In the words of the immortal Ric Flair, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man." This week the 5th ranked Clemson Tiger's will have that opportunity when they take on the best defense in the country in Boston College Saturday night.
Saturday nights matchup will feature two of the best defenses in the country. The two school both rank in the top 25 in seven different categories with Boston College being ranked first in four of those categories including: first downs allowed, rushing defense, pass efficiency and total defense.
For Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables he believes that the winning formula for this game is easy--play the best defense.
"I think the best defense on Saturday, their team will win the game," Venables said. I believe that whole-heartedly and I believe that is the challenge. I'm not real big on comparing us to someone else."
"I think it's going to be a great challenge where again you are going to see it back and forth. I believe with my heart of hearts that the best defense that performs the best on Saturday will win the game."
The Eagles enter the game on a three game losing streak but have allowed only one offensive touchdown through six games this season having held Florida State to seven points, Duke to nine points and Wake Forest to three points.
Boston College is currently allowing only 140.3 yards per game, less than half as many yards as Clemson allows this year and 120 yards per game less than what Clemson allowed last year when the Tigers led the nation in total defense (260 yards per game).
Even with those numbers ranking them above the Tiger's defense the some members of this Clemson defense aren't ready to take a backseat to anyone yet.
"They're number one in a lot of categories. It's definitely going to be a task for us and a task for our offense," Clemson safety Jayron Kearse said Tuesday. "We want to go out there and show that we are the better defense on the field and our offense wants to go out there and show that they can do it against anybody. They're a good defense, but we have a good offense."
Artavis Scott, the Tigers go-to receiver this year (leading the Tigers in receptions, yards and yards per game), has great respect for the Boston College defense and what they were able to do last year in Boston taking the Tigers to the limit ultimately losing the game 17-13.
"What people say is true. They're a very strong defense, just like last year. They almost beat us last year. They almost beat us last year, but we were fortunate enough to get out of there with a win. They're a strong defense," Scott said. "I love to watch them. That's a strong team, but we're going to be ready for them, without a doubt. I feel like we have the best defense, but we're going to see come Saturday."
All of the talking regarding who is the best will likely be settled Saturday night. For Brent Venables, his hope is that all of the work they have done throughout the week pays off and his defense is ready for a mentally and physically challenging task come game time.
"It is going to be a physical and mental challenge both and our guys really have to be focused in regards to the adjustments...I just hope what we're doing is the right thing and that we perform and come ready to play and do a good job preparing our guys."