Team: Clemson Tigers
SBNation Site: Shakin The Southland
Game Date, Location: September 23, Death Valley, SC.
2016 Record: 14-1
2016 Overall Offense Ranking: 12th
2016 Overall Defense Ranking: 8th
Bill Connolly’s Projected S&P: 6th
Last 2 Matchups: Bad (34-17 in 2015), and worse (56-10 in 2016)
Key Players: Clemson is going to be a team that isn’t going to look completely the same as they did when they won the National Title last season. They lost some of their major pieces on offense with Mike Williams, DeShaun Watson, Jordan Leggett, Wayne Gallman all no longer with the team. Defensive wise they had a ton of departures as well as Carlos Watkins (LB), Cordea Tankersley (S) Ben Boulware (LB). But man do they still have a ton of talent, as Dabo Swinney has just continued to reload with blue chip recruits.
At QB there isn’t a clear cut starter named so far, but Bill Connolly believes it is going to be Kelly Bryant, a junior who can make plays with his legs. Tavien Feaster will step right in at running back and probably not be a step down from Gallman. He averaged 6 yards a carry on 129 carries last year. Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow will be back at wide receiver, and bring good experience at the position.
Now on the defense, Clemson arguably has the best defensive line in football. Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence are going to be a nightmare to contain. Wilkins had 10 pass breakups AS A DT, and Ferrell had 12.5 sacks as a freshman.
Why Boston College Will Win This Game: Let’s just pretend that Clemson’s quarterback situation isn’t as strong as they had hoped, there is the possibility that Harold Landry and company could make some plays on defense to keep the Tiger’s high octane offense off the field.
Why Boston College Will Not Win This Game: Clemson’s defense is going to be very difficult to contend with this year, and unless BC’s offense and quarterback situation take major leaps, I can’t see them doing much against that front four especially on the road. Clemson may not be as refined as they were in 2016, but they are still going to make plays, and it will only take a long pass or two and BC could be in trouble.
AJ’s Odds BC Wins This Game: 5% . Could BC pull an upset here? I hate to be the Debbie Downer here, but I don’t think they will. I see the offense struggling against a very good defense and BC losing this game easily.