Thursday, October 19, 2006

BC-FSU Preview

TOB is playing a shell game with his starting QB, so this preview will certainly have some hedging. Both teams need the win to stay alive in the division. As I’ve been saying, Florida State may not be what they once were, but they still have some of the games best athletes and can still beat any team in the country when they are on.

Theme that won’t be discussed on Television. This is minor, but I doubt anyone will remember that TOB was a key part of Florida State's first ACC loss. He was the Offensive Coordinator on the UVA team that knocked off the ‘Noles on ESPN in 1995. That win was crucial for the long-term success of the conference as it showed that the basketball schools could raise their level of play and compete with the conference’s newest member. The game did not turn TOB into a hot commodity but it certainly looked good on his resume when BC came calling two years later.

Injuries will be discussed. Not only is Ryan dinged, but it seems like half of the Florida State defense is ailing.

Three Simple Keys
1. BC cannot go too conservative if Crane plays. During last year’s game Porter got injured and Ryan was called off the bench. For most of his snaps TOB and Bible went ultra conservative and BC failed to move the ball. It wasn’t until late in the game that they finally allowed Ryan to throw and he did pretty well. This year’s team is much better throwing than rushing. Getting away from that because of Crane would be foolish.
2. The Defense must get to Weatherford. Once FSU put him in the shotgun last year he began picking BC apart. This year we need to keep the pressure on. FSU will be ready for Akins. Perhaps it is time to rush one of the other LBs.
3. Kicking and punt coverage need to be perfect. BC got lucky last week. They allowed Virginia Tech great field position throughout the game and the Hokies never exploited it. We shouldn’t press our luck against FSU. They are still dangerous and allowing them easy points when their offense is struggling would be a real letdown.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 2-0 as an underdog this season
-- TOB is 12-10 the first time he has visited a stadium
-- BC is 7-2 against the spread in their last nine games as an away dog.
The current line is BC+6.5

What would be a pleasant surprise? If Chris Crane starts, plays well and BC wins. I always try to be an optimist when it comes to winning games, but I really worry about Crane. Winning your first start is tough. Winning your first start on the road against Florida State would be a major accomplishment.

What would be a letdown? If Ryan starts, plays pretty well and we lose. I think a Ryan-led team should beat the ‘Noles. If he plays and BC doesn’t pull it out, I will be very disappointed. Plus another conference loss at this point would put us closer to Boise than the ACC Championship game, so a letdown is a given.

What would be a shocker? A Crane-led blowout. Let me repeat – despite their ranking and recent struggles I still think FSU is a pretty good team. If Chris Crane walks into Doak and leads us to a big win it would be a big surprise.

Bottom Line
If Ryan were playing I’d have a lot more confidence. But I’ll go out on a limb and say we win regardless of who starts. I think BC’s defense has improved enough over the last month to keep us in the game and I think we can still score 28 against Florida State.
Final Score: BC 28, FSU 16

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