ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- There was a time when Boston College was the No. 2 team in the country. Now it's come to this: the Champs Sports Bowl.
Boston College (10-3) lost three of its last five games, including two straight and the conference championship to Virginia Tech, to leave the Eagles out of the big bowls.
Still, there's something to play for Friday against Michigan State. A victory will give Boston College its first 11-win season since 1940 and extend the nation's longest bowl winning streak to eight.
"It's the last game for 17 fifth-year seniors, which is an extraordinarily high number of fifth-year guys, and it's the last time we will get to play together as a team," said quarterback Matt Ryan, the ACC Player of the Year. "So there is plenty of motivation. We have had some really good practices. Guys have been prepared and we are fired up and ready to go."
Michigan State (7-5) is just happy to be there, playing in its first bowl in four years. But it will be without four academically ineligible players: offensive lineman Abre Leggins, punt returner Terry Love, receiver-cornerback T.J. Williams and defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic. Also, coach Mark Dantonio suspended senior linebacker SirDarean Adams for violating unspecified team rules.
"I think everyone needs to push a little harder. We're going to do some things personnel-wise to try and counteract that," Dantonio said. "This is a game of inches, and we've always said that. It's a game of handling adversity. We just have to handle the situation and move forward."
The Spartans are one of nine teams in the country to average at least 200 yards a game rushing and receiving, and will need that balance against BC. The Eagles rank first in the nation in run defense, allowing just 68 yards a game, and fifth in interceptions with 21.
With Ryan at the controls, BC is sixth in the country in passing with 329 yards a game, and has four receivers with 50 or more catches for the first time in school history. He has thrown for 4,258 yards and 28 TDs, both school records.
"You really can't compare (Ryan) to anybody else we have seen this year. He is a playmaker," Michigan State safety Travis Key said. "He makes a lot of aggressive throws, I guess I could say. He makes a lot of throws a lot of other quarterbacks don't attempt. But he completes a lot of them."
Boston College could also have its first 1,000-yard rusher in four years if Andre Callender gets at least 64 yards.
But the Spartans have their own offensive punch. They average 34 points and 426 yards a game. Running backs Javon Ringer and Jehuu Caulcrick have combined for 2,159 yards and 27 TDs.
"Michigan State's running game has to be the best we have seen so far this year," BC linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar said. "We are looking forward to it. Something has to give. They rushed for over 2,000 yards and we are the No. 1 rush defense in the country, so something has to give. It should be fun."