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Boston College 2016 Preseason: Opponent Previews - Clemson

The O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy is up for grabs against the national runners up from last year.

NCAA Football: Clemson Spring Game Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

After a two-game lull against Wagner and Buffalo, the schedule kicks back for the Eagles against Clemson. Five games into the season, there will be no surprises about the game plan, no shocking revelation about what kind of team Boston College has. We’ll know the answers, and it’ll simply be how refined those schemes can be against the defending national runners up.

The drop of the Florida State Seminoles left a vacuum in that top one spot atop the league. Even though FSU is clearly an elite team, they aren’t the same championship caliber as when they won the title during the BCS era. Instead of ceding power to the Coastal Division, however, Clemson stepped to the front of the line.

The Tigers are long gone from the days of their past, the days where they “couldn’t win the big game.” In their place is a titan team, the centerpiece of the ACC, and the team that potentially could get to the next level.

Five games into the season, they’ll come north to play a night game on national television against the Eagles in the Battle for the O’Rourke-McFadden Trophy.

Clemson Tigers

School: Clemson University
Mascot: Tigers
Recommended Blog: Shakin’ The Southland
Conference Affiliation: Atlantic Coast Conference
Date of Game: October 7, 2016
Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Head Coach: Dabo Swinney (8th year, 9th overall)

Over the past year, Dabo Swinney’s gone from being just another great coach in college football to simply being one of the very best in the game.

In the past four years, Clemson’s finished in the top 10 in the nation three times. They’ve been to three Orange Bowls with two conference championships, and last year, a win in the game sent them to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game, where they lost to Alabama.

Swinney’s a new era of coach. The drill sergeant curmudgeon of a head coach, with notable exceptions, is becoming more and more passe in favor of the coach who can fully relate to his players. Dabo is the coach who hugs and cheers his players, runs down the hill with them in Death Valley, dabs on video, and dances after wins. He’s the one who yells at reporters for bringing up the term “Clemsoning.”

Dabo’s attitude used to be a critique against him; now it’s why he’s successful. Clemson’s won no less than 10 games every year since 2011, and entering this year, it’s possible their best days are yet to come.

2015 Season: 14-1 (8-0 ACC)

Recapping the 2015 Season

After starting the season outside of the top 10, Clemson didn’t waste any time putting a single digit next to their name. They beat Notre Dame in a monsoon hurricane, 24-22, then went on a tear. They dominated Georgia Tech and beat up Boston College. They beat Miami so thoroughly that players were caught eating oranges on the sidelines at halftime; Al Golden might’ve started packing his office right about that same time.

They marched right on through NC State, winning a shootout, then beat Florida State. They handled Syracuse and Wake Forest. They got through South Carolina in the Palmetto Bowl, then won another shootout in the ACC Championship Game over North Carolina.

Facing Oklahoma on New Year’s Eve, Clemson thoroughly dismantled the Sooners, putting to rest any doubt about whether their record was propped up or not as an undefeated team. And only a 45-40 loss to Alabama in the title game, considered one of the greatest college football games ever played, stood between the Tigers and hoisting the championship trophy.

Preseason Excitement Level: 10/10

This is one of the games circled on the schedule when Boston College released its 2016 slate of games. It’s the national television game on Friday night, during a time of year when New England is perfect for conditions. Any time a team like Clemson comes to town, there’s plenty to get excited for just in and of that itself.

But it’s more than that. The game is lining up that it maybe breaks for BC. The Tigers have a short week after hosting Louisville in what may determine the Atlantic Division champion, and they’ll play a BC team that’s coming off games against cream puff opponents. If the Eagles are hitting any kind of stride, they can catch a potentially beat-up Clemson squad.

If nothing else, this is the game that you need to live for if you’re a fan. Put aside your feelings about what had happened in the first five weeks, put on your colors, and represent in the crowd. It’s a chance to have a pure night of football, a chance to root for your team while their fans, who always show up in droves, roof for their team.

It needs no superfluous adjectives and no introduction. If you can’t get up for it, you shouldn’t be there.