Virginia Tech and Boston College have enjoyed a significant amount of success in the ACC in the past but are facing extremely unfamiliar situations this season.
Both teams are currently in last pace in their respective divisions. While these programs are accustomed to fighting for momentum heading into bowl games, saving face will be a major motivation for both teams in this game.
The Hokies are 4-6 this season, and Frank Beamer’s streak of 10-win seasons is already over. The Golden Eagles are even worse off and currently sit a 2-8.
Both teams will be desperately searching for a reason to smile after this game. Here is everything you need to know about the matchup.
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
When: Saturday, November 17, 12:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ACC Network
Live Stream: ESPN3
Betting Line: Virginia Tech -10 (according to Sports Book)
Virginia Tech Injuries (via USA Today)
James Gayle—junior defensive end is questionable with a shoulder injury.
Michael Cole— freshman safety is questionable with a neck injury.
Andrew Miller—junior center is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
Riley Beiro—sophomore fullback is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Joshua Stanford—freshman split end is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
D.J. Coles—senior split end is out for the season with a knee injury.
Nick Acree—sophomore tackle is out for the season with a knee injury.
Boston College Injuries (via USA Today)
Kieran Borcich—freshman defensive lineman is questionable with a leg injury.
Kevin Pierre-Louis—junior linebacker is questionable with a leg injury.
Andre Williams—junior running back is questionable with an abdominal injury.
Ian White—junior guard is questionable with an ankle injury.
Nick Lifka—freshman linebacker is questionable with a foot injury.
Jaryd Rudolph— sophomore defensive tackle is questionable with a leg injury.
Colin Larond Jr.—senior wide receiver is questionable to play after being suspended for violating team rules.
Kaleb Ramsey—senior defensive tackle is questionable with a leg injury.
Bobby Swigert—junior wide receiver is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Tahj Kimble—sophomore running back is out for the season with a leg injury.
Al Louis-Jean Jr.—sophomore defensive back is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
Harris Williams—sophomore guard is out indefinitely with a foot injury.
BCS Rankings/Top 25 Poll Implications
To use a nautical phrase for these Atlantic Coast Conference teams, the ship has sailed on being featured in any rankings or polls this season.
BC is doomed to a losing season, while Virginia Tech can finish 6-6 if it wins both of its remaining games. Still, this will not be near enough to put them on the radar for any set of polls.
What They’re Saying
ESPN’s Heather Dinich notes that Virginia Tech’s performance against No. 10 Florida State was better than expected, and the Hokies will need to carry that momentum into their final two games.
It wasn’t for lack of effort. In fact, Virginia Tech’s defense played its best game of the season against Florida State, but the Hokies came up empty on two turnovers and weren’t able to capitalize on the Noles’ mistakes. Virginia Tech now has to win its final two games just to become bowl eligible, and that won’t be easy against a UVa rival trying to do the same.
Boston.com’s Julian Benbow notes that winning cures all problems in sports, and this is why Boston College’s problems continue to be the major storyline for the Golden Eagles.
It didn’t take this dismal season for Boston College coach Frank Spaziani to understand how things work. He had coached long enough to know that if he could find ways for the Eagles to win games, then the team’s problems would seem small. If he lost, all the problems would be supersized.
Virginia Tech Player to Watch: Logan Thomas, Quarterback
Both the Hokies and Logan Thomas had high hopes for this season, but their expectations have had to be significantly lowered since the start of their campaign. The junior quarterback has completed just 53.6 percent of his passes this year while throwing for 14 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.
But Thomas still has a ton of talent, and if he can live up to his potential in these next two games, Virginia Tech just may find itself in a bowl game.
Boston College Player to Watch: Steele Divitto, Linebacker
The junior linebacker has both a cool name and plenty of talent. Boston College will need a fine performance from its defense, and Steele Divitto is capable of making plays.
He has a knack for being around the ball and has recorded 81 total tackles, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. If he can force a turnover in this game, it may provide the Golden Eagles with the spark they need to win.
Key Matchup: Quarterback Duel
Both teams will need an inspiring performance from their talented quarterbacks in this game. Thomas will need to be aggressive but manage to avoid mistakes.
For the Golden Eagles, Chase Rettig has been impressive at times but has also been plagued by inconsistency. He must make plays in this contest for his team to have a chance.
Biggest Storyline: Salvaging the Season
Both teams have a chance to earn a positive result in a season full of disappointment. For the Hokies, a win will put them one step closer to bowl eligibility, which would be the only way to save this season from being a complete failure.
For the Eagles, an upset victory over a conference rival would be a fantastic accomplishment and give the seniors something to look back upon fondly.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Boston College 17
The Hokies defense will cause problems for Rettig and BC’s offense as they roll to victory.