Boston College at Clemson
Time: 2:30 PM CT, Saturday
Spread: CLEM -34.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
2017 has been the year of the statement for No. 2 overall ranked Clemson. After notching a pair of impressive victories over AP-ranked opponents, the Tigers now get a bit of a week off in Week 4 as it hosts Boston College at 2:30 PM (Central time) on ESPN2 this Saturday.
The Tigers have had no shortage of impressive plays this season, and it can be expected that continues as it is 34.5-point favorites against the Eagles in one of the most lopsided matchups of Week 4.
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The betting total is set relatively low at 53 points—low because Clemson should explode offensively while its stringent defense puts the clamp on the poor Eagles. NCAA football oddsmakers seem to be pretty spot on with this, little blown out of proportion for a Clemson team that may, after all, be in the hunt for a National Title in the early developments of this season.
Last week, many were expecting Clemson to fall despite being 3.5-point favorites over a then-No. 14 Louisville Cardinals team. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson has proven unstoppable, and he had a huge game against Clemson in 2016. The similarity, however, is that Louisville lost by six points in 2016, and it lost again—bigger still—last week, losing 47-21 in a game that simply was not anywhere near as closely-pitted as many analysts presumed it were.
But games are not played on paper, which could nearly be a motto for a Tigers team that is great, instead of “very good,” as most billed the ACC program to be this season.
Clemson controlled Jackson last week, a task previously perceived as absolutely impossible. Make no mistake, Lamar Jackson has the instincts and talents to be an all-time great, even at the next level in the NFL, but that only more so speaks as to just how good the Tigers’ defensive schemes really have been this season.Jackson rushed 17 times for 64 yards, a mere 3.8 yards per carry, and despite a long run of 30-yards, he really had few of his usual jaw-dropping highlights.
Moreover, he completed just 50 percent of his throws while launching one costly interception. No other Cardinal had much going either, perhaps save Treveon Samuel’s two catches for 78-yards and 22-yards, respectively.
But three impressive football plays do not a game make, and Louisville was inept at stopping the Tigers—be it the pass or the rush, Clemson really had its way in moving the football and amassing over 600 total yards. Kelly Bryant threw 22 of 32 for 316 yards and averaged nearly 10 yards per pass, and the backfield-by-committee approach was fruitful with four ball carriers rushing for 30 yards or more, paced by Travis Etienne’s 98 yards and a touchdown.
Bryant did not rack up a ton of yardage (just 26 on 18 carries) but the quarterback did sneak into the end zone twice to only further inflate the 26-point win as Clemson made a mockery of oddsmakers’ projections for the matchup.
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Boston College has dropped two-straight games to fall to 1-2 on the season after a Week 1 win over Northern Illinois. While the losses to Wake Forest in Week 2 and Notre Dame in Week 3 were rather predictable, the Eagles find itself in familiar position heading into conference play already with a losing record. Rather than over-analyze the lopsided matchup against the Irish, it may be most useful to look at what the Eagles have done well in its lone 23-20 victory over the Huskies.
The Eagles won the game on a late field goal, and Anthony Brown threw for two touchdowns in his first collegiate start. It was kicker Colton Lichtenburg who sealed it up with a 37-yard FG, and the Eagles were strong in stopping Northern Illinois’ pass game as Ryan Graham threw just 15 of 38 while throwing a pick in the game, as well. The Eagles had a balanced attack, though it was not overwhelmingly successful necessarily. Anthony Brown did throw 26 of 42, but he managed just 4.5 yards per pass as yards-after-catches were nearly non-existent for Boston College.
The backfield racked up a respectable 148 yards, but it took 50 attempts to do so—resulting in a pathetic three yards per carry. None of that is going to matter much this week against Clemson, however, and Boston College would count its lucky stars to somehow even reach 300-plus yards, though it had 339 in its lone victory. To compare NIU to Clemson, however, one must board a boat to travel the River Absurdity.
Concluding: This will be a blowout, the only question is how badly Clemson runs up the score against a school not billed to be a fair matchup for it any real regard.