Boston College Eagles vs. Clemson Tigers Preview and Pick

#18 Boston College Eagles (8-2) +7.5, 52.5 O/U at #16 Clemson Tigers (8-2) -7.5, 52.5 O/U Memorial Stadium, 7:45 PM Eastern, Saturday
by Badger of

Two teams with identical 8-2 records, but each heading in opposite directions, meet on Saturday night when the Boston College Eagles travel to play the Clemson Tigers in a crucial Atlantic Coast Conference tilt.

Two weeks ago Boston College (8-2, 4-2 ACC) was ranked No. 2 and positioned perfectly for a run at the national title game. Then the Eagles dropped a heartbreaker to Florida State at home, 27-17. Last week Maryland poured salt on the wound, springing a 42-35 loss on the Eagles to virtually knock them out of any chance at the BCS title match.

Clemson (8-2, 5-2), left for dead at mid-season when back-to-back losses to Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech left them at 4-2, have turned their season around with four straight victories. Last week they pounded Wake Forest, 44-10, to set up a showdown with Boston College Saturday.

The winner of this game will win the ACCs Atlantic Division and will gain a birth in the ACC Championship game. And if past history is any indication it should be a good game, since BC has beaten the Tigers the past two seasons (34-33 and 16-13), with both games going into overtime.

Clemson opened the game as a 6-point favorite, with the over/under total set at 52.5. The money line has Clemson at -300, with Boston College at +250.

Boston College goes as their quarterback Matt Ryan goes. Ryan was considered the Heisman Trophy leader for the first 8 weeks of the season and the Eagles rolled to 8-0, but he has struggled in the past few weeks (namely 7 interceptions) and the end result was that the Eagles struggled and lost. The Eagle offense is still a formidable one, especially in the air where they average 329.7 yards per game (6th in country).

Ryans counterpart, Clemson quarterback Cullen Harper, has led the Tigers resurgence in the ACC by completing an unheard of 77 percent of his passes and a 12-1 touchdown-to-interception rate during the four-game winning streak. Keep in mind that Clemson still has the running back duo of James Davis and C.J. Spiller, a dangerous combination with Harper throwing the ball so well.

But as good as both of these offenses and quarterbacks are, its the defense of both teams that fly under the radar.

Clemson has the 5th ranked defense in the land, allowing just 284.9 yards per game. The Tigers secondary is as close to a shut-down unit as it gets, allowing just 161.8 ypg (3rd), and the combined with the front seven they allow just 17.9 points a contest (15th in NCAA).

Boston College sports one of the best rushing defenses in the land, allowing just 66.1 yards per game (3rd overall). They have been exposed in the secondary in their two losses though, giving up a whopping 708 yards combined in both games.

BC is just 5-4 verses the number this year, but a stronger 3-1 when playing on the road. The Eagles are also a strong 9-3 ATS verses teams with a winning record. The Eagles are 6-3 verses the total, with them splitting the past four weeks at 2-2.

Clemson is 6-3 ATS, but just 3-2 at home. The Tigers have covered in each of the four games during the winning streak, and have gone over the total in four of their last five (6-3 overall).

The line opened at 6 and is up to 7.5 in favor of the home Tigers, which means the public likes the home team in Death Valley. The under hasn’t moved from 52.5, so the oddsmakers must have gotten that one right from the start.

Badgers Pick: With the way the number has moved, its clear that Clemson is getting most of the early money. Originally I liked Clemson too, but now that it is over a touchdown I just cant convince myself that its as good a bet as before. I still think Clemson wins, and avenges their losses to BC the past two years, but I don’t think they win big, so Im taking Boston College and the points.