BC beats Clemson: Boston College’s Reaching New Heights despite Lows

DSC_0426I went to the BC game last week. They played Wake Forest in a low scoring game; actually it was one of the lowest scoring games you can possibly play in. A scoreless tie broken by a safety as the only score 2–0 game which could be less; the BC/Wake game was 3–0.  The game was quite boring for the first fifty-nine minutes of play but the last minute was full of excitement and chaos.  Too bad many had already filed out with their heads down and their hearts hurting prior to the final minute.

They missed an epoch breaking one minute event where there were fumbles by both teams which were lost. One of them tried to stop the clock with under a second remaining in the game after wasting several seconds.  Oh, by the way, BC was on the short end of the score.

After the game I wondered about it. Was it that both teams had good defenses that caused such a low score?  I went to the NCAA rankings of all the teams in what is called the FBS level football which is supposed to include the top teams in America.  FBS is the acronym for Football Bowl Series – a stupid name used to replace “Division One” – but better than what was proposed immediately before it FBI – Football Bowl Invitation – who’d ever want the name FBI?

To check out the defenses I checked off “total defense” and saw that BC was ranked number one in total defense in the country. That is an outstanding achievement.  Wake Forest was ranked number 15 so it was a match-up of good defenses. One would expect the game to be low scoring.

I then looked at “scoring defense” which had BC second behind Michigan. It said in the six games BC had allowed 7.2 points to be scored against it. Michigan averaged 6.2 points. Wake was number 20 allowing 17 points a game.

The next thing to consider was what was happening on the offense. In “total offense” BC was ranked 118 with gaining 323 yards per game. In “scoring offense” it was ranked 111 with 20.7 points a game. The worst team, North Texas, was ranked 127 with 14.8 points per game.

When considering BC you do have to eliminate the Howard game where it won 76 to 0. That was like playing a high school team. Howard has yet to win a game this year. Outside of Howard BC has scored 67 points or is averaging 13.4 points a game which places them in the bottom of all 127 colleges. I assume that if the Howard numbers were taken out of the total offense that also would drop BC to the bottom.

I would have to guess that there have been a very few times in NCAA history when a team had the best defense and the worst offense. Perhaps it has never happened before so I’d suggest we take a moment to remember this auspicious occasion.

There are other discouraging statistics: BC is 121 out of 127 in fourth down conversions; 122/127 in pass completion percentage; 123/127 in passing offense only beating out Army, Navy, Air Force and Georgia Southern. As expected Georgia Southern is number one in rushing offenses and the service academies are in the top twelve which makes up for their lack of passing. BC is number 25 averaging 214 rushing yards a game over its six games; but again take out the Howard game and its standing drops to number 50.

The game today against Clemson will pit the best defense in the country up against Clemson which is ranked 48th in total offense, 13th in total defense, 59th in passing offense, and 43rd in rushing offense. Clemson is ranked between 4th and 6th in the polls of the best teams in the country. The statistics show its national ranking is much higher than it should be.

The Clemson game is one of those games where I smell a big upset. It is going to be hard for Dabo Sweeney to get his team up for playing BC which looks like a real loser scoring a total of 7 points, or a little more than a safety, in three ACC games. If BC’s defense is as good as it seems to be, something that we will know after  the Clemson game, expect BC to win this one 20 to 9. BC will score three touchdowns and miss one extra point. Clemson gets three field goals.

Bank on this prediction at your peril.