The season-opening matchup between Rutgers and Boston College is just two days away. The Scarlet Knights begin a difficult schedule appropriately with a difficult opponent.
As fans prepare for the game, we sit down with Arthur Bailin of BC Interruption to discuss the matchup.
GP: Boston College has many players back this season, especially at the skill positions. What are the expectations for this team? Is it enough to make a bowl game or do the Eagles have to contend in the ACC?
AB: There really is so much talent on the Eagles this year. Offensively this is probably the best team BC has had in a while.
Jurkovec, when healthy, has shown flashes of brilliance. Couple that with a reliable back in Pat Garwo III and a wideout that, quite frankly turned down a high draft pick this year for one more year at BC in Zay Flowers, and there is so much potential on that side of the ball. The defense also returns a whole lot of talent from last year as well.
Cynically, I think BC fans are stuck in a mindset of BC perpetually being a seven win team, but this is a year when they can break that mold. I think making a bowl game is an absolute minimum to not make this season a failure. The ACC will be tricky as always, but BC really does have a lot of talent.
GP: Phil Jurkovec is back this season. He will have Zay Flowers and Pat Garwo III back as well to work with. How explosive can this offense be, if all goes right? They seem to have the names to be difficult to stop.
AB: If the offensive line is solid (big if, which I know we’ll get to in a moment), the offense has all the capabilities of being a high powered unit that can take over the game. Zay Flowers is NFL caliber. Jurkovec could be as well, and will need this year to prove it. Garwo III is also solid and adds contrast to BC’s offense, which hasn’t existed for a while. Best case scenario, this is a really solid unit. But, the offensive line is all new, and BC’s offense will be as good as its line.
GP: What does having a quarterback like Jurkovec back under center do for Boston College immediately? In terms of morale, excitement, etc.
AB: BC fans really found out how much a quarterback like Jurkovec improves BC. For all of that talent I just talked about, when Jurkovec was out and Dennis Grosel was taking snaps, BC’s offense was stagnant. Jurkovec has a legit arm, and now has experience and knowledge that he was lacking when he first started with BC. I think morale for the fanbase is high knowing he’s back.
GP: The offensive line for Boston College has been a topic of conversation in the offseason. What is the major matchup in this game that can swing momentum? Whether it be the offensive line or another aspect of the game.
AB: It has to be the offensive line. It’s definitely, on paper, BC’s biggest weakness. That’s not to say it will end up working out that way in practice, but BC is rolling out a completely new starting corps, and coupled with how important the offense is to BC’s success, if the o-line isn’t up to par everything could fall apart.
GP: What is the strength on both sides of the ball for Boston College heading into the season?
AB: I think, with all due respect to Pat Garwo III, offensively the passing game is BC’s strength. I think BC will turn to Jurkovec a whole lot to make big plays, and use Garwo III as more of a change of pace piece.
Garwo III is quite talented, so he can break out big runs too, but the passing game opens up the field in a way I don’t think Garwo quite can. Defensively, I really think it’s well balanced. I’m interested to see how Hafley coaches up the D-corps now that he has mostly his guys there, as that was his background.
GP: Prediction: Who wins? Why? Final Score?
AB: This is a difficult matchup for BC. Rutgers has had its struggles, but things are looking up for the Scarlet Knights, and I think BC needs to approach this game seriously.
If BC can get its o-line going, I think BC wins 28-7. If BC’s o-line is porous, well it could get ugly.
GP: What is your final record prediction for Boston College this season?
AB: I’m in the optimistic part of my season so I’ll say 8-4. Let’s see how long that lasts