Moving to the SEC always works for everyone. Right?
Following a two-week road trip, the Boston College Eagles will return home for their fourth game of the season against a Power-5 foe, the Missouri Tigers.
- Mizzou finished the 2020 season at 5-5. The Tigers were slated to play Iowa in Nashville in the Music City Bowl, but the game was not played.
- Eliah Drinkwitz is in his second season at Mizzou.
- This will be the first time Boston College has played Mizzou in the two programs’ history.
- Mizzou’s ESPN FPI rating sits at 4.2, good for 46th best in the country. BC’s, for reference, is 3.8, good for 50th in the country. Despite Mizzou’s better FPI rating, BC sits at a 59.6% favorite.
Eliah Drinkwitz came to Columbia following a one year stint at Appalachian State. During the 2019 season, Drinkwitz coached App State to a 12-1 record, a No. 20 ranking in the AP Poll, and an appearance in the New Orleans Bowl, which Drinkwitz did not coach. Drinkwitz got his job at App State after being a career offensive specialist, spending the 2015 season as Boise State’s offensive coordinator before moving to NC State for the same position. He apparently got an A- from CBS Sports for the year. Whatever that means.
The Tigers will give the nod to Connor Bazelak as their starting quarterback to start the season. Bazelak was named Co-SEC Freshman of the Year last year, and the buzz is palpable around him.
The reality is that Bazelak, however, was not the feature of the offense in 2020. That’s not necessarily indicative of his talents- when you have an NFL-caliber prospect in Larry Rountree III as a running back, the offense is always going to be run-first. However, Bazelak had a respectable year in that run-first offense.
Bazelak will almost certainly be more of a feature in the offense, with Rountree III’s departure. Bazelak is in his second season under Drinkwitz and Quarterback Coach Bush Hamdan’s tutelage, and with his development the Tigers will almost certainly expect him to step up.
Complementing Bazelak are two new additions in Columbia, Mookie Cooper, an Ohio State transfe and a new blue-chip signing in Dominic Lovett. Keke Chism, the Tigers’ leading receiver, also makes a return. With those three guys, the Tigers are going to try to beat BC with their speed.
Tyler Badie also appaers to be the heir apparent to Rountree III. A bit undersized, Badie can still pack a punch with his speed if Mizzou’s offensive line, a corps that went through a decent amount of transition this offseason, can get going.
Last year, Mizzou’s defense, to be blunt, left a lot to be desired. Of the Tigers’ ten gems, only two opponents were held to 10 points or less. Far more common were offensive shootouts that were, frankly, more common in Mizzou’s former conference.
Trajan Jeffcoat is the big player for the Eagles to look out for to protect Phil Jurkovec. The All-SEC edge rusher is the centerpiece of the Tigers’ defense and the Eagles will need to keep an eye on him.
The Eagles, however, can absolutely make inroads in the air. The Tigers were about low-to-average in passing yards allowed, and if Jurkovec can bring some passing magic to the Heights, Mizzou is a team that can get absolutely bullied in the air.
This is going to be a fun game. These are two very even teams, and will be BC’s first tough test.
This has all the marks of a shootout with two strong passing offenses coming together. BC has the talent to outlast Mizzou offensively, but stepping up defensively would be nice.
If I had to pick, I’d lean more on a more proven quarterback in Phil Jurkovec (he just is, Mizzou fans), and a little bit of home field advantage.
Prediction: Boston College 42-Missouri 31
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