Why to watch: Coming off one-sided losses, both NC State and Boston College are hoping to reverse their fortunes now before a nasty trend develops. Tom O'Brien, who used to call Chestnut Hill home, has a lot more to worry about than Frank Spaziani, his former defensive coordinator with the Eagles. The Pack has actually dropped its last two, including a humbling 49-28 loss at the hands of Duke. Since getting beyond the cushy portion of the schedule, NC State has been exposed, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Even after getting roughed up by Virginia Tech, 48-14, in Blacksburg, Boston College has exceeded forecast in a year that very little was expected. Although the Eagles clearly don't have the look of an ACC champ, taking another step closer to bowl eligibility would be an accomplishment in Spaziani's debut season.
Why NC State might win: The Wolfpack has been very good against the run and very weak against the pass, a combination that could work against this week's opponent. Boston College prefers to keep it on the ground with Montel Harris and buffer the nation's 105th-ranked passing game from having to do too much. State is No. 4 nationally versus the run, getting support on the first line of defense from DT Alan-Michael Cash and DE Willie Young, and on the second line from linebackers Ray Michel and Audi Cole. It also has a significant edge at quarterback, with Russell Wilson playing much better than David Shinskie.
Why Boston College might win: Shinskie may not be Wilson, but you might not know it on Saturday. The NC State secondary is in disrepair, getting shredded for 10 touchdown passes over the last three games. None of the different combinations tried by O'Brien has worked. It could be a big day for Colin Larmond and Rich Gunnell, who have emerged as the Eagles' top two pass-catching threats. Boston College has yet to lose at home, beating Wake Forest and Florida State the last two times it hosted.
Who to watch: When one door shuts, another one typically opens. That's been the case for Boston College at linebacker. While there was no way to replace Mark Herzlich, his absence has made room for true freshman Luke Kuechly to blossom into a star a year or two before the expected timeline. Improving every weekend, he has a team-high 55 tackles, five of which were behind the line.
What will happen: While Shinskie won't obliterate the NC State defense the way Thaddeus Lewis did last Saturday, he will play well enough to keep Boston College perfect in Massachusetts. After a few connections downfield, the Pack will be forced to lay off the line, creating some running room for Harris and some much-needed balance on offense.
CFN Prediction: Boston College 24 … NC State 20 ... Line: Boston College -3
Must See Rating: (Bored To Death 5 … My Monkey Baby 1) … 2