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Posted at 10:11 AM ET, 10/21/2011

Virginia Tech football vs. Boston College: Who do you think will win?


It’s been a tough year for Coach Frank Spaziani and Boston College. (Michael Dwyer - AP)
Virginia Tech and Boston College have played one another every year since 1993, and most of those meetings have carried some kind of significance. That’s because both the Hokies and Eagles have been remarkably consistent winners over the years

But this season’s Homecoming matchup has a much different feel to it. While No. 16 Virginia Tech extended its bowl-eligibility streak to 19 years with a win at Wake Forest last week, Boston College finds itself in shambles through six games. The Eagles are 1-5 with no wins against Football Bowl Subdivision schools and are in jeopardy of not becoming eligible for a bowl game for the first time since 1998.

From the start, Boston College’s season hasn’t gone as planned. Dynamic running back Montel Harris, a first-team all-ACC selection during the preseason and the Eagles’ all-time leading rusher, had two surgeries on his knee this offseason and was shut down for the year last week so he can take a medical redshirt.

Boston College also lost its offensive coordinator, former Virginia Tech quarterbacks coach Kevin Rogers, after just two games because of undisclosed health reasons. It’s no wonder the Eagles rank 104th in the country in total offense this year.

“I couldn’t put a percentage on it, but anytime you have change of that sort, it’s not the ideal situation,” Coach Frank Spaziani said. “And then you have to move forward and try to overcome whatever problems that creates. It certainly has been a little bit of a disruptive factor.”

The Eagles’ defense isn’t much better, and though middle linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the country with 99 tackles, the unit ranks 95th in the country having given up more than 419 yards per game. The Hokies’ defense will likely be without cornerback Jayron Hosley (hamstring), but it also gets some reinforcements this weekend with the return of defensive end James Gayle from a sprained ankle.

But perhaps most important is that after three straight weeks of facing ACC opponents battling for position atop the conference standings, the Hokies now must get up for a game in which they’re 21-point favorites.

If Virginia Tech needs any motivation, it only has to look at how the Coastal Division race is shaping up. The Hokies are one of four teams with just one conference loss, but Coach Frank Beamer has reminded his team in recent days that to make it back to the ACC championship and potentially get a rematch with Clemson: “We don’t have to rely on anyone else. It’s in our hands.”

“Knowing they’re very capable and playing hard for that first conference win, I’m sure they’d like nothing more than to come in here and get that,” wide receiver Danny Coale said of Boston College. “We know we’re gonna get their best shot and when they play their best and a complete game, they’re a pretty good team.”

Before we go any further, I have to admit that during the build-up to the season, The Post asked me to predict how each game would go for Virginia Tech this year and I chose this week as the Hokies’ lone regular season loss. Obviously, I overestimated Spaziani’s squad.

My guess is Virginia Tech gets Boston College’s best effort of the year coming off a bye week, but we’ll still see a relative routine Hokies victory at Lane Stadium Saturday.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, Boston College 10

But how do you think this Saturday’s Homecoming game will play out. Can the Eagles give Virginia Tech a challenge or will the Hokies continue their surge since losing to Clemson three weeks ago? Vote in our poll below, and as always, let me know your thoughts on the game in the comments section.

By Mark Giannotto  |  10:11 AM ET, 10/21/2011

 
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