Maryland gets a golden opportunity tomorrow against Boston College to qualify for a bowl invite and impress the bowl scouts so they don't get shut out if a glut of teams finish at 6-5 in the ACC. The Eagles are a very good team, but haven't played very well on the road this year winning only one ACC road game at Clemson in overtime. Regardless Maryland will have to play a very good game on both sides of the ball to get the victory. Boston College is well coached and won't do much to beat themselves. Maryland's defense must stop BC's ball control offense and not surrender big plays. On offense they must open holes for Lance Ball and not turn the ball over. Sounds very simple, but I feel this will be a very close game decided by a few mistakes on the losing side.
The key matchup will likely be Maryland's defensive line versus Boston College's massive NFL sized offensive line. Unfortunately, I don't see Maryland winning this battle. I still think it will be a close and competitive contest but I see Maryland's defense wearing down in the 2nd half as they have so often this season.
Boston College 26
The Boston Herald reports that Eagle's linebacker Brian Toal is doubtful for tomorrow's game after injuring his shoulder in last week's victory over NC State. Toal also doubles as a fullback in certain formations.
Wake Forest lost to Florida last night in New York city. Justin Gray had another bad night trying to fill in at point guard, with seven turnovers. He really struggled with Florida's press and looked frustrated and out of synch for most of the game. The Deacons got little from the rest of their backcourt with the other guards chipping in only four points. Trent Strickland has improved since last year at both his free throw and outside shooting but his 18 points and 7 rebounds were still not enough to beat a young but talented Florida team. This has to be very concerning to Wake Forest fans. Unless a young player steps up and allows Gray to rotate back to shooting guard they are in for a roller coaster.
Gary Williams is expecting great things beyond the stat sheet from his seniors this season. He hopes they will provide the leadership that has been sorely lacking the last two years.
A variation on this theme in the Baltimore Sun today. This group of seniors came to Maryland in the afterglow of the 2002 national title and perhaps they let some of that hype go to their heads. I'm sure last season's NIT finished snapped them out of that. Let's hope, anyway.
Tonight's opponent, Fairleigh Dickinson, won its conference last season and played in the NCAA tournament. They will give Maryland a fair test in preparation for the crucible in Maui next week.