Eagles' Great Eight

By Adam Caparell - December 28, 2007

It doesn't seem that long ago that Boston College was flying high, up to No. 2 in the nation and only a handful of games away from a potential berth in the BCS Championship game. Then the Eagles were grounded by Florida State and eventually stumbled home with a 2-3 record over the season's final month. So much for that dream.

So the question being posed heading into Friday afternoon's Champs Sports Bowl of whether Boston College is properly motivated for this game - a game they thought they'd have no part of in early November - is a legitimate one.

But BC quarterback Matt Ryan wants to assure all that the Eagles are in the right frame of mind with Michigan State awaiting in Orlando.

"It's the last game for 17 fifth-year seniors, which is an extraordinarily high number of fifth-year guys, and it's the last time we will get to play together as a team," Ryan said. "So there is plenty of motivation. We have had some really good practices. Guys have been prepared and we are fired up and ready to go."

Ryan, of course, is one of those seniors and playing his final game in an Eagles uniform. The best quarterback to play for BC since a man named Flutie was behind center, Ryan will be playing on Sundays in the not too distant future. But before then, he's going to have to deal with a Michigan State team that finds itself bowling for the first time since 2003.

And in this game, Michigan State will want to run the ball behind its tandem of Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick who have combined for 2,159 yards and 27 TDs. The only problem with that is they're facing one the best rushing defense in the nation. Scratch that, they're facing the best in the nation as BC's only allowing 68 yards a game. And they're also pretty good at forcing turnovers.

So all signs are seemingly pointing to Boston College win. Provided, of course, they really show up for a game they really don't want to be playing in.

The Line: -4 BC
O/U: 56

If I Were A Betting Man: Boston College and the under. A superior offense and a defense that should keep the Michigan State running game in check means the Eagles should have their eighth straight bowl victory when it's all said and done. Michigan State will be without some defenders due to suspension and that only serves to help Ryan. As long as the Eagles protect him, and he doesn't have to throw on the run, they should be in good shape.

As for the day's other two bowl games...

Texas Bowl - TCU vs. Houston
The Line: -6 TCU
O/U: 58

If I Were A Betting Man: Houston and the under. Two teams who love to run the ball shouldn't put up that many points. And the Horned Frogs are very good against the run, only allowing 3 yards per carry and an average of 109 yards on the ground per game. Houston's ability to score quickly (25 scoring drives of two minutes or less) I think keeps it fairly close.

Texas Bowl - Oregon State vs. Maryland
The Line: -5 Oregon State
O/U: 47

If I Were A Betting Man: Oregon State and the under. Both teams finished the season on high notes, but the Beavers were even better than the Terps. Oregon State can be very careless with the ball, but I think their talent carries them.

Bowl Season: 0-8 ATS | 5-3 O/U. The record is nothing short of embarrassing, but the turnaround begins today.

Posted by Adam Caparell at 03:35 PM on December 28, 2007

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