Clemson vs Boston College Predictions and Picks: Against the Spread and Latest Odds
Boston College vs Clemson
Point Spread: Clemson -15.5
Date and Time: Saturday, October 2, 7:30 pm ET
Clemson vs Boston College Prediction
Out of the tunnel
September isn’t yet behind us, and Clemson is out of the national championship hunt and a shadow of its former championship self.
Long gone is the recent history of dominating the ACC and an annual spot in the College Football Playoff. The Tigers can’t move the ball on offense, and a stout defense is worn out by the second half.
Translation: every ACC game will be an adventure.
It’s here where we introduce a suddenly hot Boston College team that two weeks ago lost its All-American candidate at quarterback (Phil Jurkovec), and could have easily folded tent. Instead, the Eagles ramped it up under second-year coach Jeff Hafley.
Boston College is 4-0 for the first time since 2007, but haven’t played an ACC game. What better way to start the conference season than making a statement in Game 1, on the road, against the 6-time defending champions?
In three games against Power 5 opponents, Clemson has scored three points in a loss to Georgia, 14 in a close win over Georgia Tech and 21 in a loss to NC State.
Boston College, meanwhile, just beat a team with a pulse (Missouri) in the waning seconds of the game. Other than that, it’s wins over Colgate, UMass and Temple.
When Clemson has the ball
Tajh Boyd. Deshaun Watson. Trevor Lawrence. Championships, elite offenses, a sleek machine.
Fast forward to this season at Clemson: 121st in the nation in total offense, 105th in scoring offense, 99th in rush offense.
There’s one clear reason for the drastic decline with the offense, and we should’ve seen this as early as the 2019 season during the College Football Playoff: the offensive line.
Clemson won national championships in 2016 and 2018 with elite quarterbacks, but those generational players (Watson and Lawrence) overshadowed stout offensive lines in both seasons.
LSU harassed Lawrence in the 2019 national championship game, and forced him into the then-worst game of career. The Tigers rolled through the 2020 season (only losing in the regular season when Lawrence was out with Covid), but the line was exposed again in the playoff – this time in an ugly semifinal loss to Ohio State.
This season, the offensive line struggles to run block and tackles Jordan McFadden and Walker Parks are overwhelmed at times in pass protection.
Just how bad is it on the offensive line? The offense looks pedestrian, and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (3 TD, 3 INT), a rare recruit who played well last season as Lawrence’s backup, looks lost.
There’s no run game, and talented freshman TB Will Shipley is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
When Boston College has the ball
There’s nothing too exciting, just effective. The Eagles are massive across the offensive line, and have a trio of tailbacks that can push the pile and get chunk plays.
The average size of the five on the offense line is 6-feet-4, 312 pounds, with three fifth-year seniors, a fourth-year junior and a third-year sophomore. They’re experienced, they’ve been through the ACC grind, and now – like everyone else in the ACC – they see an opening at the top of the conference.
That bruising, power run style led by TB Pat Garwo III (412 yards, 4 TDs, 6.8 ypc.) has been instrumental in the offense protecting backup QB Dennis Grosel. The Eagles run the control tempo, and then throw off play action to dynamic WR Zay Flowers (18 catches, 15.3 ypc.).
Grosel struggled early to replace Jurkovec, but has strung together back-to-back sold games, including a few big throws last week in a big non-conference win against Missouri.
The problem for Clemson: both of the Tigers’ starting defensive tackles – All-American candidate Brian Bresee and Tyler Davis – are out, and Boston College is best on the offensive line across the middle three.
Clemson gave up 306 yards rushing in the last two games against Georgia Tech and NC State – and was fortunate to not lose both games. Stopping the run is now a significant issue.
The bottom line
A dangerous game for Clemson, if for no other reason, it’s a bad matchup against a team that can run the ball and shorten the game. Boston College is playing with attitude and confidence, and Grosel made game-winning plays last week against Missouri.
Clemson vs Boston College Prediction and Pick
Prediction: Boston College, 27-24