College Football Playoff National Championship: Preview And Predictionby Brian Wolf January 13, 2020 0 comments
For the second year in a row, we are blessed with another special National Championship Game, and there is almost no way that it can be as bad as last year’s 44-16 stomping of Clemson over Alabama. These are two evenly-talented teams this year who have been the best two teams all season.
The Clemson Tigers are on a special run and winners of 29 in a row and 69-4 since the start of the 2015 season. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney has earned his statue outside of Memorial Stadium. Since the start of the 2012 season, the Tigers are 9-2 in bowl games, with both losses coming at the hands of Alabama on their way to national titles. For the LSU Tigers, this will be their first national championship appearance since 2011, when they lost to SEC foe, Alabama. Since then, the program has been just fine, but not as fine as it was two decades ago, when they won two titles in 2002 and 2007. However, they now have the Heisman Trophy winner, a 14-0 record, an SEC championship, and are coming off a 63-28 win over Oklahoma in the CFP semifinal.
The matchup between these two star-studded quarterbacks could be the best we have ever seen in a college football game. Yes, even better than Kyler Murray versus Tua Tagovailoa last season and better than Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota in 2014.
LSU’s Joe Burrow is all but a lock to go No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals in this year’s upcoming NFL draft, and barring any disaster, Trevor Lawrence is set up to be the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft. These two gunslingers have it all. They have a big-time arm, precision accuracy, and the ability to pick up a first down with their legs.
Why will Clemson win?
Sure, Joe Burrow has been the best quarterback this season, but Trevor Lawrence has been the best quarterback the past two seasons. The freshman would have been the No. 1 pick in last year’s NFL Draft if he was eligible. After a slow start to the season, Lawrence has really turned it around and has stepped up when his teammates have needed him the most, including two weekends ago when he rushed for 107 yards and a score. LSU’s offense lit it up through the air against Florida, Auburn, Alabama, and Oklahoma, but now it goes up against the most efficient pass defense in college football. Brent Venables, one of the most talked-about defensive coordinators in all of football, has a big challenge in front of him, but has the players to scheme up a game plan to try and slow down the Heisman winners.
Why will LSU win?
The easy answer is Joe Burrow. After throwing five touchdowns in the Tigers’ Week 1 win over Georgia State, the question was whether he could do it against the SEC. And he did against Vanderbilt, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Texas A&M. Every game, analysts were waiting for Burrow to come back down to reality, but he never slipped. Then came the semifinal game against Oklahoma.
While the LSU offense gets all the attention, and rightfully so, the defense has been stepping up at the right time. Tagovailoa threw for over 400 yards and four scores against LSU. Sam Ehlinger did the same exact thing when LSU visited Texas. Ole Miss ran wild against the Tigers’ defense. All three opponents took losses. LSU allowed 402 rushing yards to Ole Miss, and then just 344 rushing yards over the next four contests. With Burrow at quarterback, the defense can bend but just can’t break.
Alabama’s offense was clicking on all cylinders last year coming into the final game. Clemson was able to put a stop to that. LSU’s offense has been clicking on all cylinders all season long. Will Clemson be able to contain Burrow and his weapons? Clemson will be able to score points, but it all comes down to Venables.
Prediction: Clemson goes on the road and upsets the Tigers in a barn-burner, 42-38.