LSU football and Clemson have been the best two teams all season long. Which team will come out on top in the national championship?
The LSU Tigers have a chance to not only win their fourth championship, but to become one of the best college football teams of all time. The offense has been breath-taking, the defense is filled with playmakers. And they’ve done it all while going undefeated against one of the more impressive schedules in the country.
When teams like Alabama and Clemson have The Citadel on the schedule, LSU went on to beat Texas, and then beat four top 10 teams in the SEC. The Tigers have topped all of that off with Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, along with Grant Delpit for the Jim Thorpe Award, and Ja’Marr Chase for the Biletnikoff Award. This LSU team has talent everywhere, and is the favorite to take home the trophy.
They enter the title game the same way they entered the season, in dominating fashion. Oklahoma had no chance on the field this past game, and Burrow had eight touchdowns. The Tigers truly outclassed their opponent, and are the favorite to win the championship game.
On the other side, the Clemson Tigers, the reigning national champions, are trying to become one the greatest college football dynasties of all time. The Tigers have won two championships in the last three years, and now are playing their best football of the season.
Let’s start with the defense, where Isaiah Simmons, one of the best athletes in the country, leads the pack that has been nearly untouchable this season. They may not have the same top end talent as last year’s defensive line, but these Tigers have the talent to slow down everyone on the field. The defense held Ohio State to just seven points in the second half of the semifinals, and forced two interceptions out of Justin Fields. This Tigers defense is legit yet again, and Brent Venables is proving yet again that he is worth every penny as the defensive coordinator.
The offense, meanwhile, has held their own. Trevor Lawrence has thrown one interception in the last seven games, and he, Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross are a deadly group for any defense. Ross, in particular, is the most fun player to watch in college football, he’s truly cemented himself as a top receiver in the game, and his matchup against Derek Stingley Jr. will be one for the ages.
Enough has been said about Lawrence, he’s a special talent and one of the best quarterback prospects ever. If he can win two championships in his first two seasons, he will be considered the greatest winner in college football history.
Here’s how to watch:
Date: Monday, Jan. 13
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: New Orleans, La.
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Keys to Victory
For LSU, the Tigers goal is to continue to do what they do best, jump out to an early lead and use that high-flying attack to their advantage. Burrow, Chase, Justin Jefferson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are an impressive group. If they can get out to lead early, LSU is nearly impossible to catch up with, even for a team as good as Clemson.
LSU has the top offense in the country, and averages 564 yards per game. If they can get comfortable and confident in this one, nobody in the country can stop them.
Clemson, obviously on the flip side, needs to slow down the attack. It will be interesting to see if Dabo Swinney will try to slow down the pace on offense, and use a lot of Etienne to try to keep the LSU offense off the field. Clemson is no slouch on the offensive side of the ball, ranking third in total yards per game. But the more you can keep LSU’s offense off the field, the better chance they have to win the game.
Defensively, the individual matchups for this game will be all the difference. I talked a little about Ross vs. Stingley Jr., but the LSU secondary against the Clemson receivers is the biggest matchup, while Clemson’s front seven against Burrow and Edwards-Helaire will be the difference in who wins this game.
Expect a lot of Simmons on Edwards-Helaire, he has the athleticism to hang with the dimensional running back, and can also try to throw a few blitzes at Burrow as well.
If Venables and that front seven can keep LSU on their toes, Clemson can pull off the victory.
Line: LSU -6
Clemson has been playing incredible football over the last seven weeks, and I think they’re going to frustrate LSU early in this one. Brent Venables game plan will get to Burrow early, and Clemson will hold a small 17-14 lead at halftime.
After the half, LSU adjusts, and Burrow has three touchdowns as the LSU Tigers win their fourth national championship.
Final Score: LSU 38, Clemson 27