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Preview: Wake Forest vs. Boston College

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Get ready. #TheRivalry is back.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Boston College Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Senior Day in Winston-Salem. Let’s take a look at the matchup against Boston College, the last home game for the senior Deacs.

LAST SEASON

It’s hard to tell which team was stronger last year. I wince a little just writing this out, but: BC had 5 ACC games decided by 3 points or fewer, and lost all of them en route to going 0-8 in conference and 3-9 overall. Wake also finished 3-9. Sports historians would surely have spent decades debating which team was stronger. Thankfully, these two went head-to-head to give viewers worldwide a decisive answer to that titillating topic.

Yes, recap narrator guy, a “defensive game” indeed. The teams combined for 6 turnovers and went 4-30 on third downs. Wake punted twice as often as it earned first downs (10 to 5). That helped the legendary Alex Kinal surpass 500 yards for the first time in three years. Despite BC having the ball within Wake’s 15 yard line four times (and within the 10 yard line thrice), turnovers and missed FGs meant that Mike Weaver’s 25 yard field goal stood as the only score of the day.

THIS SEASON

This year, things are looking up for both programs. Wake has secured bowl eligibility and its first 6+ win season since 2011. BC has completed a 180 degree turnaround in ACC play compared to last year, going from not winning a game to totally winning a game.

By beating NC State on the road, BC picked up its best win of the season and accomplished something Wake hasn’t done in a decade. Still, it’s hard to take much otherwise out of the Eagles’ results so far this year. They’ve beaten the teams they needed to beat (UMass, Wagner, Buffalo, UConn), and they’ve gotten blown out by VT (49-0), Clemson (56-10), Louisville (52-7), and FSU (45-7). Wake managed to keep the Clemson/UofL/FSU games closer than BC did, but also had a bad loss to Army at home. BC, on the other hand, hasn’t really lost any games they weren’t expected to lose. Both teams have some nice road wins (NC State for BC, Duke and Indiana for Wake).

All in all, these teams are closely matched, and it’s no surprise that the spread has settled around 3-3.5 points (essentially tied on a neutral field). It’s a game both teams are looking forward to as very winnable.

IMPLICATIONS

Both teams come into this game with motivation to get the win. For BC, a win means finishing 6-6 and being guaranteed a bowl bid without having to fall back on a 5-7 APR bid. For Wake, a win would make the program’s first bowl-eligible season since 2011 even sweeter by guaranteeing at least 7 wins for the first time since 2008. It would also secure a non-losing record in the ACC, and could have an effect on where the Deacs play in December.

Kickoff is at 3pm. If you can make it to BB&T, please go support this year’s seniors, who have stuck it out through some tough times over the past few years. Otherwise, the game will be broadcast on Fox Sports South.

Go Deacs!