During the summer months and as we prepare for the upcoming season, BC Maven will be doing weekly previews of all of Boston College's opponents. We are on to Week 8, where the difficulty in opponents really goes up another level, as BC will be heading to Memorial Stadium to face off against the reigning National Champions Clemson Tigers. Dabo's squad lost a lot of talent to the NFL, but year after year of ridiculously good recruiting classes have allowed him to reload not rebuild. And on top of that he has the Heisman favorite, and possibly the best quarterback in not only college football this year, but in the past 10 years. Yikes.
If this is your first time checking out our previews, please check out our previous features:
Previous Previews: Game 1 vs. Virginia Tech
Previous Matchups: Clemson has really owned the series of late, holding a current 8 game winning streak against the Eagles. BC's last win against the Tigers came in Chestnut Hill, where Frank Spaziani defeated Dabo Swinney 16-10 in a game that clinched bowl eligibility for the Eagles. Since then it's been all Clemson, with the most recent three games being all Tigers, 56-10 in 2016, 34-7 in 2017, and 27-7 in 2018. Last year's matchup was a College Gameday matchup, with excitement high expectations plummeted when Christian Wilkins body slammed Anthony Brown, and BC was forced to use their backup QB against an elite defense. Not to say BC would have won that game with Brown and a healthy AJ Dillon, but it might have been a more interesting game.
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney. After taking over for Tommy Bowden who resigned in 2008, he has completely taken the Tigers into another hemisphere. The first two and a half years were a little slow, going 19-15, but since then he has been arguably the best coach in college football. Since 2011, he has gone an incredible 97-15, and won two National Championships. Before his time as a head coach he was a position coach and OC at Clemson, and spent his earlier days playing and coaching at Alabama. The question that everyone asks now, is if Nick Saban retires will Swinney go back to his alma mater. Most Clemson fans think he won't, but we will have to wait to see.
2018 Season: Pretty much flawless. Clemson won their games by an average of 44 points to 13, They blew out nearly everyone, with only Syracuse and Texas A&M putting up a fight against them. Their list of blows were staggering and included teams like Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Wake Forest and Alabama. By Week 5 against Syracuse they had benched Kelly Bryant, who had taken them to a National Championship game the year before, for wunderkind Trevor Lawrence who went on to throw for 3280 yards, 30 touchdowns and 4 interceptions as a true freshman. They featured one of the best running backs in the country in Travis Etienne, who ran for 1658 and 24 touchdowns, and Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins two of the best wide receivers.
And that defense. Featuring a defensive line of four future NFL draft picks, they had Clelin Ferrell who had 11.5 sacks, an athletic freak at defensive tackle in Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant who was consistently good, and true freshman Xavier Thomas who exploded as well. Honestly, up and down Clemson had one of the best defenses in the country, which helped them be the best team in the nation.
2019 Outlook: Clemson is going to be right where they left off as they are just going to continue to build on a successful formula that has brought them two national titles. As mentioned before Lawrence is an elite quarterback and that is going to win you conferences, Etienne will be there to keep defenses guessing, and Dabo continues to just add more and more blue chip studs on both sides of the ball. Xavier Thomas is going to be an NFL'er sooner rather than later, and Clemson's defensive strength may be in their secondary.
This team may be constructed a little bit different than 2018, but make no mistake they are as dangerous, and if Lawrence stays as elite as he looked against defenses like Alabama, those flaws that exist probably won't really matter.
BC Game Date: Saturday October 26, 2019
Location: Memorial Stadium, Clemson SC
Chances of BC Victory: 5% (Maybe a healthy AJ Dillon keeps Trevor Lawrence on the sidelines?)
S&P Chances of BC Victory: 3%