Turn off the sirens, silence the alarms and don’t overanalyze the close call. Save it for another team and another week. This wasn’t the game that was supposed to derail Clemson’s BCS National Championship hopes, and it didn’t.
There will be plenty of time to reassess this next weekend, if and when it’s necessary. At the very least, we're about to learn even more about the Tigers.
For a while, however, even well into the second half, Boston College felt like a live underdog. In fact, the Eagles took a lead into the fourth quarter.
But the Tigers did enough on both sides of the ball—a trend that is starting to receive the attention it deserves—to come away with a 24-14 home victory. The “Clemsoning” was avoided (and it’s dead until further notice), and now it’s game on with Florida State.
Clemson did not look the part of a three-touchdown favorite, however, even while operating with a home-field advantage matched by few. As is the case with any team, there are going to be these scares. There are going to be games when the team doesn't play to form, regardless of the talent gap between the two teams playing.
That was certainly the case today.
But give Boston College credit. The Eagles are an improved group this season, as they’ve shown in recent weeks. Florida State got a firsthand look a few weeks ago, when the Eagles headed into the second quarter with a 14-3 lead. The Seminoles came back to win that game, but Boston College certainly has proven itself at times. It did so again on Saturday.
For Clemson, there is a positive takeaway—despite the win, which is the ultimate takeaway.
The defense has quietly become one of the best in the ACC. This performance wasn’t an anomaly; it was a 2013 trend.
That was the fifth game in a row Clemson has held an opponent to 14 points or less. First time that's happened since 1989.— Roy Philpott (@RoyPhilpott) October 12, 2013
And the defense didn’t just limit the opponent’s points. It created points of its own.
Defensive end Vic Beasley has quickly become one of the best defensive players in all of college football, and he found the end zone after Chase Rettig was sacked by Tony Steward.
This play came at a critical time, and it changed the overall feel of the game. While Clemson often relies on quarterback Tajh Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins to do much of its heavy lifting—a fine strategy that often breeds fine results—the defense is yet another element to be dealt with. And with Florida State coming to town next weekend, the defense could prove to be the difference.
The next "Game of the Millennium, of the Year, of the Week" will indeed head to the ACC, as will ESPN’s College GameDay.
The winner of Clemson-Florida State will immediately become the overwhelming favorite in the ACC, and so much more is at stake. While there is plenty of football to be played following this game, the victor will immediately be vaulted into the thick of the BCS National Championship discussion.
And let's be honest; both teams are squarely in this discussion right now.
While Clemson's lackluster showing might be a concern for some—especially on a week when the Seminoles enjoyed the festivities from their couches—don't be overly worried. A close call is only that, and the results of one performance mean zero heading into the following weekend.
This is college football, a week-to-week adventure that rarely follows its intended path. Thankfully, for all of us, that path includes Florida State against Clemson next weekend.
Now, who's ready for this game?
The winner of Clemson-Florida State will immediately become the overwhelming favorite in the ACC, but so much more is at stake. While there is plenty of football to be played following this game, the winner will immediately be vaulted to the thick of the BCS National Championship discussion.