Dan Scott: Clemson-Boston College Prediction


by - Correspondent -
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Well, it took three overtimes to do it, but the ol' Magic Helmet went fuzzy on us for the first time last week.

Still, much like the Tigers themselves, MH got a Standing O from the other prognosticators in our little circle just for being so very, very close. But close don't feed the bulldog. And with Boston College in town this week, neither Clemson nor the Magic Helmet can afford an emotional letdown.

When Clemson Has The Ball

The Tigers couldn't run the ball vs. Miami's outstanding defensive front, and Saturday it doesn't get any easier. Boston College comes into the game ranked third in the nation against the run, and where the 'Canes do it with speed, the Eagles boast impressive size along the defensive line. So, it's up to offensive coordinator Rob Spence to find a way to get just enough ground game going so BC has to respect play-action. Then it will be on the shoulders of Charlie Whitehurst to make the plays. He made almost enough vs. Miami. Saturday, "almost enough" won't be enough.

ADVANTAGE - Even

When BC Has The Ball

Another word or two about size. As in, 6-foot-6, 316-pounds. That's the average across the BC offensive front (not counting their 269-pound tight end). The Eagles will try to suck the life out of Clemson and the sellout crowd expected at Death Valley with a methodical, ball-control offense. After keeping possession for more than 37 minutes vs. Florida State, BC would love a duplicate effort here. The two keys: Clemson's ability to control the run, and the availability of BC quarterback Quinton Porter (leg injury). His presence makes the Eagles much more dangerous.

ADVANTAGE - Even

Special Teams

Clemson's punt team and kickoff return unit continue to come under scrutiny. Tom O'Brien's special teams usually are solid, if not spectacular.

ADVANTAGE - BC

Coaching

O'Brien's teams don't make the silly mistake. They are fundamentally sound, rarely beating themselves. Clemson, though, was able to push Miami to three overtimes despite being turned into a one-dimensional offense a week ago. That's a pretty good indication of how special Spence's offense can become.

ADVANTAGE - Clemson

Tough call here. The ol' Magic Helmet is still a bit fuzzy after last week. But a shake here and a bit of polish there reveals a Clemson team which has learned its lesson about how to follow an emotional loss. And though they can ill afford another divisional loss inside the conference, it says here the Eagles in fact do just that.

THE PICK

Clemson 24, BC 21

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