This is Part Two of this week’s Previews & Predictions feature. Also check out Part One.
Furman Paladins (0-2) at Clemson Tigers (2-0): Clemson should be happy that their pass defense is improved, because the Paladins know how to throw the ball. Last year, a mild scare against fellow FCS school, Wofford, seemed to wake the Tigers up a bit. This season, they’ve got to use it as a tune-up for a presumed College Gameday matchup with Florida State a week later. Along with fitting Sammy Watkins back into the gameplan on Saturday, Clemson will likely be handing plenty of carries to Andre Ellington as well. One big concern they won’t get to work on, unfortunately, is run defense, since it’s likely Furman is throwing the ball for most of the game. Prediction: Clemson 63, Furman 18
Boston College Eagles (1-1) (0-1) at Northwestern Wildcats (2-0): Even if the Wildcats’ win over Syracuse a couple weeks back was luck, it’s hard to discount their effort in a win against a tough Vanderbilt team many thought was on a steep upswing. Boston College gets some help from NU’s less-than-stellar pass defense, which could surrender another huge day to Chase Rettig. The key for the Eagles will be running the ball effectively, however. SU was unable to do so, and it was their undoing against the Wildcats. Prediction: Northwestern 35, Boston College 27
North Carolina Tar Heels (1-1) (0-1) at Louisville Cardinals (2-0):UNC quarterback Bryn Renner took a beating versus Wake Forest last week, so it’ll be interesting to see how he’s spared the same fate against an aggressive Louisville blitz. One obvious solution is running the ball more, though that depends entirely on Giovani Bernard‘s availability. If they can remain balanced on offense, and actually play some semblance of pass defense, the Heels could score an upset. Prediction: Louisville 30, UNC 26