Bear Bryant is believed to be the first person to say, “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.” The Bear, however, did not live to see the 2015 Boston College football team, a group that proves Bryant's statement is not necessarily true.
Steve Addazio's Eagles are No. 1 in the nation in rushing defense, passing defense, and total defense. They are No. 2 in scoring defense only because their special teams and offense have allowed touchdowns. The defense has given up just two touchdowns on the year and one of those was on a four-yard drive.
But they also have an abysmal offense that has led to a 3-3 record. They are No. 111 in scoring offense and that's including the 76 points scored against hapless Howard. In games against FBS opponents, BC is averaging 5.25 points a game which would be last nationally by a mile. They have also shot themselves in the foot over and over, as their four turnovers and end of game debacle against Wake Forest proves.
Now the Eagles head to Clemson and the Tigers are rolling. Their offense cranked up againstGeorgia Tech and they have a nasty, athletic defense. That’s not something the Eagles want to face.
Boston College at Clemson
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: ESPNU
Spread: Clemson -16
Three Things to Watch
1. Clemson Big Plays
It is unlikely that Clemson will have many home runs hit in the running game against the BC rush defense. So it will have to come in the passing game, something that won’t be easy either. While the Eagles are allowing just 98 passing yards per game, they haven’t played any high-powered aerial attacks. Deshaun Watson and his bevy of receivers should present a more difficult challenge. Clemson will struggle putting together long, sustained drives. But if the developing offensive line can give Watson time, he will be able to get the ball to Artavis Scott, Ray-Ray McCloud, and company in situations where they can make a big play.
2. Boston College’s Anemic Kicking Game
Along with a woeful offense, the Eagles' kicking game is terrible. Last season, three kickers combined to miss eight extra points. This year they are 16 of 16 on point after touchdowns, but Alex Howell and Colton Lichtenberg have combined to go two of six on field goal attempts. The long made field goal was from 31 yards and three misses have come from inside 35 yards. Last Saturday, in the 3-0 loss to Wake Forest, Lichtenberg missed from 26 and 31 yards. Against Clemson, the Eagles need to score points any way they can. Missing makeable field goals is not acceptable.
3. Clemson Defense – Just Do Your Job
The Boston College offense is so bad that they cannot beat Clemson. That is assuming Clemson doesn’t help them out. If the Tigers don’t miss assignments and don’t commit foolish penalties, BC will not be able to do a thing. Clemson’s defense is excellent from front to back and there is not a unit of the Boston College offense that can even be considered good. If the Tigers defense does not beat itself, they will have no trouble.
Clemson has the best offense Boston College has seen, but the Tigers still won’t score a lot of points. The Eagles are that good on defense. BC’s defense controlled Florida State and while the Seminoles passing game isn’t exceptional, the Eagles are the only team that has been able to neutralize Dalvin Cook. Clemson will score some points, though, and there is a good chance Boston College will not. They generated nothing on Florida State and that was before they lost quarterback Darius Wade and running back Jon Hilliman, who was their only real threat on offense. The result will be an ugly Clemson victory.
Prediction: Clemson 13, Boston College 0
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.