It's been a forgettable season for Boston College and a semi-forgettable one for Wake Forest—and when they face each other on Saturday, there isn't a whole lot for either of them to play for.
With four games remaining in the 2012 season, including this one, we know that neither of these teams is going anywhere fast. The goal is to get through the season without enduring further unbearable embarrassment—like the kind that comes with a 2-6 overall record (BC), or the kind that comes with blowout losses to the conference's top teams (Wake Forest).
The ACC hasn't been a tough conference in 2012, to say the least, and both the Demon Deacons and the Eagles—teams that were on top of this conference not too long ago—illustrate that perfectly.
Wake has beaten the teams it is supposed to beat but has been unable to compete with decent teams. BC, for the most part, has been unable to compete with anybody due to offensive inconsistencies and a bad, bad defense.
Nevertheless, if the Eagles win on Saturday, they will at least have some company in the cellar of the Atlantic Division. That's something to play for.
Where: Groves Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C.
When: Saturday, Nov. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Listen: WEEI 850 AM in Boston, WBRF 98.1 FM in Winston-Salem
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line (via OddsShark): Wake Forest -4
Boston College Injury Report (via USAToday.com)
- RB Tahj Kimble (leg) missed last week's game and is questionable for Saturday.
- WR Colin Larmond Jr. has been suspended for two games for a violation of team rules and is questionable for Saturday.
- LB Andre Lawrence (upper body) is questionable for Saturday.
- DT Dillon Quinn (leg) is questionable for Saturday.
- FB Jake Sinkovec (foot) is questionable for Saturday.
- DT Kaleb Ramsey (leg) is questionable for Saturday.
- DB Al Louis-Jean Jr. (foot) is out indefinitely.
- TE Chris Pantale (ankle) is out indefinitely.
- G Harris Williams (foot) is out indefinitely.
Wake Forest Injury Report (via USAToday.com)
- T Devin Bolling has been suspended indefinitely.
- S Duran Lowe has been suspended indefinitely.
- G Antonio Ford (leg) is out for the season.
- WR Matt James (collarbone) is out indefinitely.
- TE Neil Basford (Achilles) is out for the season.
The jig is up: There are absolutely no BCS implications for either of these teams. The good news for the Demon Deacons is they still can be bowl eligible when the season ends if they keep winning.
Right now, Wake Forest is 4-4 with four games remaining. It has some leeway, but it can do itself a favor by winning out, or (more realistically) by winning three of its last four. It should be able to beat Boston College; NC State and Vanderbilt will be a bit trickier, but both of those games are winnable.
The big challenge will come on Nov. 17, when Wake Forest visits No. 3 Notre Dame. That game—which isn't very winnable at all—is the reason why it is essential for Wake to win its other three.
As far as BC goes, this is a team that just got its first conference victory last week. A bowl is way out of the question. If the Eagles win one of their final four games, that would be an accomplishment.
What They're Saying
In light of its first conference victory—which came at home on Saturday, in a 20-17 triumph over Maryland—the Eagles are feeling good, as they should be. Coming off five consecutive losses and a 1-6 start to the season, that first conference win has to feel pretty good.
The game was by no means perfect—or even well-played—but BC got the job done, despite rushing for a mere eight yards (!) and fumbling twice. As Boston.com's Julian Benbow writes:
… Beating visiting Maryland Saturday, 20-17, gave the Eagles a shot of confidence after they had lost five straight. The tone in the locker room was dramatically different than it was after the most recent defeats, to Army, Florida State and Georgia Tech, and that is valuable for a 2-6 team trying to make the most of its four remaining games.
Wake Forest, meanwhile, is feeling far less confident after dropping a disappointing 42-13 home game at the hands of No. 18 Clemson. That game presented a big opportunity for the Demon Deacons: It gave them a chance to improve to two games over .500, and it would have given them a huge victory over a ranked opponent.
But it wasn't in the cards.
To add insult to injury, Clemson racked up a couple of school records against Wake last week: Quarterback Tajh Boyd threw for 428 yards and five touchdowns, while receiver Sammy Watkins finished with a record 202 yards.
Fortunately for the Demon Deacons, the offense they'll be facing on Saturday will be nowhere near as formidable as Clemson's.
Boston College Player to Watch
The Eagles' rushing numbers were abysmal last week against Maryland, but they're also a bit deceiving.
Junior running back Andre Williams had an OK game, rushing for 60 yards on 16 carries. But BC's numbers—eight yards total—looked so bad mostly due to the fact that quarterback Chase Rettig lost 43 yards on the ground.
Obviously, it would be helpful if BC could present a balanced offensive attack—no easy feat for a team that ranks 121st in rushing yards. But Rettig also needs to get rid of the ball as quickly as possible, and Williams needs to step up and have a big game.
That isn't out of the question for him. A few weeks ago, in consecutive games against Army and Florida State, Williams finished with at least 100 yards, even racking up 191 and two scores against Army. He got 105 against that stingy FSU defense.
He can be effective on the ground, and he needs to be on Saturday.
Wake Forest Player to Watch
Demon Deacons quarterback Tanner Price didn't have a bad game against the Tigers. He threw for 232 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He, in fact, isn't a quarterback who throws many interceptions at all.
But he, like Rettig, got pummeled by the Tigers defense the last time out, losing a season-high 46 yards on the ground. If he can get rid of the ball, Wake Forest is generally in good shape, and he's even been on a bit of a roll over the last few weeks: He's thrown eight touchdowns in Wake's last five games, and he's only thrown two picks.
Last time out, both of his touchdowns went to Tommy Bohanon. If they can establish a rhythm again this week, this offense will be in decent shape.
The extent to which Wake Forest's defense struggled against Clemson last week cannot be overstated. The Demon Deacons allowed the Tigers to score five unanswered touchdowns before they even got on the scoreboard. Four of those touchdowns came in a 13-minute span in the second quarter.
Who's your pick to win?
It's hard to put up a fight when a team's down 35-7 going into halftime, and Wake didn't put up much of a fight at all. Last week's game was over midway through the second quarter, and this week, this defense needs to bounce back in a big way.
And BC's offense—which has been decent at its best, atrocious at its worst in 2012—offers the Demon Deacons a good opportunity to mount a comeback. First and foremost, this unit needs to get its confidence back, and if it can limit the Eagles on Saturday, it will re-acquire that confidence heading into an important three-game stretch to end the season.
Prediction: Wake Forest Wins
Wake Forest may be coming off a tough loss, and its defense may have looked notably weak last week against Clemson, but BC doesn't exactly bring the most intimidating offense to the table. It can't run the ball, and forcing Chase Rettig to throw is likely to provoke mistakes.
This is the perfect game to get the Demon Deacons back on the right track to close out the season.