The Florida State Seminoles (5-3, 3-2 ACC) make their longest road trip of the year to the Boston College Eagles (2-6, 1-4 ACC) this Thursday night. Regardless of rank, Florida State remains a high profile team, and the opportunity of attention and cash flow for the ACC has created a solid tradition of FSU playing on Thursdays. That doesn't mean the team likes it, but it is a tradition. "I understand why they put us on (Thursday nights). I wish they wouldn't, but they do," coach Jimbo Fisher said. It's easy to understand his frustration.
The logistical problems of playing a Thursday night game are amplified this year: traveling 1,100+ miles to play in the snow on four days rest against a division rival. Warchant did a great write up on FSU's history on Thursday nights, and it's not pretty. The good news is: Florida State will be reeling from a shutout over N.C. State, QB E.J. Manuel is from Virginia, and knows what it's like to play in the snow, and it's Boston College. The bad news: the cold, four days rest, and history - the Seminoles have played ten games on four days rest in the past, and only won five.
There is a 20% chance of rain and the temperature will start around 50 degrees and will not drop until late in the game, so the conditions may not be too poor. It's hard to imagine either team's defense not being tired on four days rest, so the secret to winning will be finding which players are losing their energy and capitalize on those matchups. For Florida State, if the defensive line is ready, we could see a similar performance to last week. FSU has learned a lot since allowing 125 rush yards to Maryland in that ugly third quarter and it showed against N.C. State. In the air, Greg Ried, Lamarcus Joyner, and the rest of the FSU pass defense should be greatly feared, averaging only two TDs allowed per game this year. FSU also ranks fourth in the country with 29 sacks on the season, so should they choose to pass the ball... sweet.
The Eagle defense has allowed an average of 25 points per game and ranks 10th in the ACC in allowing rushing yards. However, their secondary has been the most beleaguered this season thanks to injuries. From what I've read, last week was their defense's first showing of big stops in clutch situations, but that doesn't mean a vast improvement. On the D-line Boston College is 120th in football in regards to sacks this season, which is dead last at six. At least the Eagles have seven interceptions this season to brag about, which is league average.
While FSU is likewise average at interceptions, a paltry 6 despite the Seminoles "12th best" ranking in FBS college defense, the Boston College offense has been known for turnovers, including ten in the month of October and four against Maryland last week. Special Teams will give the Noles an advantage in field position all night, so the opportunity for turnovers should be high enough to whet the tired Seminoles' chops. Worth mentioning, Florida State has been known to shoot themselves in the foot with unrested players and penalties, so we can expect a lot of frustration.
Prediction: Florida State 34, Boston College 10