Football Bye-Week Theater: NC State vs. Clemson Preview


Boston College football continues moseying through their bye week, so we look at other games going on in the Atlantic Coast Conference. We now preview Saturday’s NC State vs. Clemson game.

NC State vs. Clemson could be a big game in the ACC Atlantic, at least in terms of determining what we think will be second place.

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Both the visiting Wolfpack and the home Tigers have both had the honor of losing to Florida State in competitive games they could have won. They did not, and perhaps the two other best teams in the ACC Atlantic now lack the tiebreaker. The Seminoles are almost certainly headed back to the ACC title game, while one of these other two teams is going to be dealt a second ACC loss.

For Clemson, the possibility of starting 1-2 in conference (2-3 overall) is scary considering that they were ranked in the preseason. For NC State, who were picked fifth in the Atlantic, at 4-1 already, they’re playing with the house’s money but want this game to add some legitimacy to their record.

NC State vs. Clemson: The Line

Clemson are 14.5-point favorites at home against the Wolfpack; it opened at 16.5.

NC State vs. Clemson: Quarterback Change for the Better

There is no question that the Wolfpack are in a better quarterback situation right now with Jacoby Brissett than they were at any point last season. Only NC State fans would remember who they even had playing the position, but now, most ACC fans are coming to recognize Brissett’s name.

So far this season, he has 13 touchdowns and only one pick, throwing for well over 1,300 yards in five games, pacing nearly 3,300 passing yards for the regular season.

Like Boston College’s Tyler Murphy, Brissett was another Florida Gators escapee; the two former teammates will meet later this year.

As for Clemson, they sat Cole Stoudt down and inserted Deshaun Watson into the quarterback role, with tremendous results. He has 10 touchdown passes after having thrown only 77 attempts so far, averaging almost 12 yards per play. Lighting up UNC is nothing to write home about these days, but Watson also played well coming on in relief during the Florida State game.

NC State vs. Clemson: Similarities?

Clemson is 26th in FBS with 40.3 points scored per game; NC State is 25th with 40.4 points. The Wolfpack are 72nd in scoring defense with 26.0 points allowed per contest; meanwhile, the Tigers are 78th with 27.5 points allowed.

Here’s the part the stats don’t tell you: both teams have Florida State as a common opponent so far, but Clemson’s remaining opposition has been of a higher caliber overall. NC State almost literally played nobody in the first four weeks of the season, with their wins being Georgia Southern, Old Dominion, USF, and Presbyterian.

NC State vs. Clemson: The BC Connection

Boston College will play the Wolfpack in their next game following this bye week in Raleigh. Clemson is the game after that at Alumni Stadium.

NC State vs. Clemson: Advantages

Both offenses should be able to move the football to some degree in this one, and the quarterback play is something about which fans can get excited. However, Clemson’s defense has to be the better one of the two, and at home it might make even more of a difference.