Two ranked teams, both 7-1, are meeting late in the season in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with a Bowl Championship Series berth possibly on the line.

Florida State-Virginia Tech? Miami-Clemson?

None of the above. It’s No. 16 Boston College at No. 22 Wake Forest.

The same Wake Forest that hasn’t been 8-1 since 1944.

“I told our kids that as long as you live you’ll never have more fun than you’ll have Saturday night,” Demon Deacons coach Jim Grobe said. “This is what you play for, what you dream about growing up. You lay awake at night dreaming of playing on national TV and playing for something that matters. It’s as good as it gets.”

Despite a slew of injuries, the Demon Deacons are 3-1 in the conference and in a three-way tie atop the Atlantic Division with Boston College and Maryland.

“It feels good but we just can’t get satisfied with where we’re at right now,” said Kenneth Moore, a wide receiver who has been converted to running back this week due to injuries in the backfield. “It’s definitely a tremendous honor to be 7-1.

“But we can’t settle. This is not our goal, to be 7-1. Our goal is to keep on playing and win each game that we have left and just make it to the ACC championship and make it to a BCS bowl.”

The Eagles have the same goals and know that a win against Wake Forest could help them win the conference title in just their second ACC season.

“We’re both 7-1 for a reason,” Boston College linebacker Brian Toal said. “There are a lot of similarities in our two teams.”

And a history of close finishes in the series. The past three meetings have been decided by a total of 12 points. Last season, Matt Ryan came off the bench for Boston College and threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Challenger with 1:18 left to give the Eagles a 35-30 win. The game cemented Ryan’s status as the Eagles’ starter.

Boston College coach Tom O’Brien said Ryan will start Saturday after sitting out last week’s 41-0 rout of Buffalo as a precaution due to a sore left ankle and foot.

“I think the week of rest did me a lot of good,” Ryan said. “Any time you get a week of rest this late in the season it’s beneficial and it helped me a lot not playing last week.”

Wake keeps winning despite numerous injuries. Quarterback Benjamin Mauk and running back Micah Andrews got hurt in the first month of the season. Last week, Andrews’ replacement, Kevin Harris, suffered a sprained knee against North Carolina. He’s expected to miss three to five weeks.

Grobe said this week that Moore would probably see time in the backfield with De’Angelo Bryant against the ACC’s second-best rushing defense (76.5 yards per game).

The game begins a stretch that will determine if Wake is back after years of football futility. The Demon Deacons, who still have to play Florida State, Virginia Tech and Maryland, haven’t won a game in November since 2003 and have lost nine straight games to ranked teams.

“It’s definitely going to be fun,” Wake receiver Willie Idlette said. “We haven’t had a night game this year, both teams nationally ranked, and on national TV. We will get some recognition.”

AP-ES-11-03-06 1240EST



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