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Emerald Bowl

Boston College vs USC

12/26/09

Head Coach Pete Carroll and his mighty Men of Troy have had a season they would like to forget. They were coming into this season off a dominant performance in last year’s Rose Bowl, but they lost their starting QB Mark Sanchez and the majority of their starting defense to the NFL and it showed.

For the first time in Carroll’s tenure at USC the QB situation was shaky, and his defense that he’s always been known for struggled. USC’s streak of 11 win seasons and Pac 10 Title’s the last seven years was snapped after a stunning 8-4 season including losses to Washington, Oregon, Stanford, and Arizona. The one positive for the USC faithful is this year is almost over, and Pete Carroll will get the athletes necessary to turn things around, but there is still a game to be played against a very good Boston College team.

The Eagles are also 8-4 on the year with all of their losses coming to very solid teams in Clemson, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and North Carolina. The one knock on this Boston college football team is they are really lacking a good quality win on their schedule. Their best win came against a Florida State team that was in turmoil for much of the year, so this game against USC gives them another opportunity to get a signature win for the 2009 season.


PRIMETIME MATCHUP

With USC having to start a true freshman at QB with Matt Barkley they have relied heavily on RB Joe McKnight this year. USC was ranked 3rd in the Pac 10 in rush offense averaging 173 yards a game, and with it very doubtful he is going to play because of “paper work” issues the weight is going to fall directly on Barkley’s shoulders. Senior RB Allen Bradford should get the majority of McKnight’s carries, but he has only gone over 100 yards rushing once this year. What kind of impact that he will have on the game is very uncertain, so Barkley is going to have to really play one of his better games of the year.

Barkley has thrown for over 2300 yards and 13 TD’s, but he also has 12 INT’s to go with those TD’s. USC is currently ranked 8th in the Pac 10 in passing offense, and if USC is going to avoid an upset to top off this bad year that has got to improve. The good news for USC fans is that Boston College’s defense 7th in the ACC in pass defense, so Barkley should have some opportunities to get the ball into his playmakers hands.

THE FINAL VERDICT

With all the speculation surrounding USC’s football program, and whether the NCAA will bring down the hammer in the future, Pete Carroll is going to have to really rally his players, because it will be very easy for them just to pack it in, and forget about this season and move on to 2010. Even with USC missing some players including RB Joe McKnight they will still easily have the better athletes on the field for this game, but this is a very tough Boston College team and are very well coached so this game could get very interesting.

The one thing Boston College will have to do if they are going to have any chance against the Trojans is to get pressure on QB Matt Barkley. If they are able to do that they will have a chance to pull the upset.

Motivation and lack of it figures to play a role here. Boston College should have no trouble getting up for this game. Despite a down year by USC standards, it's still USC, a national power, that BC gets a chance to take out. On the flip side, USC surely expected to be playing for National Title and instead gets a mediocre BC team.

What bothers most about BC is three losses that weren't even close. USC is the much better team here if they show up and if they do show up, it's not much of a stretch to see this one getting away from BC much like those 3 losses we refer to. But we'll take our chance with BC here in hopes that the excitement of playing the Trojans on the National stage carries them thru.

If we're going to count on the motivation angle, then another way to look at this one is to play BC in the 1st half and or the 1st quarter. So we'll make three recommendations here.

BC +7 for the game

BC +1/2 for the 1st quarter

BC +4 for the 1st Half


 

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