No. 4 Clemson will be seeking its 23rd consecutive victory when it welcomes Boston College to homecoming at Death Valley on Saturday. The Tigers are a big favorite vs. the Eagles, but at this point in the season, they seem to be facing their many doubters and critics across the country as well as their opponents each week. 

Many have yet to buy in on the idea that this is one of the best teams in the country. Clemson has dropped in the AP Top 25 poll in each of the last two weeks following conference wins of 30-plus points, while the Coaches Poll has remained steady with the Tigers at No. 2, a position they took after the narrow win at North Carolina last month.

What kind of test can the Eagles provide the Tigers on Saturday in Death Valley? Let's take a closer look at this showdown and make some expert picks against the spread.


Clemson: Clemson is the only team in the country with six wins against Power Five opponents, and it's won those six games by an average of 25.7 points. The Tigers have become a college football embodiment of Russell Crowe's "are you not entertained?" moment in Gladiator. AP voters continue to scoot other teams ahead of Clemson on their ballots while the 2019 Tigers are not only taking care of business but improving -- particularly on the defensive side of the ball -- along the way. Linebacker Isaiah Simmons, the team-leader in tackles for loss and sacks, is making a case as the team MVP and one of the best players in the entire country. Meanwhile, Brent Venables is utilizing the athleticism of his back seven to apply pressure to quarterbacks after two years of relying on a defensive line filled with future NFL Draft picks. 

Trevor Lawrence's interceptions are piling up, Dabo Swinney says, because he trusts his own arm and Clemson's wide receivers a little too much. But given the talent of both, could you blame him? The strength of Clemson's defense only adds to that confidence in risky throws, knowing that even when turnovers come, there's better-than-even odds Lawrence will get the ball back in his hands with no changes on the scoreboard. So while AP voters continue to drop Clemson, Swinney has this team focused on a bigger picture and following in the path of the previous squads that made their way to an ACC championship and College Football Playoff appearance. 

Boston College: A big step back from Boston College's defense was one of the big stunners from the early part of the ACC season, and when that was paired with a significant injury to starting quarterback Anthony Brown, the outlook appeared dim for Steve Addazio's bunch in 2019. But that narrative may have reversed course last week with an inspired performance against NC State in a 45-24 victory. The Eagles have lost eight straight to Clemson, so I don't think this is a spot where we should expect an Illinois-like upset as a 30-point underdog, but there is going to be plenty of opportunities to build on BC's best performance of the season as it aims to reach bowl eligibility for the fourth-straight season. Achieving that will take some work despite the 4-3 start because four of its five remaining games are on the road, and the opponents left on the schedule include Clemson, Notre Dame, Florida State (the one opponent coming to Chestnut Hill) and Pitt. 

Viewing information

Date: Saturday, Oct. 26 | Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Clemson Memorial Stadium -- Clemson, South Carolina
TV: ACC Network | Live stream:  

Game prediction, picks

The issue with picking these big underdogs to cover against Clemson is that it takes touchdowns -- not many, but at least one or two -- to get inside the number because you can bet that the Tigers are almost certainly going to find their way to 40 by the end of the game. I don't think Boston College will get more than 10-14 points against Venables' defense, and since even backup QB Chase Brice is leading touchdown drives these days, I've got to side with the heavy favorites.  Pick: Clemson (-33.5)

So what CFB picks can you make with confidence in Week 9? And which line is Vegas way off on? Visit SportsLine now to see which teams win and cover the spread in every game this week, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,200 in profit over the past four seasons.