Boston College Eagles (2-3, 0-5 ATS) at No. 16 Florida State Seminoles (5-1, 5-1 ATS), Week 7 College Foots, Saturday October 16th, 12:00PM Eastern Doak Campbell Stadium Tallahassee, F.L.
By Jay Horne, Professional Sports Handicapper of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: BC +21.5/FSU -21.5
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The no. 16 ranked Florida State Seminoles proved last week that they just may be the best team in the ACC after demolishing a top 15 ranked Miami Hurricanes team 45-17. The Seminoles made it look easy racking up 471 total yards against what many considered the best defense from the ACC in Miami. The Seminoles improved to 3-0 in conference play and appear to be the leaders in the ACC Championship race. The Seminoles will now return to Tallahassee to host the Boston College Eagles for an early 12:00 Eastern Time kickoff this upcoming Saturday.
Boston College on the other hand is winless in conference play and they were blown out by North Carolina State last Saturday 44-17. The Eagles have now dropped 3 straight games while being outscored 94-30 during that stretch. Boston College has just been flat horrible on the offensive side of the football averaging just 18 points per game. In fact the Eagles rank outside the top 100 in both rushing and total offense. Therefore it’s hard to place any blame on the Boston College defense, when the offense has hardly moved the chains this season.
The Eagles offense just has tons of question marks without any answers. QB Dave Shinskie got the start behind center this season, but has thrown 6 interceptions to just 5 touchdowns while completing less than half his passes at 49%. QB Mike Marscovetra has gotten some looks behind center, but he has also been very inconsistent throwing 4 picks with just 2 scores. Perhaps the bigger problem comes from the guys up front on the offensive line. Not only has the offensive line not provided any time for their inexperienced quarterbacks, but they have also given up 15 sacks this season as well.
The offensive line just has not been able to get any kind of push up front and that has also had an ill-affect on the running game. Starting tailback Montel Harris rushed for just less than 1,500 yards in 2009, but he has only posted 387 total yards through the Eagles first 5 games. Harris is averaging less than 4 yards per carry which is the reason so much pressure has been on the quarterbacks and possibly why they have resulted in to so many turnovers. Unfortunately for the Eagles, Florida State brings in one of the nation’s best defensive fronts to do battle this Saturday in the trenches.
The Seminoles lead the nation averaging 4.33 sacks per game and also rank 5th in the nation in tackles for loss. I know teams coming off a big win are usually in a “letdown” type situation especially for early kickoffs. However, I just do not see that happen with the way Florida State is playing defense and running the football. The defense will give Boston College all kinds of problems and I would imagine a few turnovers from the Eagles quarterbacks would not be out of the question either.
On offense, Florida State has quickly asserted themselves as a superior rushing offense. The Seminoles rushed for a lucrative 298 yards last week on the road in Miami. Sophomore tailback Chris Thompson rushed for 158 yards on just 14 carries in the big victory. Thompson leads the team with 421 yards on the season, but the Seminoles have not 1 but 2 more threats in the backfield. Tailback Jermaine Thomas rushed for 78 yards on 16 carries last week for two touchdowns. Thomas has 386 rushing yards on the season. Also, tailback Ty Jones may be the best of the bunch. Jones has missed the last two games due to an ankle injury, but will be back in the line-up this Saturday. Jones posted 283 yards on limited touches in the first few games of the season while sporting an 8 yards per carry average. Look for the Seminoles to use their strong ground game to set the tone again this Saturday.
After that happens, QB Christian Ponder can deliver with his arm. Ponder is the experienced veteran that has the “gunslinger” mentality. Ponder is not scared to throw the deep ball and has thrown 10 touchdowns this season with just 4 picks. Now Ponder has not been forced into many throwing situations this season due to the running game’s success, but do not be surprised if Florida State hooks up with some big plays in the air after gutting out the Boston College defensive line with the running attack. Look for WR Bert Reed and Taiwan Easterling to capitalize if the secondary loses focus this Saturday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Like I said these 12:00est kickoffs are scary for a team coming in off a big win, but the Florida State defense will keep Boston College to 14 points tops. Florida State put up 45 against Miami and Boston College allowed 44 against North Carolina State last week. Expect the Seminoles to get 35+ this Saturday and still cover. Take the Seminoles -21.5.