Despite last weekend's 31-17 loss to Clemson, Virginia Tech has to take solace in the fact that the Tigers are again capable of winning the national title and still a step ahead of where the Hokies want to be.
At 4-1 overall and 0-1 in the ACC, Virginia Tech still has all its goals ahead of it. The Hokies are still in position to make it back to the conference title game, and the expectations for head coach Justin Fuente and his team have not changed a bit.
For Boston College, the Eagles enter this weekend's game in Chestnut Hill with 2-3 overall mark and 0-2 record in the ACC. While last weekend's 28-8 win over Central Michigan was nice, BC is still far behind the upper echelon of teams in the conference, even though it showed some fight in a loss at Clemson two weeks ago.
With seven games left on the schedule, it's hard to see the wins necessary for BC to go bowling. If the Eagles were to somehow find a way to upset the Hokies, head coach Steve Addazio would have his signature win of the season and some much-needed job security.
Virginia Tech at Boston College
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 7 at 7:15 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN2
Spread: Virginia Tech -16.5
Three Things to Watch
1. Fresh face
Coming into the season, there was plenty of excitement around the Boston College program for incoming freshman running back A.J. Dillon. The Eagles snatched the local product from New London, Connecticut, who prepped at Lawrence Academy in Massachusetts, from Michigan late in the process. At 6-feet, 240 pounds, Dillon is a load of a back who brings a level of physicality to the position that most teams are not used to seeing. Although there were pockets of optimism earlier in the season, Dillon had his breakout performance against Central Michigan, rushing 25 times for 120 yards and a touchdown. Junior Jon Hilliman may have scored three touchdowns from the position against the Chippewas, but if Dillon can grow into his potential, the Eagles have to feed him the rock.
2. Action Jackson
So far, Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson has to be considered one of the top freshman signal-callers in the nation, and a strong game from him against the Eagles will go a long way toward securing the road win. Against Clemson, Jackson completed 29-of-44 passes for 251 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. If you consider that his second interception was not his fault and should have been a completion, those aren't terrible numbers, especially when you factor in that he was playing against perhaps the best defense in the nation. Over the course of that game, Jackson settled in nicely and began to find more of a groove, and one has to expect that he will be able to do so against the Eagles as well.
3. Blocking it out
Against Clemson, the Virginia Tech offensive line did just about as well as it could against a defensive line that has few if any peers nationwide. Even though the Hokies allowed two sacks and Jackson faced a good deal of pressure against the Tigers, that was to be expected. This week, the Hokies will face another challenge, although not quite to the same degree. The BC defensive line is capable of getting in Jackson's face, starting with defensive end Harold Landry, an All-American who had a sack and two tackles for a loss last week. Paired with Landry on the other side is fellow defensive end Zach Allen, who also had a sack and two tackles for a loss against Central Michigan. This is a front that will put the Virginia Tech offensive line on notice.
Alumni Stadium does not always make for an electric atmosphere, but on a Saturday night against a top 25 opponent, look for the home crowd to provide a boost for the Eagles. Even though Boston College moved the ball well on the ground against Central Michigan, quarterback Anthony Brown had a conservative effort and was held to under 100 passing yards. That won't get it done against Virginia Tech. Look for BC's defense to keep the hosts in it for four quarters, but the Hokies should make enough plays in the second half to come away with a bounce-back victory.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, Boston College 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.