No, you’re not crazy. Yes, we all had the same reaction when the point spread for this weekend’s Syracuse football game at Boston College came out. The Eagles, at 3-3 and coming out of a bye week (following a 56-10 loss to Clemson), are currently getting -5 or -5.5, depending on where you look, against the Orange.
And yes, that’s pretty damn weird. I’m not just looking through orange tinted glasses here, either. Look at any of the Boston College fan forums, and you’ll generally see people talking about how the Orange are going to wax the Eagles, and how head coach Steve Addazio is on his way out after this weekend. We’re talking full on “dead man walking” mode in those forums.
Obviously, the home team is going to get some points, because generally the home field advantage is good for about three points in the spread. But take that out, and the experts are still favoriting the Eagles on a neutral field. Which – again – seems more than a little odd, particularly when you really get into that 3-3 record that BC is currently sporting.
The three wins for Boston College have come against UMass, Wagner, and Buffalo, by scores of 26-7, 42-10, and 35-3, respectively. But in three ACC games, things haven’t been quite so rosy. The Eagles opened the year with a respectable looking 17-14 loss against Georgia Tech, but the last two conference games that BC has played have been…less acceptable, if you’re a fan of that team.
Virginia Tech – the team that Syracuse just beat 31-17 in the Dome – absolutely throttled BC by a score of 49-0. And as I mentioned up top, Clemson just beat the Eagles 56-10. The Virginia Tech game was on the road; the Clemson game was in Boston. And in both games it became abundantly clear: this Boston College team was woefully overmatched.
For the year, the Eagles are averaging just 21.2 points-per-game, which ranks them outside the top 100 nationally. And it gets even worse from there. In the team’s three ACC games, they’re getting outscored by an average of 30.5 to 8.0, and have mustered just 231.7 total yards per game. That’s while yielding an average of 405.7 yards per game, by the way.
Syracuse obviously hasn’t been perfect themselves, of course. But unlike the Eagles, they’ve still been able to move the ball against good opponents. In the recent win over Virginia Tech, the Orange put 561 yards of total offense on a team that limited BC to just 124 yards. Even against Louisville, the Orange put up 414 yards – which is more than BC managed against Virginia Tech and Clemson combined.
Which means that, when someone put this spread together, there’s one, main factor: Syracuse didn’t exactly look stellar two weeks ago at Wake Forest. Only nine points, and just 326 yards of total offense against the Deacs, though obviously the weather conditions were far from forgiving. The torrential downpour completely destroyed Syracuse’s offensive gameplan, and as a result the Orange had their worst offensive output of the season.
Right now, though, the forecast is calling for mostly clear skies, with rain expected on Thursday and Friday in Boston, but not on Saturday. That means that, barring a change in the weather between now and then, the Orange should be all systems go on offense, with the only thing to worry about being a little bit of wind. The Orange have won outdoors this year, when they beat Connecticut. They put up big offensive numbers in a neutral site loss to Notre Dame.
And they can certainly put points on the board against Boston College. With the Orange defense starting to come together over the last two weeks (Dino Babers even mentioned yesterday that the defense played well enough to win against Wake, and he’s right: the Deacs only managed 330 yards of total offense), this isn’t a situation where that unit is going to get exploited by a talented offense. Remember: this Boston College team failed to score a single touchdown in its own spring game.
Syracuse is 3-4 right now, and hopes for a bowl game are still looking fairly slim. It’s not impossible, though, particularly considering we’ll likely see a few 5-7 teams get bids this year, and Syracuse’s APR should be high enough to garner serious consideration. But getting to at least five wins is the key, and if there’s any chance for that to happen, it starts on Saturday in Boston.
Boston College is not a good football team. My prediction? Syracuse takes care of business, winning 33-13, to keep the bowl hopes alive.