A fleet of Boston College RVs have already departed for the South to cheer on BC against No. 3-ranked Clemson on Saturday. With the 15-hour trek comes expectations of an upset.
Led by a Heisman frontrunner quarterback, several skilled playmakers and a constantly-improving defense, Clemson enters the game 5-0 and is one week away from a heavyweight bout with undefeated Florida State. It's not hard to quantify just how good the Tigers are.
Standing in Clemson's way between a monstrous matchup with FSU, though, is Boston College, fresh off of a 48-27 win over Army.
I had the chance to interview Aaron Ransdell, the sports editor of The Tiger News. Ransdell provides some key insights into the Clemson football program, their successes so far and an outlook for the match-up.
(Note: Bold words represent The Gavel; regular font represents The Tiger News.)
What were the expectations for Clemson coming into the season, and how did the season-opening win over #5 Georgia alter the hype around campus?
Before the season started, Clemson fans expected at least a 10-win season with an ACC Championship and a win over our in-state rivals. Clemson has the talent to achieve all of those goals still at this point and the win against UGA only solidified every Clemson fan's sentiments. If Clemson hadn't beaten UGA, who knows what the confidence level of the team would be at this moment, much less the fans'.
How has Tajh Boyd handled the national spotlight: both the No. 3 ranking and the Heisman frontrunner discussion?
Boyd's greatest attribute is his work ethic. So while he's been receiving a lot of hype coming into this season, I think he has been able to handle the attention he's been getting. He's already an extremely well-known figure on campus, so national attention shouldn't bother him as the season goes on. He's a team-first guy, and I can guarantee you that if it was between a championship and the Heisman, he'd take the championship every single time.
With the Florida State match-up a week away, is there a chance Boston College is overlooked?
The problem about this weekend is that Florida State has an open week, meaning they're able to look forward to the Clemson game without looking past anyone. So while you have the FSU camp breaking down and talking about Clemson, the Tigers are trying their hardest to focus on BC. I can tell you this, though: While the team may be concentrated on Boston College, the majority of the Clemson fan base is not. Tiger fans are just clamoring to get this game over with and fast-forward to next week.
Brent Venables is fixing the defense, but lowly Syracuse gained 323 rushing yards last week against Clemson; were there any adjustments or new plans to attempt to stop BC’s Andre Williams, the third-leading rusher in the nation?
Clemson's defense has been steadily improving even if the stat line doesn't show it. So yes, Syracuse gained 323 yards on the ground; they still only gave up two touchdowns. I don't think Venables is going to do anything differently against Boston College. BC only has a few play-makers on offense, so it won't be very hard to key in Williams if he's able to string together a few plays.
Are Clemson students aware of the fleet of RVs departing from Chestnut Hill today and tomorrow?
Clemson's fall break is this weekend, so I expect quite a few Tiger fans to be hitting the road as well on Saturday. Granted, there will be a decent showing in the student section, but it won't be anywhere near normal. I think Clemson students will be pleasantly surprised to see a few BC fans down here in "God's Country."
While on the topic, any advice for our SuperFans making the 15-hour journey south? Tailgate spots, game day traditions, bars…etc.?
My advice is get to your tailgate spot early. Make some friends with neighbor tailgaters regardless of who they support, and enjoy. The biggest thing is to just take in the atmosphere. An hour and a half before the game, the football team participates in "The Tiger Walk" at the West End Zone. Make sure to get in the stadium early and watch Clemson run down the hill. As far as food or bars go, the Esso Club and Tiger Town Tavern are two can't-miss places.
Finally, your game prediction:
I think Clemson rolls in this one, but not without a little bit of noise from the Eagles. 45-13.
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