Now that more teams have actually played real, live games, it is worth taking a look at how the opponents stack up for both UMass and Boston College.
Let's start with UMass.
At the beginning of the season, we ranked this Saturday's opponent, Georgia Southern, as the third-easiest game on the schedule. Now, that doesn't seem to be the case. The Eagles have brought back the run-based offense that worked so well for it in the past, and it clicked in a 37-6 win over South Carolina State this weekend. Right now, UMass should still feel confident, but this isn't a gimme.
Nothing has changed in our analysis of Florida International. Even after a 38-28 loss to Indiana, this is still a team we feel that can give UMass a lot of problems, as it did last year in 63-45 win over the Minutemen.
Charlotte beat Fordham, 34-10, but although this is a team that will be tougher than Duquesne, it's another opponent that UMass should beat. No change there.
A very interesting one is Ohio. The Bobcats barely slipped by Howard this past weekend. That's a bit of a shocker, considering Ohio is one of the most consistent programs in the Mid-American Conference. Earlier, we were counting this as one of the top-five toughest games on the schedule. We don't feel like that anymore.
We're going to hold off on South Florida for now. The Bulls beat Elon (meh) over the weekend, but have Georgia Tech coming up. We felt this would be one of the toughest games on the schedule coming in, and still feel that way.
Coastal Carolina did not surprise anyone by losing to a South Carolina team that is one of the best in the SEC East. We still feel this is a game UMass should win.
UConn was overrun by a very good Central Florida team, but its offense showed a little life at times on the ground. We ranked UConn as the No. 6 team on the UMass schedule a month ago, and we feel that's about right.
As for Liberty, the Flames should be penciled in as a win, too, but we will know a little more after they visit Army this weekend.
The big flip is with BYU. At the beginning of the season, we were not all that concerned after the Minutemen went to Provo and beat the Cougars last year. BYU was simply not a good team last year, and we felt that downward slide might continue. However, BYU looked impressive in a win over Arizona over the weekend, especially the offense under new coordinator Jeff Grimes. We might make the Minutemen an underdog here now.
Georgia? Yeah, the Bulldogs are still loaded.
As for BC, things are about to get very, very interesting.
Let's start with Holy Cross. No change there, the starters should again be out early.
Wake Forest looked average in its opener, but a road Thursday night game is a road Thursday night game. Never easy. Still think the Eagles should win that, though.
At Purdue is about what we thought. Tough, not a world-beater, but very dangerous. My goodness, true freshman Rondale Moore is going to be a handful for the BC defense, whether he is getting handoffs, catching passes, or returning kicks or punts. The kid is special.
Temple lost to Villanova. Villanova is a good FCS program, but, come on. Eagles roll.
NC State struggled with James Madison, which is about as good of an FCS team you can find on the East Coast. Still, even though BC will play that one on the road, the Eagles should win in Raleigh.
Although you can't draw too many conclusions when a team gets shellacked by the best program in the country, Louisville does not look like a world-beater after its loss to Alabama. That would happen to almost anyone in college football, but with the Cardinals coming to Chestnut Hill, again, BC should be favored.
The major swing comes when Miami visits the following weekend. Sorry, we know LSU is very talented, but Miami just looked lost. We thought the Hurricanes were the second-toughest team on the schedule, and while we are not going to give up on Miami just yet, that's a very winnable game for the Eagles.
At Virginia Tech on Nov. 3 will be a huge showdown, especially considering, if you peruse what we've just written, there is an outside chance that the Eagles come into Blacksburg undefeated. Is that a sure thing? Of course not. But it looks more possible than it did a month ago. However, Virginia Tech looked beastly Monday night in dominating Florida State. Right now, the Hokies should be favored there.
At home against Clemson is still a steep hill to climb. No change there.
Like Miami, Florida State played a very good team over the weekend, but still looked utterly clueless in a lot of areas. We think the Eagles should win that, even though it's in Tallahassee.
You have to like what Syracuse can do on offense, but BC matches up really well with the Orange. They final game of the regular season should be a win.