Boston College - Wake Forest Matchup

The ACC Atlantic Division title may be on the line on Saturday when Boston College (7-1) and Wake Forest (7-1) meet in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. BC, Wake Forest and Maryland are tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with ACC records of 3-1. Wake Forest will be coming off a 24-17 victory over North Carolina. Meanwhile, the Eagles ripped Buffalo 41-0. The game will be televised on ESPN2 beginning at 7pm.

The Quarterbacks
Matt Ryan -- 59.8% comp, 1,661 yards, 9 TD, 4 INT
Riley Skinner -- 69.2% comp, 1,001 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT

Top Rushers
L.V. Whitworth -- 518 yards, 4.4 ypc, 3 TD
  Andre Callender -- 401 yards, 4.4 ypc, 1 TD
Kevin Harris -- 344 yards, 5.4 ypc, 4 TD
  De'Angelo Bryant -- 293 yards, 4.2 ypc, 3 TD

Top Receivers
Kevin Challenger (WR) -- 32 catches, 343 yards, 4 TD
  Tony Gonzalez (WR) -- 25 catches, 304 yards, 4 TD
  Brandon Robinson (WR) -- 19 catches, 286 yards, 0 TD
Kenneth Moore (WR) -- 17 catches, 216 yards, 1 TD
  Willie Idlette (WR) -- 14 catches, 192 yards, 2 TD
  Nate Morton (WR) -- 13 catches, 266 yards, 2 TD

Top Defenders
Jolonn Dunbar (LB) -- 54 tackles, 1 forced fumble
  Jamie Silva (FS) -- 35 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 INT
  DeJuan Tribble (CB) -- 28 tackles, 3 INT, 5 passes broken up
Jon Abbate (LB) -- 62 tackles, 2 sacks
  Josh Gattis (FS) -- 51 tackles, 3 INT
  Aaron Curry (LB) -- 51 tackles, 3 sacks

The Kickers
Steve Aponavicius -- 5/5 FG, 10/10 PAT
Sam Swank -- 12/16 FG, 21/21 PAT

The Punters
Johnny Ayers -- 41.0 yards per punt
Sam Swank -- 42.1 yards per punt

The Kick Returners
Jeff Smith -- 34.2 per KO return
DeJuan Tribble -- 10.5 per punt return
Kevin Marion -- 33.4 yards per KO ret
Willie Idlette -- 11.2 yards per punt return

Final Analysis

As strange as it sounds, Saturday's Boston College-Wake Forest game could decide the ACC Atlantic Division Championship. If Boston College beats Wake Forest on Saturday, they would only need home wins over Duke and Maryland to wrap up the division title and guarantee a spot in the ACC Championship Game. If Wake Forest beats BC, the Demon Deacons would control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic. Saturday night's game is arguably the biggest in Wake Forest football history.

A lot of BC fans were upset, an rightfully so, that Buffalo was part of BC's non-conference schedule. As it turned out, the presence of Buffalo on the schedule yesterday allowed Matt Ryan to take an extra week to rest his injured ankle/foot. This could pay huge dividends for the Eagles. Ryan, as always, is the key to the Boston College offense. Ryan will have his hands full with several outstanding Wake Forest defenders including junior linebacker Jon Abbate (preseason first team All-ACC according to Lindy's and Phil Steele) and senior free safety Josh Gattis (preseason second team All-ACC according to The Sporting News and Phil Steele).

The Boston College defense, which was shredded by Clemson and BYU, has played as well as any team in the ACC over the past five games. During that time, opponents have averaged just 7.8 points and 217 total yards per game. The Eagles have been particularly stingy against the run. In the past four games, BC opponents have averaged just 1.0 yards per rush. The Wake Forest offense has not put up big numbers but they have been very efficient. The Demon Deacons have converted 40% of their third down opportunities and have scored on 93% of their trips to the red zone (with 61% of those trips resulting in TDs). Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner has thrown only one interception in 117 passes this season.

This could be a tough game for BC. Wake Forest has been a big problem for BC over the past three years. BC lost to Wake in 2003 and 2004 and needed a miraculous comeback to win 35-30 last season. The home crowd will also help the Deacons. Right now the Eagles appear to be the better team. The BC offense has functioned well under Ryan, the defense has improved rapidly and the kicking game appears to be on the right track. Wake Forest is talented but I believe that their 7-1 record is a bit deceiving. Wake's seven wins have come against Syracuse, Duke, UConn, Ole Miss, Liberty, NC State and North Carolina. According to CBS Sportline, which ranks all 117 D-1 teams, only one of those wins came against a team ranked better than 81 (NC State at 55). Wake beat Ole Miss by 24, but their victories over the other five Division-1A opponents were by an average of only 6 points. If the Eagles don't commit costly turnovers or extend Wake Forest drives with penalties, I expect BC to win by 10 to 14 points.

Prediction: Boston College 24 Wake Forest 13

Wake Forest Links
Official Site
CBS Sportsline
Fox Sports

Wake by the Numbers

Wake Forest is 7-1 for the first time since 1979.

Wake QB Riley Skinner has thrown just one INT in 117 passes this season.

Wake has outscored their opponents 89-33 (+56) in the first and third quarters but only 96-87 (+9) in the second and fourth quarters.

Offense - Run 79 47
Offense - Pass 37 107
Offense - Total 57 98
Defense - Run 10 29
Defense - Pass 95 69
Defense - Tot 45 48

Offensive Lines
Avg Height 6'4" 6'4"
Avg Weight 306 305