Week 5 - Clemson at Boston College

Posted Sep 26, 2012

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Clemson at Boston College

Clemson (3-1) at Boston College (1-2) Sept. 29, 3:30, ESPN2

Here's The Deal: Regardless of what happened last weekend in Tallahassee, a 49-37 loss to Florida State, No. 16 Clemson is still one of the better teams in the nation. Now, it has to go out and prove it following an emotionally draining defeat in the ACC game of the year. In all likelihood, the Tigers are now blocked by the Seminoles from winning the Atlantic Division, which means a second straight conference crown won't happen. However, this is a team that's still capable of running the table and giving the ACC two representatives in the five BCS bowl games. Boston College comes out of a bye week with the knowledge that it's lost both of its games with FBS opponents, but has nonetheless competed in a pair of nine-point losses. The pressure continues to mount for struggling Eagles head coach Frank Spaziani, whose biggest supporter, AD Gene DeFilippo, is retiring the day after this game.

Why Clemson Might Win: The Tigers lost a game on Saturday night, but their reputation as a high-octane offense grew at Doak Campbell Stadium. Facing what was billed as an impenetrable Florida State D, Clemson still racked up 426 yards and scored five touchdowns. The speed of RB Andre Ellington and receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. The poise and precision of QB Tajh Boyd. The multiple looks and formations of coordinator Chad Morris. It'll all be too much to handle for a Boston College defense that's too quiet in the pass rush, and is having a tough time stopping the run the year after LB Luke Kuechly left for the NFL.

Why Boston College Might Win: Clemson still has problems on defense, the same question mark that haunted this program before the season began. No, the Eagles won't do what the Seminoles did last week, amassing 667 yards and blowing the Tigers off the ball. But, they will recognize openings that can be exploited. The offensive line has only allowed three sacks in three games, while QB Chase Rettig has overcome a banged-up receiving corps to throw for more than 300 yards a game. Plus, with a week to rest and heal, Boston College should have its full complement of running backs, including Rolandan Finch, Tahj Kimble and Andre Williams.

What To Watch Out For: Boston College has no confidence in its pass rush, a major problem when hosting Boyd and Clemson passing attack. If the Eagles are going to survive on defense, they'll need a monster effort out of the linebackers, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Nick Clancy and Steele Divitto. Clancy has been an interesting story through three games, a career backup who's emerging in his final season on campus. Tapping into his inner-Kuechly on the inside, he collected 24 tackles in BC's loss to Northwestern two weeks ago.

What Will Happen: Going on the road to face well-rested Boston College the week after suffering a deflating loss to Florida State is a potential landmine for Clemson. It cannot take this game—or this team—lightly. Fortunately for the Tigers, the Eagles are just shaky enough to survive without having to put forth a pristine effort. Whether or not the visitors start sluggishly, their considerable edge in speed and athleticism—on both sides of the ball—will shine through before long to prevent the indignity of a second straight loss.

CFN Prediction: Clemson 37 … Boston College 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Clemson -9.5 O/U: 59.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ryder Cup 2012, 1 – SNL Thursday Weekend Update): 2.5