David Hood: Clemson vs Boston College Prediction


by - Senior Writer -
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Is this the week the Tigers finally put it all together and pull out a victory?

This will be my first stab at picking games on TigerNet, and while I probably won’t be as wildly successful as Dan Scott (or his daughter), I will try my best to give the picks as I see them. Of course, my opinion and 25 cents will give you, well, 25 cents. Don’t take these picks to the bank, or your bookie. And no, I am not rich, so I can’t pay off Vinnie should you get into a little financial trouble, so don’t even ask.


Clemson at Boston College


When Clemson Has The Ball

Clemson’s offense has been the biggest mystery of the season – more offensive talent than they’ve ever had, and they’ve had trouble scoring the last three games. The much-maligned offensive line has to take a lot of the blame here, along with play calling and mistakes at the worst of times. To win at Boston College, Clemson has to run the ball successfully. They can’t sit back and expect to throw 35 times and win. Can this be the week the offensive line breaks through and makes enough room for James Davis and C.J. Spiller to run through? How effective will Spiller be after his hamstring injury? Boston College’s defense ranks in the Top 25 in the nation in eight defensive categories.

ADVANTAGE – Til the offensive line proves me wrong – BC by far

When BC has the Ball

This has to be the place where something gives – Boston College quarterback Chris Crane has a big body and tons of potential, but has thrown 12 interceptions on the season. The Clemson defense, one of the best in the nation last year at creating turnovers, has failed to create turnovers or make the big stop in 2008. Is it just me, or does it seem like Boston College dinks and dunks against the Tigers every year, plays keep away, and then hits the “dagger” play? If the Tigers are going to win, Bowers and Sapp and company will have to put enough pressure on Crane to force bad throws. Sitting back in the zone won’t cut it, so it will be interesting to see if the Tigers blitz more now that Swinney has had on off week to prepare. And don’t forget that defensive tackle and leader Rashad Jackson is back, which might give the Tigers the spark they need. If Vic Koenning is more aggressive this week, I like the Tigers’ chances.

ADVANTAGE - Slim to Clemson

Special Teams

Are we really talking about Clemson’s special teams when we say they’ve been a bright spot? Kicker Mark Buckholz is perfect on the season (7-for-7 on field goals and 22-for-22 on extra points), and the coverage teams have been more than adequate. The punters have struggled at times, and looked good at times. BC kicker Sid Aponavicius is 7-for-10 on field goals, and Rich Gunnell (yes, him, the one that broke Clemson hearts last season) returned a punt for a touchdown two weeks to lead the Eagles to a win.

ADVANTAGE – Even (until….see below)

Coaching

Dabo Swinney has pushed all the right buttons in trying to get this team back on track. However, defensive miscues, penalties and turnovers were still a problem against Georgia Tech. BC’s Jeff Jagodzinski has tons of NFL experience, and did well last season. For right now, we just don’t know if Swinney and Billy Napier can continue to share the play-calling and succeed.

ADVANTAGE – Boston College


Bottom Line

This series is this close – and Boston College has come away with the win each of the last three seasons, two of those in overtime. On paper, this one would seem to mirror last season’s emotional roller coaster, with neither team lighting up the scoreboard. And in a game like this, we all know it could turn on one crucial play. Look for somebody wearing orange and white to FINALLY make a crucial play in crunch time, and watch it be on special teams (you listening Nelson Faerber?). Swinney gets his first win as head coach.


THE PICK

Clemson 19, Boston College 17

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