Brian: Jeff, BC has been quietly preparing for our bowl game and our matchup with the Vanderbilt Commodores. What do you expect to see from the Eagles on Wednesday?
Jeff: I expect to see a performance similar to the Champs Sports Bowl last year. Coming off the ACCCG loss and playing a far inferior team leaves room for a potential upset but I fully expect the Eagles to pull off a victory. BC is probably three touchdowns better than Vanderbilt but I do not expect that type of blowout.
Brian: I expect BC to play smart football and win this game, but do expect this to be a low scoring affair. I believe BC-Vanderbilt has the lowest over/under of any of this year's college football bowl games. However, I don't necessarily think that Vanderbilt will be as tough an opponent as Michigan State was in last year's bowl. Vanderbilt's season has certainly been a head scratcher:
... A road win against Mississippi back in September (the Rebels went on to beat Florida the following week)
... Losses to Mississippi State on the road and Tennessee at home - two of the worst SEC teams this year
... Losses to ACC schools Duke at home (3 point margin) and Wake Forest on the road (13 points)
... A win against a ranked South Carolina team back in September and another bowl bound team - Rice
And the rest of their games this year - with the exception of Florida - have at least been competitive. I'm not sure what team will show up. Regardless, Vanderbilt went into a tailspin to finish the season after starting 5-0, and having used three different quarterbacks this year, the Commodore offense has sputtered in the second half of the season. BC is averaging 25.5 points for per game, and I don't expect this game to be any different, even with Davis under center. I'll say BC wins comfortably in front of the home Vanderbilt crowd, 24-6.
Jeff: As this will be somewhat of an audition for Dominique Davis at quarterback, how do you think he will perform? Do you expect to see the game-manager who limits his mistakes (the Maryland game), or the young kid who showed up under center in the ACC Championship Game?
Brian: While I don't expect Davis to win next year's starting job with jaw-dropping numbers, he will be much better than his 17-of-43, 1 touchdown, 2 INTs, fumble for a Hokie 6 performance in the ACC Championship Game. Davis has had plenty of time to prepare for this game. Even though he looked like a deer in the headlights against Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, statistically, the Vanderbilt defense isn't nearly as good as those units. Still, the Commodore defense is much better than that of Maryland's, so I expect to see a performance somewhere in between the Maryland and Virginia Tech games. Unfortunately for Eagles fans though, after this game nothing will be settled for the starting QB position for 2009.
Brian: Our bowl pick'em records have been atrocious, by the way. To date, you have gone 5-7 - picking up a win in last night's Independence Bowl - while I have only managed to have a slightly better record at 6-6. Picks aside, with four ACC teams already having played their bowl game, and NC State slated to face Rutgers this afternoon, what have we learned about the ACC so far?
Jeff: I would like to see the ACC sitting at 3-1 through four games but if you have watched the games or even just looked at the scores, you would know that they have nearly achieved that. North Carolina and Miami both lost because of fourth quarter turnovers resulting in game winning touchdowns for the opponent. Meanwhile, FSU and Wake both won by more than a touchdown. We'll see what happens from here on but right now the ACC could still finish 8-2 or 5-5.
Interestingly enough, every bowl game the ACC has been a part of so far has been a home game for one of the teams. Wake and Miami both played "on the road" while Florida State and UNC played "at home." We all know BC is playing a road game and Georgia Tech has a home game in Atlanta but hopefully we won't see anymore so ridiculously lopsided crowds like we did with Miami going to San Francisco to play California.
Quickly... Vanderbilt is learning about all the perks of being a bowl team ... nice writeup on Eagle in the NHL Chuck Kobasew in the Globe ... the Patriots finish the season 11-5 but fail to make the playoffs: as 11 wins is 2 up on the Eagles with the Eagles only having 1 game to play, I believe I had that one right ... not the type of press Gosder Cherilus was looking for ... performance of the week? Corey Raji's of course ... BC = still not on Mr. Bracketologist's radar ... will UNC football be better in Butch Davis' year three? Short answer is no ...