In a season that was supposed to be one where the Seminoles challenged for a College Football Playoff berth, a season-ending injury to quarterback Deondre Francois in the first game against Alabama drove the team into a downward spiral. Florida State enters this Friday night's game with a 2-4 overall record, including a 2-3 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The trip to Chestnut Hill for the Seminoles comes on the heels of a 31-28 loss to Louisville last weekend. Florida State has not necessarily been bad, just unable to finish games, as close losses to NC State and Miami highlight the team's struggles in league play.
It has gotten so ugly in Tallahassee that head coach Jimbo Fisher even argued with a taunting fan following the loss to Louisville.
But things are much happier at Boston College at the moment. Head coach Steve Addazio has turned the season around with ACC wins over Louisville and Virginia. Now with a 4-4 overall mark and 2-3 record in the conference, bowl eligibility seems possible. A few weeks ago, that did not seem to be the case.
The Eagles have responded well to adversity and shown improvement over the course of the season. Their 41-10 demolition of Virginia last weekend showed the Louisville win was not a fluke, and both came on the road.
Now the Eagles come home and can give their fans a chance to see just how far they've come since a 23-10 loss to Virginia Tech three weeks ago when Addazio's seat was red-hot.
Florida State at Boston College
Kickoff: Friday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Spread: Florida State -3
Three Things to Watch
1. Fresh passers
One player was thrust into action unexpectedly, while the other won the job in August and has held onto it, but Florida State quarterback James Blackman (above, right) and Boston College's Anthony Brown are both freshmen leading their respective offenses, although the latter had the benefit of a redshirt season in 2016. Blackman has come under heavy scrutiny, especially after his fumble that led to Louisville's game-winning drive last week. But although Blackman was thrown into the fire because of the Deondre Francois injury, he is still expected to produce. Brown has had his dips in production, but had his best game of the season last week in the win over Virginia. He completed 19-of-24 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns and was named the ACC Rookie of the Week. How these two perform will be a deciding factor.
2. Fresh runners
Coming into the season, Florida State true freshman running back Cam Akers was hailed as one of the nation's prized recruits and a candidate to have a breakout campaign. Although he has played well, it's a true freshman back on the other side who has stolen the headlines in Boston College's AJ Dillon. Akers is the speedier back out of Mississippi, and so far has rushed for 454 yards and a touchdown on 87 carries. But Dillon, at 6-feet, 240 pounds, brings a more physical style, and has had the bigger impact both on his team and around the league. Dillon has rushed for 694 yards and six touchdowns on 152 carries and helped the Eagles do what head coach Steve Addazio wants most from his offenses: pound the rock and wear down defenses. Both players have bright futures.
3. Protection breakdowns
Even when Francois was healthy, the Seminoles had an issue along their offensive line that made life difficult if they wanted quality quarterback play. For the season, the Seminoles rank 122nd in the nation in sacks allowed, giving up 3.33 per game. That's not a recipe for success, especially with a true freshman in Blackman trying to survive a heavy rush. The Eagles will bring another challenge in that regard Friday night, as defensive ends Harold Landry and Zach Allen have combined for nine sacks on the season, while linebacker Ty Schwab has made another three. If the Eagles can feast on the Seminoles' offensive line the way most teams have this season, it will be tough for Florida State to leave with a victory.
The Eagles are playing with confidence and maybe even a little swagger, while the Seminoles appear to be in total disarray. Brown's performance against Virginia gives this Boston College offense a higher ceiling, and AJ Dillon should again be a battering ram. A BC win here would have seemed ludicrous in August. Now, it's still an upset, but not a shocking one. Look for the Eagles to pull it off.
Prediction: Boston College 27, Florida State 24
— 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.