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Boston College Football Banter: ACC Thoughts

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 25 Missouri at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arthur: Well that game was freaking awesome! How are we all feeling?

Grant: YEAHHHHHHH. When was the last time we had a game that fun? It’s been a while!

Arthur: I don’t know if it was USC level just because it wasn’t as big an upset, (to wit, it wasn’t even an upset at all) but perhaps the Friday night Miami game we had a few years ago.

Curtis: I’ve only been watching BC football for about 6 years now, and I have to say I think that was the most exciting BC game I can remember. The Miami game in 2018(?) was fun, the drubbing we gave FSU in 2017 was a blast, and the College Gameday game against Clemson was a great atmosphere even if the game was just ok. But this one tops it all in my opinion.

Will: I think Hafley said it best. We finally finished late and came through in the clutch. If we can keep doing that, I think there’s still a lot of opportunity out there. Grosel will still be the key, in terms of whether he can keep us in games. For sure Clemson is beatable this year even if it will still take a Herculean effort

Arthur: I mean, maybe it will? I don’t think we are giving BC enough credit and perhaps too much credit to Clemson. That offense hasn’t moved well at all this year. The defense has been stingy, and Garwo isn’t going to be able to run over the Clemson defense the way he did against Mizzou, but Clemson is about average-to-above average on its run defense, and BC has shown ability to compete. Not exactly an insurmountable mountain to climb.

Laura: How do you all feel heading into conference play compared to years past?

Arthur: I feel great. The team looks solid and the conference is trash. We may have something here.

Will: The ACC is wide open. We could win our division or we could lose to not just Clemson but Louisville, Georgia Tech, and NC State. Anybody could beat anybody.

Grant: On the one hand, the ACC is trash, so we can win any game. On the other hand, the ACC is trash, so we must be trash, so we, as an ACC team, will probably lose. Science.

Curtis: BC could theoretically win by 10+ against any team in the conference right now. Will it happen every time? No. But this game against Clemson will tell us a lot about their ability to compete down the stretch.

Will: Well, the question I have is how do we compare to NC State?

Arthur: I don’t know enough about NC State. Is the Clemson win more indicative, or is the loss to Mississippi State the team that will come into Chestnut Hill. They’ve been hot and cold all year.

Will: I think if NC State can beat Clemson then BC can. However, going to Death Valley 3 years in a row is brutal.

Curtis: The highlight of NCSU’s win over Clemson was their defense. A bunch of forced 3 & outs, letting up just 214 yards from scrimmage, and allowing 14 total points in regulation. The Wolfpack’s offense on the other hand had 3 missed FGs, lots of penalties, and various miscues. Yet they still came out on top in 2OT.
So the blueprint for BC should be pretty straight-forward. The defense needs to keep Clemson’s mediocre offense at bay, and the offense just has to do reasonably well while controlling the clock, much like they did against Mizzou. Definitely not impossible, but like Arthur said, tougher to run it all the time with Garwo like they did last week. (edited)

Will: Once again, it feels like we need Grosel to make some throws or do some option run. I have confidence Hafley will cook something up. I mean look what has happened to Ohio State without him. Paul Finnebaum says Clemson isn’t “among the cool kids anymore.”

Niraj: I’m liking our chances to compete in most every game (though I don’t think this week goes particularly well). The transitive property of winning will not work in this year’s ACC because it’s such an even playing field. Like Curtis mentioned, NC State’s defense has played really well this year. They generated pressure, but I’m not sure how we’ll be able to. And despite their major offensive struggles, look what DJ did to us in the second half of last year’s game. They’ll surely dare Grosel to throw the ball more than he had to last week and I don’t see that formula working

Will: Dabo’s dynasty is over. That strikes me as a bit drastic.

Niraj: Classic Finebaum.

Grant: How do we feel about the 16+ point Clemson spread this week? Too much disrespect, or what?

Will: This is still Clemson. They still have plenty of 4 and 5 star athletes on that team. The tigers also are going through a whole week of people telling them they are no longer a top tier team. BC is also still playing with a back up QB and our defense is still our weakest link (but getting better). I’m playing a bit of devil’s advocate here but I still think BC is going to need some lucky breaks. I would also feel better if it was a home game. 16+ is a lot but I could see a world where BC loses by 14.

Arthur: It feels like free money. Just being honest. I think if Clemson wins it’ll be via its defense and until the offense looks like it has a pulse I don’t think a two plus score spread is proper.

Curtis: I wouldn’t underestimate how mediocre or bad this BC defense is. It’s certainly worse than Georgia’s and NC State’s, and I’m not sure how good Georgia Tech’s D is. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Clemson is able to hang more points on BC than they have on their previous opponents, especially during a “prove it” night game at home.

Grant: I mean you’d think last week was “Prove It” ... But yeah I agree, there’s definitely a good chance Clemson just exploits BC’s and goes off.

Arthur: Yeaaaah the entire country was calling them out for being soft I’m not sure what else is needed.

Curtis: Well they lost to NC State since then. A loss to Georgia is understandable. A close win against Georgia Tech isn’t great, but they won after all. A loss against the Wolfpack? They may be a bit more upset this time.

Will: I don’t want to be Johnny Raincloud about BC’s chances but I’m apprehensively optimistic because this is best shot to beat Clemson and if we can beat Clemson we can beat anybody in the ACC. I never thought we would get a better chance after last year. I just have enough respect for Dabo that one game isn’t going to completely torpedo their season like it does for FSU or Miami.

Arthur: Ordinarily Dabo has his teams tight and they bounce back. But this isn’t an ordinary year anywhere in college football and I think that’s where my hangup lies. It’s not like the NC State game was a fluke, the Georgia Tech game was tight too. And we haven’t even gotten into Clemson’s injuries, losing your starting running back to injury when your offense has stalled isn’t a small thing.
Look, Dabo is a good coach and Clemson is always going to be a threat, and no serious person would say that they shouldn’t be the favorite, but with all of that said a 16 point spread is not giving BC nearly the respect it deserves.

Will: Georgia Tech was in Death Valley too. So I guess you can’t say Death Valley is the X Factor

Niraj: I’d say the 16 points is a tad too high. The injuries and offensive struggles are real problems for Clemson. They were 10.5 point favorites against NC State last week on the road. Where it opened at around 14 felt more right to me. Agreed—they’ve been getting dunked on so much that I think they still end up covering

Curtis: Shall we make our predictions? I’ll take Clemson in a field goal slugfest, 20-16.

Grant: I’ll take Clemson too, 31-17. I have too much Clemson hurt in my memories.

Arthur: I’ll take BC 24-21. I’m very aware the Mets got mathematically eliminated after the Mizzou game, so in their honor I’ll say: ya gotta believe.

Will: No Arthur! You stole my pick. I was going to go BC 24-21!

Niraj: 27-17 Clemson is my pick.