Last week, while many in the national media were expecting a let down for the Tigers, I suggested that win or lose at Virginia Tech the let down would come this week against Boston College and I still believe that to be true.
My suggestion was fueled by a couple of things: 1) Watching video interviews with several key Tigers last week (including Dwayne Allen) I sensed no sign of complacency or overconfidence. Quite the contrary, I noticed a quiet confidence, determination and an authentic realization that not playing at a high level would spell doom.
This week though, I see some different signs from the Tigers. The interviews are still good stuff, especially Allen, but the Tigers are at home, are expected to win and there’s a lot of stuff happening on the periphery: Top 10 ranking, 3 straight emotionally draining games, homecoming, playing in front of an adoring crowd and an opponent that has not played well to this point.
All that and the fact that Boston College seemingly always matches up well with Clemson no matter the perceived or real talent disparity has me thinking that 21 points is just too much to lay here. I’m finding it tough to come up with football related reasons for the Tigers not to blow out the Eagles, but we all know that college football is also about emotional highs and lows and not simply talent or athleticism.
News broke late Wednesday that Montel Harris is out for this game and that only added to the feeling that the Tigers should win by 30 and perhaps they should. That said, even with all the issues and injuries the Eagles have had I can’t get past the thought that this is a different animal the Tigers are dealing with this week. I’ve been wrong about Boston College too many times in the past not to respect this program, current issues aside. These guys play hard and they care. It was just last year that a 2-5 B.C. team on a five game losing streak effectively ended the Tigers season.
If my prediction comes true many on the national level (and a ton of Clemson blogs/fans) will see it as the Tigers not handling success well and this will present an opportunity for the doubters to score a few points. I will see the opposite. I will see a Clemson team that won’t play their best yet will still win comfortably. I will see a team with too many playmakers and athletes to lose a game like this and that wasn’t the case last year on the road in Chestnut Hill (obviously). I will see a team that will be ahead by enough at the end of the third quarter to get some reps for the reserves and that may cost the Tigers a touchdown or so.
Good teams win games they should when not playing their best or at their emotional peak. What matters is not how much Clemson wins by, but that the Tigers win and do so while remaining as healthy as possible.
Clemson 37 Boston College 19