NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
(1) LSU Tigers 14-0 vs. (3) Clemson Tigers 14-0
January 13, 2020
New Orleans, La.
8:15 p.m. ET • ESPN (Megacast)
Line: LSU -5
Vince’s View: This game will be LSU’s first game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome since a 27-0 win over BYU to open the 2017 season. LSU is 14-5 all-time in games played in the Superdome, which includes a 4-3 record in bowl games It will be very loud when Clemson is on offense. That may be something that Clemson has not dealt with this season, to the degree it will in this game. That being said, I’d like LSU even if the game was played at Clemson.
This isn’t a season stats game. This is a game of stars, position groups, coaching and winning one-on-one matchups. Both teams have amazing talent, especially on offense, where future NFL high draft picks and stars will be all over the field.
There are a couple of areas I give LSU the advantage. The first one is at quarterback. This is elite edging out elite, so it is no slight to Trevor Lawrence. Joe Burrow is so poised and locked-in that I can’t see him making a critical mistake. I think Trevor Lawrence will play an amazing game, but is the likelier candidate to make just that one mistake that looms large.
Secondly, blitzing Joe Burrow won’t produce the same results as blitzing a banged-up Justin Fields. Burrow is incredible at throwing under pressure with accuracy, avoiding the rush and exploiting defenses to punish them for dialing up pressures. Isaiah Simmons is an incredible talent on that Clemson defense, but I don’t think Clemson has the depth of difference-makers against the LSU offense that they will face as LSU does against the Clemson offense. The LSU Tigers are healthier than they’ve been all season and much better on defense than people think. Clemson’s stats are a little skewed because of the easier schedule, although the win over Ohio State in the semifinals showed they are plenty worthy enough to be in the title game despite the schedule.
Grant Delpit, Derek Stingley Jr., K’Lavon Chaisson and others are stars on that LSU defense that can make game-changing plays. The LSU secondary can also (and will) play effective man coverage at times against Clemson’s receivers. LSU’s defense will also be better prepared for designed Trevor Lawrence runs. Even if Lawrence is effective with those runs early, Dave Aranda will have an adjustment to it.
Another advantage for LSU will be special teams. I trust LSU’s kicking game and return game more, overall, than Clemson.
This will be the shootout and offensive showcase that it looks like it could be on paper. Joe Burrow and the LSU receivers will once again put-up insane offensive stats. I’d take the over in whatever stat prop bets are out there for Burrow in this game.
I like LSU to win it’s fourth national title, and first since 2007.
Score Prediction: LSU 42 Clemson 28
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