In case you haven't been keeping up with college football this year, this isn't your older brother's Bobby Bowden dynasty Florida State Seminoles. The 'Noles are a respectable 5-3 this year and will likely gain bowl eligibility in their remaining schedule, but at 2-3 in the Atlantic division of the ACC their chances to win the Atlantic division are slim at best and a loss to the Eagles at Chestnut Hill will eliminate them as contenders. The 'Noles received a generous pre-season ranking, which speaks highly of their talent pool, but clearly something has been lacking in their execution. They immediately lost this ranking with a loss to an underrated Clemson team to begin the year. They had back to back ACC losses in weeks 6 and 7 against an underrated Wake Forest and inconsistent Miami team. Their only win of relevance is a win over former Dolphins coach Nick Saban's #22 Alabama Crimson Tide (6-2), the Crimson have since climbed back up to #17 in the rankings. Wins over Duke (1-7), UAB (2-6), Colorado (5-4) and NC State (3-5) lacks the same prestige. Boston College is a well earned #2 in the country, 8-0 and 4-0 ACC. In all likelihood, this game should be another ACC win for the Eagles against a winning program.
That said, FSU is a talented team that's in "wounded animal backed into a corner" mode. A win over the Eagles on the road would bring their program back to prominence, make them bowl eligible and help salvage a season that many in Tallahassee already consider to be a failure. There's a very big bullseye on the Eagles and the Seminoles are just the kind of team with the talent to surprise you. This is a classic trap game.
National Title Game Chase:
#3 LSU has it's last big test of the season on it's schedule against #17 Alabama in Tuscaloosa. LSU is threatening to leapfrog the Eagles in the rankings even if the Eagles finish undefeated and LSU finishes with 1 loss due to the Tigers strength of schedule and the Eagles weakness of schedule.
#1 Ohio State Buckeyes take on the #21 Wisconsin Badgers in Columbus. The Buckeyes are also undefeated at 9-0, but will need to win this game as well as win against the resurgent Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor to run the tables.
In what should be a great Pac-10 matchup, the undefeated #4 Arizona Sun Devils take on the #5 Oregon Ducks (7-1). The Sun Devils need this game for a legitimacy win. They beat Cal, which at the time was ranked #21, but Cal has since been dropped from the rankings after reaching rankings as high as #2 at one point this year. The Ducks are the real deal with a Heisman candidate at QB with Dennis Dixon and will provide the toughest test of the year for the Sun Devils. The Ducks are a 1-loss team, but could also be fringe national title contenders. They are coming off of a big win at home against USC and would be in a position to win the Pac-10 championship if they win this game.
The Clemson Tigers should stay in ACC title contention for another week by steamrolling 1-7 Duke. Maybe the Blue Devils will surprise me, but I doubt it.
#24 Wake Forest and #23 Virginia will slug it out in Charlottesville, VA. Virginia needs to win in order to hold off Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal division and Wake Forest needs to win to stay on BC's heels in the Atlantic Division. I'll be pulling for Virginia, but I think Wake Forest is a much better team.
Maryland will take on the UNC Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. Maryland's Atlantic Division chances are hanging on by a thread as it is, but I would like the 'Terps to be out of contention when BC heads down to College Park next week. UNC isn't likely to come through at 2-6, but they did surprise Miami in a 33-27 win in Chapel Hill a few weeks back. A win here would also put the 'Terps one win away from bowl eligibility.
The Miami Hurricanes will take on Tom O'Brien's NC State wolfpack in Miami. Miami needs this win to stay in the ACC title chase as they'll be taking on both of the teams on top of their division in the following two weeks. If they run the tables they would quite possibly be in a situation where they would need to beat BC in Chestnut Hill in order to win the Coastal division on the last week of the season. NC State isn't likely to stop them at 3-5, but one of those 3 was a huge upset win over #15 Virginia last week and Miami has shown a tendency to underestimate opponents based on it's losses to UNC and Georgia Tech in consecutive weeks. This win would make the 'Canes bowl eligible and is the last easy game on their schedule as they will have Virginia next week before trying to beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and BC in Chestnut Hill to fnish out the season.