Syracuse at Boston College
Saturday, 9:30 am PT
CRIS Opener: Boston College -4 O/U 51.5
CRIS Current: Boston College -4.5 O/U 52.5
Off of last week’s winner with the Wake Forest-Florida State “under”, ACC free plays now stand at 5-1-1 on the season. This week the conference has only four games with six of its teams on a bye week but they are all still meaningful. Syracuse goes to Boston College in what shapes up as a bowl bid elimination game since the team which loses this one realistically has no shot at getting to six wins. The Orange enter off of an improbable 31-17 home upset win over Virginia Tech as +22.5 point underdogs. In that contest, the extreme tempo ran 100 plays from scrimmage resulting in 32 first downs, 10-of-21, 47.6% on third down conversions, and 561 total yards which were all season highs posted against Virginia Tech’s defense. Meanwhile, Boston College had a bye last week after being steamrolled 56-10 by Clemson . Their top-ranked total yards against defense was torched for 503 yards in that contest. The Eagles offense was bas as well averaging just 3.5 yards per play.
This game has one fundamental aspect to it that sticks out and appears to be something we can proactively apply here. As good as their overall defensive numbers are, Boston College appears to be a severely flawed unit against teams that push tempo. Versus Justin Fuentes’ Virginia Tech offense, BC allowed 476 yards (223 rushing/253 passing) and against the fast paced Clemson spread the final numbers were 503 yards (229 rushing/274 passing). The other four games were against methodical offenses (Georgia Tech, Massachusetts, Wagner and Buffalo) where the Eagles excelled allowing an average of 8 first downs and 145.5 ypg. Those averages are not really skewed either as Georgia Tech’s 240 yards and 17 points were the highest allowed in those four games. Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey and the offense are executing first year head coach Dino Babers’ offense pretty efficiently which is going to be a challenge for BC’s defense.
The other side of this matchup pits Syracuse’s woeful defense against the Eagles offense which ranks 121st nationally at 322 ypg. However, Syracuse allowed Wake Forest’s 117th ranked offense which nets just 333 ypg to gain 330 in heavy rain conditions during Hurricane Matthew. Also, the 103rd ranked Connecticut offense produced a season high 425 yards and 24 points against Syracuse. The week off gives the BC coaching staff and the offense led by quarterback Patrick Towles plenty of time to prepare and work on a game plan knowing that Syracuse forces you to have to score plenty in order to beat them.
Syracuse is rolling offensively leading the ACC in passing with 346.1 ypg behind dual threat Dungey. They have faced two of the nation’s top 12 defenses in #7 Virginia Tech and #11 Louisville and in those games Syracuse averaged 493.5 ypg and 29.5 points. With the difficulties BC has shown against up-tempo spreads, it’s tough to see them stopping the Orange offense from at least equaling those numbers. On the other side, expect Boston College to either move the ball and the scoreboard against this iffy SU defense better than they have on average this season. That or have numerous three-and-outs which wear out their defense allowed Syracuse to go for 40+. Either way, the total is too low here at 52.5.