outgunned teams like Massachusetts, Wagner, and Buffalo, they haven't hit the scoreboards with much regularity.
The Boston College defense has been their bread-and-butter in recent seasons. It's just that the magic from that era is starting to wear off a bit. They could at least be counted on for that at some point. And still, in the right context, it's a "D" that can still show some upside. But it's been odd how badly it translates to good offenses or ones with just superior players. They had no answers whatsoever for Lamar Jackson who basically ran wild as he pleased. In three road games this season they are 2-1—for those interested in searching for the silver lining.
Also, it seems like whenever you identify a pattern in a season, it changes almost upon your acknowledgement of it. We see the Eagles getting lopsidedly beaten at the hands of the good teams they face, so when you project the same thing happening against FSU on the road, it makes sense. Then you tune in and see BC strangely gritty all of a sudden. Still, watching them against Louisville at home doesn't bode well for a great performance this week. but FSU is not quite as explosive offensively as a few of the teams that have wiped out BC this season, so we'll see.
Florida St. was unable to get into a groove against the swarming NC State defense. The Wolfpack "D" was all over Dalvin Cook and kept him in control for long stretches of the game, something not many opposing defenses have been able to do as of late. QB Deondre Francois also felt the brunt of the opposing "D" as he spent a lot of time on his back en route to the difficult win. But despite being battered in spots, Francois took control in the final quarter with a gutty showing. Francois really showed a different side to him in soldiering to the win, as the Seminoles continue to show their mettle with the ability to pull out hotly-contested games.
The FSU offensive line was not at its best on Saturday, as they allowed the NC State defense to dominate the game at times. And they weren't particularly effective in either springing a run game or in keeping Francois out of trouble. Cook did run in a late third quarter touchdown that put the Seminoles within 3 points. Francois was key and he threw for 330 yards, with his TD strike to Travis Rudolph being the go-ahead score. They're also getting a big spurt in the last two games from sophomore receiver Nyqwan Murray, who caught 9 balls for 153 yards on Saturday in the win.
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It remains to be seen if the Boston College Eagles can do anything about it, but this is not a vintage FSU defense by any stretch. The 20 points NC State scored was the most the Wolfpack had put up in over a month. Some point totals allowed this season have been really troubling, including 34 to Ole Miss, 63 to Louisville, 35 to South Florida, 37 to North Carolina, and 37 to Clemson. But again, those are some pretty offensively-gifted teams. And is Boston College's offense even in the ballpark? Then again, if BC can match NC State's offensive production, covering the spread this week won't be easy for the Seminoles.
On Saturday, FSU became bowl-eligible for the 35th consecutive season. The Eagles have some work to do if they want to be bowl-eligible this season. But winning this game in the state they're in seems like an awfully tall order. FSU can still make a push this season and is back at home this week. While BC might be scrappy, their half-dead offense is going to make it tough. I'm taking the 'Noles.
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