After a pair of non-conference home games, the Florida State Football team will play their first ACC game of the 2015 season on the road at Boston College in a mid-September, Friday night showdown. Here is a look at how FSU matches up with BC in history, a look back at the most recent matchup, and what factors for the Eagles could influence the game one way or the other.
Florida State and Boston College have only become annual opponents in the decade since BC joined the ACC. After playing just 3 times between 1957 and 2004, this will be the 11th straight year in which the Seminoles and Eagles play. FSU holds the lead in the All-Time Matchup by a 9-4 margin and Florida State is 5-0 against BC in the Jimbo Fisher era.
Most Recent Matchup
After Boston College was one of the few teams that put up a semi-successful fight against the loaded 2013 FSU squad, BC did what just about every FSU opponent did last season; they hung around on the road against a superior Florida State team that just couldn't get out of it's own way. In the end, a last-second field goal from Roberto Aguayo gave the Seminoles a 20-17 win that moved them to 11-0 on the season. Boston College did little to disguise their offensive gameplan, which consisted of almost exclusively running the ball, and they were still wildly successful, racking up 240 rushing yards on 51 carries (4.7 yards per carry) while attempting only 11 passes all game. BC also committed 0 turnovers and won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 33 minutes and 47 seconds. In truth, the Eagles did a lot of things to put themselves in a position to win the game and just couldn't get it done.
Defensively, Boston College limited FSU to 110 rushing yards, the 4th-lowest total for the 2014 Seminoles, but were unable to stop Jameis Winston and co. when they most needed to, allowing Florida State to drive 66 yards for a game-winning field goal with three seconds left on the clock. Winston had one of his better games against BC, going 22-32 for 281 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
BC Season Preview
Bill Connelly released his season preview for Boston College today and although the whole thing is worth a read, here are a few important highlights.
This will be a very young team, especially in the key offensive positions
If it's not Wade, it's probably sophomore Troy Flutie (yes, BC Heisman winner Doug's nephew). Sophomore Jon Hilliman will again get most of the carries at running back, with sophomore Marcus Outlow among the primary backups. Sophomore receivers Charli Callinan and Sherman Alston are the two leading returnees from last year's receiving corps. Sophomore guard Jon Baker is, with his one career start, the second-most experienced first-string lineman.
Sophomores become juniors and seniors, and if some of these young pieces find sporadic success in 2015, it could mean fantastic things for 2016 and 2017. But wow, BC's offense could be green.
There are older players who could provide lifelines. Junior running backs Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse are potentially explosive change-of-pace guys in the backfield; Willis had nice jets in the open field (and a bit of a fumble problem), while Rouse caught a few passes out of the backfield. Bobby Swigert, BC's No. 1 receiver as a freshman in 2010 and its No. 2 in 2011 and 2012, has missed the last two seasons with injury but is scheduled to return in some capacity this fall. Junior Harrison Jackson is a former star recruit who missed last fall to injury.
Still, the odds are decent that sophomores will lead the team in rushing, passing, and receiving.
In a situation that is very similar to the one that FSU is currently going through, Boston College had five offensive lineman move on after the 2014 season. Those lineman had 134 starts between them and have left behind a very young offensive line unit. Of BC's returning offensive linemen, only one has made multiple starts in his career. All around, this is an incredibly young team offensively.
Depth at secondary could be a big weakness
The losses up front could hurt the pass rush more than anything. Josh Keyes and departed ends Brian Mihalik and Seyi Adebayo combined for 11.5 sacks last fall, and all are gone. The rush probably won't suffer much, but any regression could hurt, considering the turnover in the backfield.
Because of injuries to John Johnson and Bryce Jones, Don Brown had to play quite a few DBs; nine ended up making at least 10 tackles.
But only four of those nine return. Senior Justin Simmons is a keeper at free safety, and corner Kamrin Moore (four pass breakups) showed play-making potential as a freshman. After Simmons, Johnson, Moore, and sophomore Isaac Yiadom (about whom little is known), however, is a second string full of new names. Only Simmons has been a long-term contributor.
Granted, there aren't many proven passers on the 2015 slate, but this is problematic.
Although this preview makes the season look quite bleak for the Eagles, head coach Steve Addazio has exceeded expectations in each of his first two seasons with Boston College. It would seem that Florida State will need a strong performance from their quarterback (whoever it may be) and a solid defensive showing against a young offensive unit to continue their ACC winning streak, currently at 24 if you include all 3 ACC Championship Games.
In the end, it seems that the Seminoles have been the beneficiaries of very favorable scheduling in this situation, drawing a very inexperienced BC team in the third week of the season when the Eagles' new starters will most likely still be working out the kinks. Although far from a sure win for Florida State, a win seems much more probable than a loss at this time.