Boston College at No. 16 Florida State (12:00 ET)
THE LINE: Florida State -22
THE PLOT: Boston College is facing more quarterback concerns than arguably anyother BCS school. Freshman Chase Rettig is paced to make another start, his first sincerecovering from a minor injury and benching. The Eagles have lostthree consecutive games, marking it the longest losing streak since 1998, when it lost six in arow.
The Seminoles have their own streak going as well. Florida State has won four consecutivegames since losing 47-17 to No. 10 Oklahoma. During that streak, FSU has outscored opponentsby an average margin of 25.8 points. Quarterback Christian Ponder and running backJermaine Thomas have led the Seminoles by performing above expectations over thecourse of the win streak.
THE PICK: The Eagles possess the league’s worst passing defense, but have been No. 1in stopping the rushing attack. Having the best rush preventing defense is great, but Florida Statecan both pass and run.
Thomas has led a Seminoles backfield that has averaged nearly 260 rushing yards per game thepast four bouts. Boston College is giving up just 80 rushing yards per game, so this match canreally go either way. If the runs aren’t there, then Ponder can reach his receivers.
The Seminole quarterback has thrown for six scores and a lone interception during the winningstreak.
Hailing from Massachusetts, I am all too familiar with the Boston College program. I thinkthe Eagles are one of the most efficient and refined teams in the nation, but this is trulyan ugly stretch. Not having a consistent quarterback can kill a team, and calling up a freshmanscout team player to fill a depth chart void is not promising.
THE SCORE: Florida State 38, Boston College 13
Pittsburgh at Syracuse (12:00 ET)
THE LINE: Syracuse -1
THE PLOT: It isn’t every week that you see the Orange lined as a favorite to win agame, especially against a Football Bowl Subdivision team. So for the Orange to be favored in agame against Pittsburgh boggles my mind.
The last time Syracuse was favored against a Football Bowl Subdivision team not fromthe Mid-American Conference, you would have to look back to 2006 when the Orange were aone-point favorite over Connecticut.
I know that Syracuse has played some great football–the 4-1 start is the best since an 8-2 startin 2001–but reality has to hit the Panthers at some point. Dave Wannstedt has beencriticized more as a head football coach than most any other professionals within their respectiveline of work. The Panthers have started out just 2-3, but are nine points shy of being 4-1 with itslone loss a 31-3 beat down from then-No. 19 Miami (FL).
THE PICK: Pittsburgh finds solidarity in a convincing Big East-opening win. What?You thought Pittsburgh’s season was over?
THE SCORE: Pittsburgh 28, Syracuse 17
Army at Rutgers (East Rutherford, 2:00 ET)
THE LINE: Rutgers -7
THE PLOT: Neither team is having the season it imagined.
Rutgers was supposed to ride sophomore quarterback Tom Savage to the top of the BigEast in a down-year for the league. The Scarlet Knights barely won two games, one at FloridaInternational and another in New Brunswick. Then there’s the Tulane game, a 17-14 inexplicableloss; a game that saw Savage go down with an injury.
As for the Black Knights of West Point, wins have come often and easily. Army wonunconvincingly at Eastern Michigan, then dropped a three-point game to a tough, high-scoringHawaii team at home. Then the Knights shut-out North Texas and won notably at Duke. Aone-score loss at home to a tough MAC team in Temple was the lone skirmish before Armydestroyed Tulane 41-23 in New Orleans.
The four wins for the Black Knights is one shy of last year’s total of five, and Army actually stillhas a chance to reach ten wins for the first time since 1996.
THE PICK: This battle of Knights is going to come down to turnovers and fieldposition. The game will be played at the New Meadowlands Stadium, home to the NFL’s NewYork Jets and New York Giants. With the game being played on such a grand stage, home fieldadvantage may not necessarily be a factor.
These two schools have played each of the past three seasons, with Rutgers winning each game.This Saturday’s outcome will be different though.
THE SCORE: Army 21, Rutgers 17
OVERALL Straight up: 18-4 Vs. spread: 8-13-1
(I failed to predict scores before Week One, but if you would like to count my predictions onWeek One from an outside source, you can add the following: Straight up 2-1, Vs. spread 0-3.)
(Odds courtesy of SportsBook.com by way of our friends at NBCSports.com.)