Emerald Bowl Preview and Pick: Boston College Eagles vs. USC Trojans – Point Spread

Boston College Eagles (8-4 6-4-1 ATS) vs. USC Trojans (8-4 3-9 ATS) AT&T Park San Francisco CA, 8 PM EST Saturday December 26, 2009 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com

Point Spread: Eagles +9 / Trojans -9
Over/Under: 44

In the Emerald Bowl in the City by the Bay the Boston College Eagles face the USC Trojans. Will USC be fired up for this game? This is obviously not a BCS game, which they have played in for the past 7 years. The Trojans did not end the season well, to say the least, as they not only lost their season finale against Arizona, but they dropped 3 of their last 5 games.

The Trojans’ defense killed them in their last 5 games, as in that span they gave up an average of 28 points per game including giving up 47 to Oregon and 55 to Stanford. This season the Trojans were only 3-2 against teams ranked in the top 25. After they lost to Arizona in their last game they dropped out of the top 25 for the first time in 8 years.

Boston College ended the season well winning 3 of their last 4 games to finish in 2nd place in the ACC Atlantic Division. The Eagles only played on game against a team ranked in the top 25 (Virginia Tech) and they were crushed in that game losing 48-14. The Golden Eagles are playing in a bowl game for the 11th straight season.

This game will be held in San Francisco so the Trojans should have a legit home field advantage.

In their last game USC lost to the Arizona Wildcats 21-17 while Boston College beat Maryland 19-17.

In their loss to Arizona the Trojans did have more rushing yards in the game, but they could not keep the Wildcats from moving the chains in the air. The Trojans simply could convert their 3rd down opportunities only going 5/13. Overall, USC’s offense struggled in the game and freshman QB Matt Barkley was only 20/37 and threw his 12th interception of the season. The Trojans could not do anything late in the game, as Barkley went 3 and out in their last drive, which killed their chances to win. The Trojans were favorites by 7 points so they did not cover and the posted total of 51 was not surpassed.

In their win over Maryland in the season finale over Maryland if you look at the stats you would think the Eagles won by more than 2 points. They had more rushing yards, by almost 2 to 1, and passing yards, but they were only 3/14 on 3rd down conversions. The Eagles jumped out to a 16-10 lead at halftime and then their offense took some time off. Luckily their defense played well and only gave up one 2nd half TD with 1:34 remaining. Boston College was favored by 7 points so they did not cover the spread and the posted total of 46 was not surpassed.

Luckily for the Trojans they face a Boston College team that only ranks 99th in passing yards per game and 70th in rushing yards per game. The Trojans and their 42nd ranked defense will not allow the Golden Eagles to light up the scoreboard in this game.

Boston College does have the nation’s 23rd ranked defense and lucky for them they are stronger at defending the pass than the run. However, they will face a solid USC rushing offense that ranks 39th in the nation averaging 173.3 yards per game. Look for Trojans’ RB Joe McKnight (1,014 yds 8 TD) to have a big game.

Since McNight will have a good game it will open up the passing offense for Barkley. He will have a good game since the Eagles passing defense only ranks 54th in the nation.

The Trojans were killed by Oregon and Stanford, who are both teams that have great rushing offenses. Even though Boston College only has the nation’s 70th ranked rushing offense they do have a legit RB in Montel Harris (1,355 yds 13 TD). However, since the Eagles do not have a legit passing offense the main goal of the USC defense will be containing him, which they should do.

Jason’s Pick: Don’t expect the Trojans to be all too excited to be playing in a less prestigious bowl this year. Boston College on the other hand is happy to be there and will simply want the game MORE. Put a unit on BC to cover the 9 and a quarter unit or so on the underdog moneyline as it COULD very well happen!