Skip to main content

Clemson vs. Boston College Prediction: Undefeated Tigers Back in the Prime-Time Spotlight

Dabo Swinney's team looks to make it 12 wins in a row over the Eagles.

On Oct. 30, 2010, Clemson lost at 2-5 Boston College and fell to 4-4. At that point, Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney had a 17-12 career record, and there were rumblings that he may not be retained in 2011.

Boston College — and many other programs — have not beaten the Tigers since, and the fortunes of both Clemson and Swinney have changed dramatically. Coming off huge Atlantic Division wins in each of the past two weeks, Clemson (5-0, 3-0 ACC) will now take on an Eagles squad (2-3, 1-2) that tasted ACC victory for the first time this season when they knocked off Louisville at home last Saturday.

Related: College Football Predictions for Every Game in Week 6

Thanks to some fluky Covid scheduling in 2020, this is Clemson's first visit to Chestnut Hill since 2019 when the Tigers downed 17th-ranked Boston College 27-7.

No. 5 Clemson at Boston College

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: ABC
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Clemson -20.5
Tickets: As low as $77 on SITickets.com

When Clemson Has the Ball

For the moment, there is no quarterback controversy at Clemson. Over the past two weeks, DJ Uiagalelei has completed 66 percent of his passes for 580 yards and six touchdowns with nary an interception while rushing for 125 yards and two scores. Freshman Cade Klubnik may be the future, but Uiagalelei is the present. The wide receiver trio of Beaux Collins, Joseph Ngata, and freshman Antonio Williams has been outstanding, and the emergence of sophomore tight end Jake Briningstool has also spurred the offense.

But the Clemson offensive staff will not forget about Will Shipley this week. For the first time this season, the sophomore running back did not reach the end zone in the NC State game. That mini-drought probably won't last for long as Shipley, along with fellow ball carriers Kobe Pace and Phil Mafah, should get plenty of touches this weekend.

That's because the Boston College run defense has been spotty so far this season. The Eagles are giving up 154 yards per game on the ground, but that number is buoyed by the fact that they held FCS Maine to 89 yards. Both Florida State and Rutgers averaged more than five yards per carry and the Eagles have allowed a league-worst 12 rushing touchdowns. The unit has allowed some big passing numbers in certain games as well, but Clemson should look to establish the run early on.

When Boston College Has the Ball

It had been an ugly start for the Eagles' offensive line. With five new starters in 2022, growing pains were to be expected, but the results were worse than anyone could have imagined. In the opener against Rutgers, BC rushed for 29 yards. The next week was even worse: four yards on 26 carries against Virginia Tech. Those stats were the result of not only poor run blocking but also because of the nine sacks allowed in the two games.

After the win against FCS Maine and more offensive struggles against Florida State, the Eagles suddenly found a rhythm in the 34-33 victory over Louisville. If the offensive line can do its job, Boston College has the skill players needed to win. Pat Garwo III rushed for 1,000 yards in 2021, Phil Jurkovec is a talented quarterback, and Zay Flowers is as electric as any receiver in the ACC. But the guys up front have to hold up their end of the bargain.

And with apologies to Louisville, BC ain't playing the Cardinals this week. After an inconsistent start to the season, the Clemson defense put the hammer down on NC State last Saturday night, holding the Wolfpack to 279 total yards with just 34 coming on the ground. Before a late touchdown in garbage time, the Tigers had put on a second-half defensive clinic, owning the line of scrimmage and harassing Devin Leary constantly. Defensive end Bryan Bresee will again be out, but Myles Murphy, Barrett Carter, and the rest of the Clemson defenders can cause their own amount of trouble.

Final Analysis

Before last week, the Clemson secondary showed some vulnerability, and if the Boston College line can protect Jurkovec, the Eagles have the weapons to hurt anyone. But does anyone really think this BC line is going to be able to successfully block the Clemson front? I didn't think so. The Eagles' defense will fight hard, as they always do, and will give Uiagalelei and the Tiger offense some problems early on. Plus, coming off two emotional victories, Clemson may have a focus problem early on. But the ineffectiveness of the Boston College offense will force its defense to be on the field way too much and fatigue will become a problem. At some point, the floodgates will open and the Tigers will cruise to their 12th straight win over the Eagles.

Prediction: Clemson 38, Boston College 13

Podcast: Week 6 Preview, Predictions, the Latest in Coaching Changes, and Picks Against the Spread

Written by Jon Kinne, who has been part of the Athlon Contributor Network for three years, focusing on the ACC and Notre Dame. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.

*Price as of publication.