|College Football: Boston College at Virginia Tech Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 24 October 2007 08:05|
Well rested & ready to go
Boston College and Virginia Tech will have had 12 days to get ready for their key ACC matchup. They'll earn themselves much more preparation time later this season if they qualify for a Bowl Championship Series game.
The second-ranked Eagles face the No. 8 Hokies on Thursday night to start a big weekend that could reshape the BCS standings and national title race.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Virginia Tech -3 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Thursday's game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 57% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston College +3 (View College Football bet percentages).
Boston College (7-0, 3-0) and Virginia Tech (7-1, 4-0), both coming off a bye, are among seven teams in the top 12 of the BCS that are playing ranked opponents this week. The Eagles jumped one spot to No. 2 in the BCS standings this week, while the Hokies moved up three spots to eighth.
The winner of the ACC championship game Dec. 1 receives an automatic BCS berth. While Boston College is eying a spot in the national title game in New Orleans on Jan. 7, Virginia Tech will be looking to jump up further in the BCS with an upset Thursday.
After playing four straight non-conference games, the Eagles are ready to get back to the task of winning their first ACC title. They're first in the league's Atlantic Division.
"We can be ranked 25th or we can be ranked first," BC linebacker Mark Herzlich said. "As long as we get that ACC championship, that's all we care about."
The Eagles started the season out of the Top 25, but now have the second-highest ranking in school history. They were No. 1 for one week in 1942.
BC is led by Matt Ryan, who has been getting increased mention as a Heisman Trophy candidate. He threw two touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a 27-14 victory over Notre Dame on Oct. 13, improving to 21-4 as a starter.
Ryan has completed 63 percent of his passes for 2,148 yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. He threw for two TDs and wasn't intercepted in a 22-3 win over Virginia Tech on Oct. 12, 2006, in the teams' last meeting.
The Eagles intercepted Sean Glennon twice in that game, and lead the nation with 18 picks this season. BC safety Jamie Silva tops the ACC with five INTs, and cornerback DeJuan Tribble is tied for second with four.
The Eagles are also tops in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 46.4 yards per game. They held Notre Dame to 27 yards on the ground.
"I feel like the way the team has bonded has been the key," said BC defensive end Alex Albright, who has a team-high six sacks. "There are a lot of older guys so there's a lot of leadership. ... Everyone is coming together as one unit and I feel like that's our strength."
Virginia Tech has also been dominant defensively, allowing an ACC-low 112 points. The Hokies held Duke to 194 total yards - most of those coming with the outcome assured - in a 43-14 win Oct. 13.
They played without leading tackler Vince Hall, who's sidelined following surgery to repair a broken wrist.
Virginia Tech, one game behind No. 21 Virginia in the Coastal Division, is starting to come around on offense, too. The Hokies have scored more than 40 points in two straight games, and amassed 445 yards against the Blue Devils even as Glennon stepped in at quarterback when freshman Tyrod Taylor went down with a sprained ankle early in the second quarter.
Taylor, who replaced Glennon in the third game, has been progressing quickly, according Virginia Tech athletic trainer Mike Goforth.
"I'm cautiously optimistic about his chances of playing Thursday," Goforth said. "I think he's doing great."
Glennon was the Hokies' starter last season, and he gives the team an experienced player under center Thursday if Taylor can't play. Glennon completed 16 of 21 passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns against Duke.
Glennon was benched after two games in favor of the mobile and athletic Taylor, but Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain told Glennon he was still an important part of the team. Now, he might start in the Hokies' biggest game of the year.
"I've been taking practices seriously and preparing myself as if I'm going to play," Glennon said.
Glennon was sacked three times last season by BC, which has won two of its last three games against Virginia Tech. The Hokies, though, have a 9-4 edge in the all-time series.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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