Dan Scott Prediction: Boston College at Clemson


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A chance to play for a championship is on the line. Big game? For Clemson, it's the biggest game - some say - since 1991. The question is, can I step up with a big-game performance?

BOSTON COLLEGE AT CLEMSON

WHEN CLEMSON HAS THE BALL

This should be an interesting battle, if for no other reason than the injuries both teams are fighting. Clemson's offensive line is banged up. The Eagles have as many as four starters hobbled and questionable. It comes down to, I believe, the Tigers' ability to run the football. If they can run it enough to keep BC honest, it will make life much easier for Cullen Harper and his receivers.

ADVANTAGE - CLEMSON

WHEN BC HAS THE BALL

The Eagles have had trouble running the ball most of the year, so the load has fallen on Matt Ryan. Most of the time he has handled the extra pressure. The last couple of weeks his mistakes have helped cost BC games. But he remains a dangerous, NFL-potential quarterback who has voodoo-ed Clemson in each of the last two seasons. If Clemson can rush him with the front four, like they did against Wake Forest last week, it will make life much easier for Vic Koening's crew. If not, Ryan will pick that zone defense apart. No advantage here out of respect for Ryan's track record against the Tigers.

ADVANTAGE - NONE

SPECIAL TEAMS

Statistically, Clemson wins most head-to-head categories in this area. Their performance the last few weeks has been encouraging. So much so that I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt this week, difficult as it is.

ADVANTAGE - CLEMSON

INTANGIBLES

Normally, this would be Matt Ryan's category. But with the importance of the game and the electricity that's expected to surround Death Valley, it's hard to go against the Tigers here. After blowing a similar opportunity to Va. Tech earlier this year, they get a second chance in a much bigger game.

ADVANTAGE - CLEMSON

BOTTOM LINE

Up until two weeks ago, I fully intended to pick BC to win this game. But with fortunes headed in different directions, it has caused me to pause and reconsider. Fans have been clamoring for a shot at an ACC Championship. This is Tommy Bowden's chance to deliver for the first time. He won't blow it.

THE PICK

Clemson 31, Boston College 27

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