ACC play for the Eagles gets off to a hot start this season with yet another trip to Death Valley taking on Clemson (thanks, ACC). The #2 team in the country has won the past six ACC Championships, but Trevor Lawrence is gone to Duval. Is this the most vulnerable Clemson team in years? Could this be the end of the dynasty? Will BC assume the mantle? All this, and more.
BC is 9-19-2 all time against Clemson, and are losers of 10 straight. On the road, BC hasn’t sniffed a win since 2007.
Last season’s 34-28 nail biter was the best BC has played Clemson since that fateful day in Chestnut Hill circa 2014. BC held a 28-13 lead at halftime only to be stymied the rest of the contest (a trend that will be fixed per sources).
We all know the man in charge. Dabo Swinney returns for his 14th season in charge along with much of the rest of the coaching staff once again. The two-time national championship coach is flanked by Brent Venables and Tony Elliot at DC and OC, who have been at the job for nine and six seasons now. Former QB Tajh Boyd joins the coaching staff as well. This brain trust knows all the ins and outs and have the team running like a machine. The continuity is unparalleled and makes the process of churning elite players year-in and year-out much smoother.
Gone are the days of Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, and Amari Rodgers, but here comes a new crop led by DJ Uiagalelei as the full-fledged starter. BC does have the added benefit of having been one of the few teams to see young Uiagalelei in action, with Lawrence sitting out the 2020 game due to COVID. Last season, the offense generated 502 yards and 43.5 points per game. They only have five starters returning on offense and should regress, but they are still Clemson.
Amari Rodgers and Cornell Powell were the one-two on the outside, but are gone now. Justyn Ross returns from a serious neck injury and will be the biggest threat. Behind him, the Tigers still have plenty of talent. Names to watch include Joseph Ngata and freshman EJ Williams. Will Shipley will attempt to fill in the enormous Etienne void. On the offensive line, the team returns three starters but the key departures means less experience for a unit already short on career starts. Braden Galloway is the leading receiving option returning and is a top caliber tight end.
Clemson always has a formidable defensive line, and this season should prove no different. Bryan Bresee is be a force at tackle and showed great things in his freshman campaign, and Myles Murphy will be equally formidable on the end. All but one starting linebacker return and the unit should be even more dangerous. In the backend, Clemson once again maintains continuity after the purge from the season prior led by senior safety Nolan Turner.
The Tigers return nine starters this season and look to have one of the best defensive lines in the country and a top linebacking corps to compliment. A season after allowing 327 yards per game, their most since 2013 this unit will get right back to what we are accustomed to. The Clemson defense had mostly new faces last year, but now the underclassmen are more experienced.
Clemson opens their season against Georgia and open up ACC play two weeks before facing Boston College. Uiagalelei showed his mettle in games against BC and Notre Dame last season and the offense should roll in similar fashion. Maybe the Tigers take on BC a little banged up after facing a formidable NC State defense the week prior. It’s tough to get the taste out of your mouth after last season’s collapse, and that could be all the motivation the Eagles need. While BC starts off ACC play with a bang, they will still have the benefit of easing into the season and then playing against good competition in Mizzou and Temple. It’s been 10 years people. This has to end eventually right? I want that O’Rourke-McFadden trophy back where it belongs. Clemson 34 - BC 35. An instant classic.