Key stretch: Boston College

If you look closely at every team’s schedule, you’ll find a stretch of games that is more difficult than any other consecutive weeks in the fall -- a key stretch that will define the season, and make or break championship hopes. This series will take a look at which weeks in the season will present the biggest challenges for each program in the ACC, and predict how each team will fare during that stretch. We’ll go in alphabetical order, starting with Boston College:


Key stretch: Oct. 22-Nov. 12 (at Virginia Tech, at Maryland, Florida State, NC State).

Analysis: The Eagles don’t get any break in the second half of the season, as they end the schedule with four of six games on the road, and the first four games following the Oct. 15 bye week will determine whether or not the Eagles are a contender for the Atlantic Division title. While the game at Virginia Tech won’t derail their hopes of winning the division title, it will affect BC’s overall record, confidence and momentum heading into three straight division games. If BC can upset the Hokies in Blacksburg, they’re suddenly a legitimate title team. A road trip to Maryland won’t be easy, but the home games against Florida State (Thursday night) and NC State will be the true test of where BC stands in the Atlantic Division.

Prediction: Boston College has been notorious for its road struggles recently, but it has been tough to beat at home. The Eagles won’t win in Blacksburg, but they could beat Maryland in College Park. With a little momentum, they could surprise Florida State. It’s been done before in Chestnut Hill, but the more likely win would come against the Wolfpack on Nov. 12. The Eagles go 2-2 during this key stretch and play the role of spoiler against NC State, but can’t muster enough to knock the Noles off their perch.