AdvoCare V100 Bowl breakdown: Arizona vs. Boston College
Arizona (7-5) vs. Boston College (7-5)
Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
• Reason to watch: This game features the country's two best tailbacks. The Eagles' Andre Williams and the Wildcats Ka'Deem Carey were both first-team All-Americas this season. (Carey was a consensus All-America last year, too.) Though Carey has a season of eligibility remaining, both players are expected to rumble straight from the AdvoCare V100 Bowl to the NFL, where they project as solid long-term backs.
Williams is a poetry-reading, book-writing, safety de-cleating star who has thrived in first-year coach Steve Addazio's power offense. At 6-feet and 227 pounds, he should be fully recovered from the shoulder injury he suffered in Boston College's regular-season finale at Syracuse on Nov. 30. "I know he wants to finish strong," said Eagles offensive coordinator Ryan Day, "and put an exclamation point on his senior year."
Carey (5-10, 207 pounds) is a bit smaller and shiftier than Williams, but he has been every bit as essential to his respective team's success. "He means the world to us," said Arizona associate head coach Calvin Magee. "It starts with him."
Williams led the nation with an average of 175.2 rushing yards per game. Carey finished second with an average of 156.0. Each back ran for 17 touchdowns. Look for both to carry the load in what will likely be a shootout -- or perhaps a ground out -- as neither team has leaned heavily on its defense this season.
• Keep an eye on: Boston College's offensive line. The Eagles like to bring in extra linemen in an attempt to overpower opponents. Formations with six and seven linemen are common. (The seven-lineman package is artfully named, "Fat.") Left tackle Matt Patchan, a transfer from Florida, has played his way into contention to be a mid-round NFL draft pick. Right tackle Ian White also projects to be selected by the pros. "You think about skill guys creating mismatches most of the time," Day said. "But we like to get bigger guys out on corners and safeties and create mismatches that way."
• Did you know: Williams and Carey were both finalists for the Doak Walker Award -- presented annually to the nation's top tailback -- with Williams ultimately taking home the trophy. Williams was also a finalist for the Heisman, the first at Boston College since Doug Flutie won the award in 1984. (Side note: Flutie's nephew, Troy, is a high school senior who set a Massachusetts record by throwing 112 career touchdown passes. Yes, he's committed to play for the Eagles.)
• Final analysis: As Magee pointed out, the teams play drastically differently styles, and the pace of the game could play a key role in determining the outcome. The Wildcats like to go up-tempo. Boston College prefers to ride Williams and grind out the clock. "I think that's the intrigue of it all," Magee said. "It's almost completely different."
In the end, the timing and reads of Arizona's spread-option offense -- will it be rusty after a lengthy break? -- may be the most important factor. Look for the Wildcats to find their rhythm against the Eagles' patchwork defense and eventually roll.
• The pick: Arizona 42, Boston College 33
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