In the days of old, the battle for the O’Rourke McFadden leather helmet would be a prime example of a letdown after dominating the Heisman Trophy Winner on the road.
In the words of Coach Swinney “The next game is the most important game of the year”, and this guards against the nightmares of old.
Clemson players and coaches note that Boston College is among the most physical and fundamentally sound teams that they face all year despite the talent disparity. They can hang with you if you let them, but they struggle to finish the job.
Even with the praises of the Clemson personnel, they are outmanned and it will take a series of blunders by Clemson in order for them to win.
Making an upset less likely, the quarterback is not an experienced veteran who can engineer an upset from under center. Instead, three-star redshirt freshman Anthony Brown is making the first big road trip of his collegiate career.
The Eagles are not an overachieving team, coming in at
81st in S&P (Clemson is 6th), and 94th in the Sagarin rankings (Clemson is 3rd).
Clemson has won six straight in the series and won 56-10 last year – both are records for the series in 26 games of action.
The most glaring change is that the once stout rushing defense of Boston College allowed 515 rushing yards to Notre Dame last week, and are allowing six yards a carry this year (they allowed 3.08, 2.39, and 3.34 y.p.c. in the last three years). This makes their passing defense statistics look good; but in reality it means that since the Eagles cannot stop the run, there is no need for opponents to pass.
Talent wise, Boston College has an average recruiting class rank of 13th in the ACC and 64th nationally over the last four years while failing to land a single four-star player.
The Eagles are comprised of three and two stars, with the talent disparity evident everywhere.
Clemson has a defensive line filled with future NFL players, while the Eagles’ offensive line are three stars (with a two star thrown in).
Clemson has a powerful running game this year that should dominate this matchup. But if the running game stalls, Clemson’s four and five star skill position players have the ability to thrash the Eagles’ least talented unit: the secondary comprised of three and two stars.
Despite the woes of the Eagles, there are some solid players to watch that could make an impact on the game, and one matchup you should watch in particular.
Defensive End Harold Landry will face off against Clemson’s Mitch Hyatt in a matchup between one of the top pass rushers and pass protectors in the nation. Both appear on watch lists for collegiate honors and 2018 NFL Draft previews, and Landry has been compared to Vic Beasley by multiple analysts.
Since kicker Greg Huegel is out for the year, it is important that Alex Spence gains his confidence in front of a home crowd.
The Tigers are 34.5 point favorites at home and hold both a coaching and talent advantage. Clemson playing at its best will beat Boston College by a significant margin. Things can happen – 45 point underdogs have won before. But Clemson should win on Hall of Fame Weekend comfortably in the quest to Charlotte.
Prediction: Clemson 48 Boston College 7