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Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Boston College Eagles Preview and Prediction

Harold Landry

Harold Landry

As the season has progressed, the goal for both the Boston College Eagles and Central Michigan Chippewas has to be the most realistic one, which is achieving bowl eligibility.

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Sure, the Eagles have games against nationally ranked teams coming up, and technically, they are not eliminated from winning the ACC Atlantic Division. But the fact of the matter is that they are 1-3 overall, 0-2 in the league, and coach Steve Addazio could very well be looking for a new job if his team doesn't go bowling, as new athletic director Martin Jarmond will want to put his stamp on the program at some point.

In other words, as nice as it was for Boston College to hang toe-to-toe with Clemson for most of last Saturday's game in Death Valley, that won't mean squat if Addazio can't show Jarmond more progress in the win-loss column in his fifth season at the Heights.

Central Michigan got off to a promising start with two wins to open the season, including a road triumph over a Power 5 conference team in Kansas. But with stumbles against Syracuse and Miami (Ohio), expectations have to be dialed back a bit, and coach John Bonamego has to steer the Chippewas back on course.

Both teams need to get things back on track, but BC is in a more desperate situation, and an upset loss would be devastating.

Central Michigan at Boston College

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ACC Network

Spread: Boston College -7.5

Three Things to Watch

1. As Morris goes...

Maybe it's an oversimplification, but when Central Michigan quarterback Shane Morris has played well this season, the Chippewas have won. When he hasn't, they've lost. In the first two games, including the win over Kansas, he completed 53-of-86 passes for 693 yards to go along with six touchdowns and two interceptions. His last two games have fallen way short of that, as he's completed 38-of-79 for 472 yards, three touchdowns and four picks. No one doubts Morris' raw ability, as he was a heralded recruit who began his career at Michigan before transferring. The senior must show consistency, though, and it won't be easy against a Boston College defense that was phenomenal for most of the Clemson game until it wore down in the fourth quarter.

2. Hurting Eagles

Injuries have been killer to Boston College this season, especially on the offensive line. Starting center Jon Baker is out for the season with a torn ACL. One of his primary backups, Shane Leonard, has dealt with an undisclosed injury all season and is questionable for Saturday's game. Starting left tackle Aaron Monteiro is also questionable after suffering a lower-body injury against Clemson. To make matters worse, starting quarterback Anthony Brown is also currently listed as questionable with an undisclosed injury. It would be a surprise if Brown did not play, but the Eagles are facing a critical mass of injuries on that side of the ball, and it's not like the offense was lighting up the scoreboard when everyone was healthy.

3. Denis the menace

A local product out of Everett, Mass., Lukas Denis is a first-year starter at safety and has grown into one of the best players in the BC secondary. The junior was everywhere in Saturday's loss to Clemson with 13 tackles, a forced fumble and an interception. He is currently fourth on the team in tackles, tied for second in passes broken up and leading the way in interceptions with three. The knock on the Eagles for years was that while the front seven could hold its own with anyone in the country, the secondary was a step behind. With Denis roaming the back end, the Eagles looked much more competitive against a true collection of dangerous weapons in Clemson last week. The star of this defense is still defensive end Harold Landry, but Denis is making a name for himself with each passing week.

Final Analysis

After a horrendous showing against Notre Dame the week before, the Eagles came out fighting against Clemson before running out of gas against a superior opponent. Central Michigan is far from Clemson on the talent scale but will have a puncher's chance if Shane Morris gets hot and the Boston College offense continues to lack rhythm. Don't look for a blowout or a ton of points, but the Eagles should end their three-game losing streak.

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Prediction: Boston College 24, Central Michigan 17

— Written by Adam Kurkjian, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and is a reporter for the Boston Herald. He has covered the World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup playoffs, Boston Marathon and Little League World Series, among other events from the high school, college and pro ranks. Follow him on Twitter @AdamKurkjian.