College GameDay is coming back to Chestnut Hill for the first time since 2009. The Boston College Eagles will host the undefeated Clemson Tigers on Saturday at 8 p.m. in a matchup with huge ACC title implications.
The second College Football Playoff rankings were released Tuesday night, and the Eagles jumped five spots to No.17 following their road victory over Virginia Tech. Nonetheless, both teams have a long way to go before booking their spot in the playoffs, and that road starts with the game Saturday night.
The Tigers, led by true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, arrive at Alumni Stadium as heavy favorites. On the other side of the ball, Clemson boasts a strong defense headlined by a defensive line full of elite draft prospects such as Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence.
The Eagles will look to establish the run early with star running back A.J. Dillon. BC must avoid an early deficit, as the offense has been far less successful when operating from behind in obvious passing situations this season. Particularly, play action set up by the run game will be key for quarterback Anthony Brown and the Eagles’ receivers. Defensively, seniors Zach Allen and Lukas Denis will look to lead an Eagles unit in the midst of another strong season.
The winner of this game will take command of the Atlantic division and control their own destiny for an ACC Championship Game berth—a huge resume booster in the eyes of the college football playoff committee.
While Clemson’s path to the playoff is straightforward—win out and they’re a virtual lock—BC will need some help to get themselves firmly in the conversation.
So, here’s how the Eagles could get into the College Football Playoff:
First Step: Win all three remaining regular season games.
This step is the most obvious and also the most important. Without winning the final three games against Clemson, Florida State, and Syracuse, the Eagles have no chance of making it into the College Football Playoff. By winning out, BC would guarantee itself a place in the ACC Championship Game. Then, the Eagles would also have to be victorious in this championship game in order to have a shot at the CFP.
Second Step: Alabama and Michigan win out.
Alabama winning the rest of their games, including an SEC Championship Game victory, kills two birds with one stone in support of the Eagles. In winning the SEC title, the Crimson Tide would hurt Georgia’s playoff hopes while also locking their own spot up. However, a loss to Georgia would have the Bulldogs in a great position to get into the playoff, while a one-loss Crimson Tide team still maintains a more impressive resume than BC. Similarly, Michigan winning its remaining games puts them in the playoff while effectively eliminating Ohio State from contention.
Third Step: A loss from Notre Dame.
A loss from the Fighting Irish complicates their CFB Playoff hopes drastically. Without the potential for a conference championship, ND becomes a hard team to gauge for the committee and this could leave them on the outside looking in.
Final Step: A split from Oklahoma and West Virginia.
Oklahoma and West Virginia seem destined for a Big 12 Championship matchup, but first, the two will meet next weekend. Two teams from the Big 12 won’t be placed in the CFP, putting significant importance on that conference title. If the teams split their remaining matchups, they both remain in contention with the conference champion in better positioning.
In this scenario, both Alabama and Michigan are into the playoff with ease, while six teams vie for the final two positions: Boston College (11-2) ACC Champion, Notre Dame (11-1), Oklahoma (11-2) Potential Big 12 Champion, West Virginia (11-2) Potential Big 12 Champion, Clemson (11-1), Georgia (11-2).
Needing all of this happen just to be in contention for one of the final spots shouldn’t have many Eagles fans buying tickets to the College Football Playoff. However, it does bring excitement to a program that has been lacking national recognition of late, while also putting the Eagles in position for a noteworthy bowl game appearance.
So, here are the much more likely but equally exciting potential bowl games for the Eagles:
Peach Bowl or Fiesta Bowl: These bowls are only realistic if BC wins out but doesn’t get the help it needs to make it into the playoff.
Camping World Bowl: This matchup is reserved for an ACC/Big 12 showdown, and with Clemson likely in the playoff, a strong finish could see the Eagles playing their bowl game in Orlando.
Sun Bowl: An ACC team will represent the conference in El Paso facing off against a Pac-12 team. The Eagles have a good shot of playing in this New Year’s Eve contest if their record sits around 8-4 come the end of the season.
Regardless, BC’s focus right now is on giving No. 2 Clemson a run for their money. Alumni Stadium will be rocking Saturday night, and who knows what can happen with a little bit of magic in prime time.
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