I'll stand by what I said last week -- this game will make or break BC's season. If they win, I think it will give the team enough confidence to potentially reach a 10 win season. A loss probably means 7 or 8 wins and another Boise-like Bowl. Now on to the preview.
Theme that won’t be discussed on television. The national media love to roast Tommy Bowden. If he stumbles against BC and Florida State this year, you can bet that pundits will start putting him on the hot seat. Yet, if you talk to most Clemson fans and bloggers, they say Tommy is secure and well liked. Contrast that with TOB. He would never be placed on any supposed hot seat list. Yet many BC fans don’t particulary like him and are starting to get vocal about it.
Three simple keys:
1. Throwing to the Tight Ends on the short and intermediate routes over the middle. This worked like a charm against CMU. I would think that Clemson would prepare for it. However, the Tigers face one key problem -- their linebackers are decimated. Their new guys are going to be learning on the fly. I like our matchup advantage.
2. Defensive line pressure. This will be tough missing Raji for a half. Although some of the guys played above expectations last week, the unit, as a whole, did not. This week they need to apply more pressure and throw their hands up on passing downs. Like CMU, Clemson will be throwing on quick drops. It is up to our D-line to be dissruptive as possible.
3. Don’t recyle last season’s gameplan. Last year TOB decided to wear on Clemson. The offense ran over 90 plays. The second unit offensive line came in for a TD scoring drive. It was one of TOB’s best effort. Unfortunately it is outdated now. Our line depth is not what it was. Clemson’s front is much better. The heat in Boston won’t be the same as it was in Death Valley. TOB needs some new wrinkles. Yet I have a fear that we are going to trot out the same plan and not anticipate Clemson’s adjustments. In this game, I think BC needs to pass more and give whoever is playing QB some time to throw downfield.
-- TOB is 9-7 as a home underdog.
-- Tommy Bowden is 5-9-1 as an away favorite.
-- Clemson has not played a regular season game north of College Park, MD since 1983 (their last trip to Boston. BC won 31-16.)
The current line is Boston College +2.5
What would be a pleasant surprise? With questions at QB and coming off a dud opener, I would be pleasantly surprised with a comfortable BC win.
What would be a letdown? Clemson blowing BC out. If it is another hard fought, close game like last year that just happens to go the other way, I think the fans would be somewhat accepting. If we get crushed it could kill fan and player morale.
What would be a shocker? This is supposed to be Clemson’s year. BC looked lousy agaisnt CMU and has QB issues. If we come out and win by three touchdowns, even TOB’s most vocal critics will shut up (for a week or two).
Believe it our not, I like our chances this week. I think getting Clemson early and at home is a good thing. I think Proctor and the Clemson injuries will be a bigger factor than BC’s issues (QBs and Raji’s suspension). I think Ryan will be okay and play well. And I hope that last week’s game was a wake-up call to the staff and players.
Final Score: BC 27, Clemson 17.