Thursday, November 02, 2006

BC-Wake Forest Preview

Well, we now move to this week’s version of the “most important game of the season and possibly TOB’s career.” I know I keep coming back to that angle, but this season has been a series of huge tests…of the team and the coach. Clemson, due to its place in the schedule, will always propel the winner to key spot in the division and leave the loser in a hole. Virginia Tech has been a constant thorn in TOB’s side. The win was crucial (especially after the NC State loss). And Florida State, while down, still represented a marquee program and the type of school that has always given TOB trouble.

Wake is crucial for two reason. First, the game will probably decided the Atlantic Division winner. Second, if not for Matt Ryan coming off the bench to save the day, TOB would be 0-3 vs Grobe. BC has had the talent advantage in each game but BC has allowed Wake to dictate the style of play. BC needs to make a statement early in the game, because letting the Deacs hang around is deadly.

Theme that won’t be discussed on television
You can count on the announcers guffawing early that “I bet John Swofford never thought this matchup would decide the conference when he expanded the ACC.” What you won’t hear is that the people of Jacksonville could care less about who is in the game. They are just so happy to be hosting it. Don’t fret if BC or Wake make the game. It will still be a sellout. The Mayor will buy every empty seat there is just to assure that the ACC continues to host the game in North Florida. When the ACC went shopping for destinations, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Charlotte and Jacksonville all put in bids. Jacksonville’s blew the others away because they need the game the most. It is a showcase for the city and a boost to the tourism business during a relatively slow time of year. And if BC makes the game, it is even better for the ACC due to TV ratings. Virginia Tech or Clemson might sell more tickets, but we will bring in more viewers.

Three simple keys
1. Come out firing. Grobe has certainly improved the talent level at Wake, but I still think BC can and should pass early and exploit our depth at WR.
2. When stopping the run, don’t forget about the pass. In the past three games we’ve been so focused on stopping the run that we’ve allowed numerous big plays through the air on play action (and even one flea flicker). The safeties need it drilled in their head to stay back.
3. Get to Skinner. The only team that really beat him up was Clemson (4 sacks). BC needs to its front four to apply pressure and continue the Akins from anywhere strategy.

Gambling Notes
-- BC is 13-6-1 against the spread the last 20 road games in November
-- TOB is 12-12 as a road favorite
-- Over the last three meetings Wake has scored 79 points. BC has scored 77
The currnet line is BC -3.5

What would be a pleasant surprise? BC winning big. I respect Grobe and what he has done. I will never take his team’s lightly. They have been lucky this year, but even at 1-7, I would be nervous facing the Deacs.

What would be a letdown? Another Wake game-winning TD pass in the final minutes.

What would be a shocker? A Matt Ryan meltdown. I won’t say any sort of Wake win would shock me. But I would be shocked if we lost because Ryan came out and played like Quinton Porter played against Wake last year.

Bottom Line
This game scares me. However, I like the approach the team seems to be taking. I think the game is close, but BC comes out ahead.

Final Score: BC 28, Wake 24.


Scott Weigman said...

Good Analysis ATL. The other reason this game scares me is Wake's ability to steal this game with their kicker if it's close. Especially given our propensity to not execute/go for the killshot.

I think that is why your comment about going for it early is right on.

newsthatfits said...

You appear to be going to the dark side.

Wake before RB issues was not putting up big points against weaker competition. If BC defense has improved near as much as it appears then how does the Wake offense score 24 points? They don't.

With their kicker's range, BC's bend but don't brake defense will give Wake several FG opportunities, but their offense should not drive for more than one TD. And that assumes they are able to capitalize on one of the limited number of short field opportunities they earn.

BC's pass offense will have an excellent day. While Wake has experienced DBs their DLine alone will not get a pass rush. BC's OLine handled the blitz against stronger competition. BC should put 28 on the board without benefit of turnovers or special team play. Wake home game or not, BC by more than 7 points.