It’s one thing to size up a team’s schedule over the summer when not one snap of football has been played, but it is quite another to try to determine how a team stacks up against its opposition when there is actually supporting data. We may be just one-quarter of the way into the 2013 college football season, but we clearly know more about the Boston College Eagles and their upcoming opponents now than we did a month ago.
With that, what are the Eagles’ prospects in the nine games yet to come? We’ve prepared a chart breaking the games down into which team will be favored and an estimate of the line if we were setting it right now. Legal disclaimer: this is all just for fun, folks.
Before complaining, yes, if the lines were set right now (which was a component of this exercise), Maryland would be favored. Not only are they at home, but they look like a half-way competent football team even in having played mostly hapless opponents. Nobody said they’d be favored by a lot, but they’d be favored. It would be more a statement about them than us. In other news, the Terps are 5.5-point neutral-site favorites against West Virginia this week.
In fact, if Boston College ends up with five wins this season, Maryland looking improved might be the reason we don’t get a sixth. That’s a game that the bowl math kind of counts on, or might count on as the season progresses. They are a team to watch.
Otherwise, expect the Eagles to be favored only twice the rest of the way for sure with two toss-ups in the mix. Boston College will probably be favored by double-digits (albeit very slightly) against Army and New Mexico State. The Army line could dip closer to seven if the Eagles play not so well and Army looks particularly pesky. The Aggies got beaten up by a lousy UTEP team at home and it will be a long year for Doug Martin’s team.
NC State is tracking a little better than us and might be a slight favorite at Chestnut Hill. Syracuse will probably be the favored team at home in a game where there might not be a team that’s clearly better. They are both toss-ups because those could shift around. The BC-NC State line at BC in 2011 was NC State +2.5.
Virginia Tech’s defense is doing quite well for itself and they have the Eagles’ number. It is reasonable to suggest that they might be slightly favored at Boston College. Likewise, it would be wise to assume that Maryland, barring a meltdown, will be a slight favorite at home. North Carolina is a weird team to read at times but they might get upwards of a touchdown when the Eagles go down there.
The only ones that clearly stand out as looming disasters are Florida State and Clemson, with Clemson being the biggest favorite because it’s a road game for the Eagles. If the Seminoles offense keeps chugging along, the Eagles getting 21 points might be generous. Either way, those games are write-offs.
What we’re left with are two games in which the Eagles should win (Army and New Mexico State), two games where Boston College is virtually certain to lose (Florida State and Clemson), and five games which vary from a toss-up to the Eagles being modest underdogs. Assuming the Eagles take care of the Black Knights and Aggies, Boston College will need to win two of the Maryland, NC State, Virginia Tech, UNC, and Syracuse party of five. If we were to rank those games from most likely Eagles win to least likely, they would probably be: Syracuse, NC State, Maryland, Virginia Tech, North Carolina.
This is Boston College’s playing field right now. Six wins will be difficult, and it will require the Eagles to win at least one home and one road game in which they will be an underdog. Can they do it? It’s possible, but bet-hedging seems to be in order with a team that lost ten games last season. In the seven games in which the Eagles are not clearly favored, it seems unlikely that Boston College will lose them all. The question is, can they win more than one to potentially get into a bowl?