Boston College football is still searching for its first win over an FBS opponent. In their first three games against teams on their level, they had their chances, but were impeded by poor defense and a one-dimensional offense. This week, their scheduled draw is not a ranked team, and is in fact not even a good team: it’s the 0-4 Army Black Knights. Boston College opened as an 8-point favorite, but that has moved north to 9.5 points.
The Eagles and Black Knights last faced each other in 2007 at Alumni Stadium (I remember it well, because I was on the broadcast team on WZBC that day). Boston College won that game in a walk, 37-17. Matt Ryan led his team to an easy victory; so easy, in fact, that Chris Crane finished at quarterback in relief.
This is nowhere near the same Boston College football team that won 11 games those several years ago, but could it be the same type of contest? It is possible. Despite their 1-3 record, the Eagles have showed some competence in the passing game, as Chase Rettig is doubtlessly the best player on the field right now for his team. The second-best player on offense has been Alex Amidon, Rettig’s most frequent target, with 33 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns, two of which came Saturday against Clemson. Amidon’s 559 yards has 380 more yards than Johnathan Coleman, who owns the second most.
If we had to identify the Eagles’ most major problem on the field, it is the defense. In those three FBS games, BC has allowed 1,551 yards, or exactly 517 yards per game. That isn’t good, and it’s not bend-but-don’t-break: it’s bad. With a one-dimensional offense (BC’s running game is one of the five worst in the nation at present), one cannot have their defense give up 500 yards a game and still expect to win most of the time. They have their moments, but more often than not, teams from Miami to Clemson shred them up.
Army is a weak 0-4, having just been blown out at home by Stony Brook. Their offense is extremely inconsistent, as they have gone from 7 points to 40 to 37 to 3. They are an predominantly run-heavy team; we’ll find out on Saturday if the Eagles will have success in stopping them. If BC shuts down Army’s run, they shut down the entire offense, but shutting down anyone (aside from Maine) has been a serious problem for the Eagles defense so far. BC’s defensive line has to start winning some battles up front, and they won’t get too many easier opportunities the rest of the way than right here.
Boston College cannot take a breather in any game, but with a date with pain in Tallahassee coming next week, this is a game the Eagles absolutely have to have, no excuses. Right now, the odds lean in their favor.