Why to Watch: Along with Florida State, these two are the contenders in the ACC Atlantic Division and the winner of this game gets a game and half lead, essentially, on the other one. With the Noles still ahead for each, it's not an overstatement to say this might be an elimination game. Last year, these two battered each other into overtime last year in Death Valley, when BC escaped with a 16-13 win after a ‘First and Brian Toal' touchdown, and this game might be even more exciting given what's at stake. Clemson wasn't tested last week against Florida Atlantic winning 54-6, while Boston College got pushed to the limit by Central Michigan in a 31-24 win. Clemson hasn't ventured into Chestnut Hill since Doug Flutie was at quarterback, and the Eagles' Nest should be rocking.
Why Clemson Might Win: Pick your poison with the Tiger RBs - James Davis, Reggie Merriweather and CJ Spiller. Any one could give the Boston College run defense problems, but in combination, they're still fresh and explosive in the fourth quarter. However, Davis is the one guy who has the most ability to dominate the ball and the game, picking up five to six yards a carry, which could have the Eagles in big-time trouble. Although the BC offensive tackles have experience, they won't have an answer for All-American DE Gaines Adams. The Clemson star DE will be a constant threat in the backfield, be it against run or pass, and a consistent problem for those Eagle tackles.
Why Boston College Might Win: Last week, BC QB Matt Ryan threw the ball 48 times. The purpose was to give Ryan some work against live competition, but what the end result was that he proved that he can spread the ball around to all his options completing passes to 11 different receivers. Ryan's ability to find his second and/or third receivers is key to being effective on third down. On the other side of the ball, BC safety Jamie Silva is a tremendous hitter in the middle of the Eagle defense and should be a factor in the box against the Clemson running game. The BC run defense held CMU All-MAC RB Ontario Sneed in check last week and should provide a stern test for the Clemson run game.
Who to Watch: Ryan's ability to spread the receptions around to his myriad of pass catching threats puts the spotlight square on Clemson CB Duane Coleman and Haydrian Lewis. The Clemson secondary allowed FAU to complete 65% through the air, but it can't allow Ryan to control the ball in that way this weekend. BC DT B.J. Raji was ejected late in last week's game at CMU, but this week he has to control the middle, occupying the Clemson interior, allowing his linebackers to attack Davis, et al.
What Will Happen: Ryan shouldn't throw the ball 48 times, because the more times that he goes back to throw, Adams will be bearing down on him. The Eagles should test a Tiger run defense that lost All-ACC LB candidate Anthony Waters, who's out for the season with an ACL tear. In so doing, they'll find a better balance in their offense to keep the Clemson defense guessing. Clemson QB Will Proctor got the jitters out last week against FAU, but the Tigers should see plenty of Eagles in the box to force the passing game to get the job done. Proctor will come through.
CFN Prediction: Clemson 24 ... Boston College 20 ... Line: Clemson -4
Must See Rating: (5 skip the birth of your first born - 1 Fashion House) ... 4
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