College Football Playoff Finals

ESPN’s Final Prediction For No. 1 LSU vs. No. 3 Clemson: The Clemson Tigers will attempt to earn their second straight title and their third championship in four years on Monday, Jan. 13, when they face the LSU Tigers in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Superdome is set for 8 p.m. ET.Another Clemson championship would be Clemson’s fourth football title in school history, joining the 1981, 2016 and 2018 squads.

LSU vs Clemson final

Clemson enters the contest coming off of a thrilling semifinal performance in which the Tigers overcame a 16-0 first-half deficit to earn a 29-23 victory against No. 2 Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The victory was Clemson’s fifth-largest comeback in school history, the second-largest under Head Coach Dabo Swinney and its largest in postseason play.

Who to watch when Clemson has the ball:Travis Etienne (RB): Etienne, a native of Jennings, La., enters the contest with 3,960 career rushing yards, seven shy of breaking the school record of 3,966 set by Raymond Priester from 1994-97.Etienne is only 40 rushing yards away from becoming the ninth 4,000-yard rusher in ACC history.

Trevor Lawrence (QB): Quarterback Trevor Lawrence led the way in the Tigers come-from-behind win in the Fiesta Bowl, accounting for 259 passing yards and two passing touchdowns in addition to posting team and career highs in rushing attempts (16) and rushing yards (107).

2020 National Championship

The victory improved Lawrence to 25-0 in his career as a starter. A victory in the College Football Playoff National Championship would be his 26th consecutive win to open his career, which would match Florida State’s Jameis Winston (26 in 2013-14) for the most consecutive victories to start a career by a starting quarterback in ACC history.

Grant Delpit (S; LSU): Junior safety Grant Delpit was named the winner of the Thorpe Award, which is presented to the top defensive back in college football.Delpit joined Patrick Peterson and Morris Claiborne as the only other LSU players to win the award. The consensus All-American in 2019 was also selected to the first team All-SEC by the league coaches.

Delpit is fourth on the team with 59 tackles to go along with 3.5 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptionsWho to watch when LSU has the ball:Isaiah Simmons (LB): A track star turned safety turned linebacker turned free-ranging weapon, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons rapidly emerged as one of college football’s most versatile players in 2019.

2019-20 College Football Playoff Finals

In addition to being one of Clemson’s most-prolific tacklers, Simmons leads Clemson this season in sacks (7.0) and tackles for loss (14.0) while also contributing seven pass breakups, three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Simmons was one of only three FBS players — and one of only two in the Power Five — credited with at least 90 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 5 sacks and multiple interceptions this season.

Won the Butkus Award, becoming the first Clemson player in the award’s 35-year history to earn the honor presented annually to the nation’s top linebacker, became the sixth unanimous All-American in school history, joining Terry Kinard (1982), Gaines Adams (2006), C.J. Spiller (2009), Da’Quan Bowers (2010) and Christian Wilkins (2018).

Simmons was also a Nagurski Trophy finalist, Bednarik Award finalist, Lott IMPACT Trophy finalist, Walter Camp Player of the Year semifinalist. ACC Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-ACC selection

Tanner Muse (S): The list of accolades for Muse, while not as impressive as Simmons, is still substantial. The Thorpe Award semifinalist, third-team AP All-American. first-team All-ACC selection entered bowl season credited with 65 tackles, (5.0 for loss), 2.0 sacks, five pass breakups and a team-leading four interceptions in 496 snaps over 13 games (all starts).

Joe Burrow (QB; LSU): LSU quarterback Joe Burrow will go down as the most decorated LSU Football player in the school’s 126-season history as the Ohio native earned recognition for every major award during the month of December.

In addition to the Heisman Trophy, Burrow also earned player of the year recognition by the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Football Foundation and Associated Press. Burrow has been honored with first team All-America honors by every publication and is the first LSU quarterback and 10th player to be named a unanimous All-American.

Burrow was recognized as the top quarterback in the nation by the Davey O’Brien Foundation and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation.In addition to his honors nationally, Burrow was named the SEC Offensive Player of the year by the AP and league coaches. His AP honor was unanimous. Burrow also earned unanimous first team All-SEC honors by the media and coaches.

With Clemson and LSU each reaching the 14-win mark this season, there have now been 15 seasons of 14 or more wins since the NCAA split Division I in 1978. Clemson accounts for four of those 14-win seasons, matching Alabama for the most 14-win seasons in that span. Clemson remains the only program in that time frame to win 15 games in a season, a feat it can match (and preclude LSU from reaching) with one more victory.

The 2019 Tigers are just the fifth ACC team in history to record at least 14 wins in a season. Clemson accounts for four of those five 14-win seasons. Clemson has posted the ACC’s four most-recent 14-win seasons, recording a 14-1 record during both the 2015 and 2016 campaigns and a 15-0 record in 2018. Clemson’s 1981 National Championship team was the first ACC team to win 12 games in a season. Florida State accomplished the feat five times between 1993 and 2014, including a streak of three seasons with at least 12 wins from 2012-14. They won a then-record 14 games (14-0) in 2013, a mark tied by Clemson in 2015 and 2016 before being broken in 2018.

With seemingly everyone in the nation placing their money on the Bayou Bengals to end Clemson’s dynastic run, this game plays right into the hands of Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s beloved underdog role.While Burrow and his elite offense will be able to score points, it will be Clemson that hoists the golden trophy as back-to-back national champions.

Brad Senkiw: LSU has a scary offense. Clemson has scary title-game experience. I’ll roll with Brent Venables scheming up just enough stops to allow Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne to make big plays and lead Clemson to their second consecutive national championship, 35-31

Morgan Thomas: The Tigers have shown that they can get into the endzone using unconventional ways. I look for Travis Etienne to have another great game as a receiver. I also feel that the LSU defensive line will not have as much success keeping Travis in check in the rushing game. The LSU secondary has the talent to keep up with Clemson’s big outside receivers. The Clemson defense has the ability to adjust and mold themselves into a scheme that works using the “bend but don’t break” mentality. Both Tiger teams will score and often, however, I am taking the Tiger team from Pickens County. Orange on top 44-41 Clemson.

JP Priester: With all the focus on the offenses, and the quarterbacks in particular, it’s defense that wins championships. The Clemson D will bend, but not break, and ultimately be the catalyst to another national title for Dabo Swinney and Co…. Clemson 29 LSU 24

2020 National Championship

Clemson Vs. LSU: 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship Schedule, Odds And Picks Against The SpreadAlex Kay
CFP Championship Clemson LSU Football

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, left, and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney pose with the trophy after a … [+] news conference for the NCAA College Football Playoff national championship game Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020, in New Orleans. Clemson is scheduled to play LSU on Monday.

No. 3 Clemson (14-0) Vs. No. 1 LSU (14-0)
When: Monday, Jan. 13
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Kickoff Time: 8 p.m. E
TV: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Betting Line: LSU -5
Total: 67.5 points
Clemson Vs. LSU Betting Trends

The 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship, featuring the LSU Tigers going up against the Clemson Tigers, will take place tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. These two powerhouse programs have claimed three national titles apiece throughout their storied history and will be competing to add a fourth in the final game of the season. Both squads went 14-0 leading up to the national title game, overcoming a myriad of obstacles to reach this point. Clemson has won two of the last three championships and will look to become the first champion to earn back-to-back titles since the College Football Playoff began during the 2014-15 campaign. LSU is trying to run the table in its first ever CFP appearance and is in the running for its first national title since the BCS era, when the school bested Ohio State in the 2008 BCS National Championship Game.

CFP Championship Clemson LSU Football

LSU is favored by five in this game, a line indicative of how great quarterback Joe Burrow has been for the program. The Heisman Trophy winner kept his fantastic season rolling in the CFP semifinals against Oklahoma, torching the Sooners for 493 yards and seven touchdowns—all in the first half, a postseason record—in a 63-28 blowout victory. The signal-caller is now over 5,200 yards and has 55 touchdowns on the year, insane numbers that put Burrow in a class of his own. One thing Burrow doesn’t have, however, is the experience of playing on college football’s biggest stage. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence possesses exactly that after guiding his Tigers to a national title in his true freshman year. Although he didn’t live up to lofty expectations going into his second year as the program’s starting QB—Lawrence only slightly improved on his passing yardage and touchdown numbers while doubling his interception rate from 2018—he was able to avoid mistakes while accumulating 259 yards and two touchdowns while completing 18-of-33 passes to guide Clemson to a CFP semifinal win over Ohio State and its elite defense. Lawrence knows the stakes and the has proven he can handle the pressure, which could give him an advantage in the quarterback duel for the College Football Playoff National Championship.

Another area where Clemson has an apparent edge in tonight’s contest is on the defensive side of the football. The Tigers allowed just 244.7 yards and 10.6 points per game to opposing offenses this year, which were by far the best marks in college football. LSU’s defense hasn’t been shabby by any means, but did concede an average of 341.3 yards and 21.2 points to the opposition—albeit playing a tougher schedule—during its undefeated campaign. Both sides can claim an elite running back as well, with LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire having just a slightly worse statistical season (1,304 yards, 16 touchdowns) when compared to Clemson’s Travis Etienne (1,536 yards, 18 touchdowns). These backs, in addition to the elite quarterbacks, are why fans will get to see two of the country’s best offenses going head-to-head in the CFP title game. LSU was No. 1 in terms of total yards (564.1) and points (48.9) per game, but Clemson wasn’t far behind at No. 3 in total offense (538.4 yards per game) and No. 4 in scoring (45.3 points per game) in 2019.

Despite the similarities these schools share, the public agrees with the bookmakers assessment that LSU is the better side. After LSU opened as 4.5-point chalk, money began pouring in on those Tigers and caused shops to adjust the line to five. That hasn’t stopped people from taking LSU, evidenced by 63% of all bets and 67% of money wagered against the spread is still on the program to cover as of Monday morning. The total has seen an even bigger shift since opening at 70.5 points, dropping down to 67.5 over the last few days. This change has occurred despite most of the public backing the over, with 61% of tickets and 65% of the handle rooting for a high-scoring affair. The sharp bettors think this one could be a bit more defensive-oriented, however, which is causing sportsbooks to lower the total with kickoff drawing near.

Will LSU continue its magical run by earning a national title for the first time in over a decade, or will Clemson be the better Tigers side and win its third championship in four years with an upset tonight? Pro handicapper Jon Price of SportsInformationTraders.com has sent along his prediction for the outcome and you won’t want to miss who the Vegas expert is picking to win it all. Before getting to Price’s lean, have a look at the full schedule, start time, TV channel, live stream site and updated odds for the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship. You can also find key betting trends, relevant tweets, quotes from star players and coaches, plus more to help you make an informed decision when wagering on this Clemson vs. LSU clash.

College Football Playoff National Championship 2020 Viewing Guide

Clemson owns the best ATS record in college football this year, going 11-3 against the number. LSU went 9-5 ATS in 2019.
LSU went 4-2 ATS against ranked opponents this season, while Clemson was 2-1 ATS in those same games.Eight of Clemson’s 14 games this year have gone UNDER the total. LSU had just five of its 14 contests land UNDER the number.

Clemson is 6-2 SU and 7-1 ATS in eight previous College Football Playoff games, while LSU is 1-0 SU and ATS after it covered against Oklahoma in the semifinal during the school’s first ever CFP appearance.
LSU holds a 2-1 SU edge in the all-time series against Clemson, but did lose 25-24 in their most recent meeting back in the 2012 Chick-Fil-A Bowl.
Clemson hasn’t been an underdog since the 2019 CFP National Championship, a game it outright won 44-16 over Alabama. During the CFP era, the Tigers are 6-4 SU and 8-2 ATS when getting points.
Both teams have been successful at neutral sites in the CFP era, with Clemson boasting a slightly better record at 12-2 SU and ATS compared to LSU at 8-3 SU and ATS.

Favorites have never covered the spread in the championship game during the CFP era, going 0-5 ATS.
The past 12 Heisman winners to play in the national title game—such as LSU’s Joe Burrow this evening—are just 5-7 SU and 3-9 ATS.
Since its inception, the College Football Playoff National Championship has seen an average total of 64.4 points scored. The total for tonight’s matchup is 67.5 points.

Both teams do not lose when their star running back eclipses the 100-yard mark. LSU is a perfect 8-0 SU when Clyde Edwards-Helaire reaches that mark, while Clemson is an incredible 17-0 in contests that Travis Etienne hits triple digits on the ground.
Clemson has gone 9-1 SU in its last 10 against SEC opponents, while LSU is 23-2 over its last 25 meetings with ACC foes.

CFP National Championship 2020 Tweets

ESPN College Football recalled the last time these teams met in the postseason:Ben Fawkes tweeted the latest line movement trends for the title game:Shea Dixon posted quotes from Clemson’s side discussing the difficulty of playing for a national championship in LSU’s backyard:ESPN Stats & Info noted that both Clemson and LSU can make history tonight:Peter Burns doesn’t think Clemson’s experience will help the program defend its title tonight:Julia Morris had Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence’s thoughts on his LSU counterpart:Jordan Reid revealed a clip that sums up much of what Joe Burrow brings to the table for LSU:2020 College Football Playoff National Championship QuotesQuotes courtesy of ASAP SportsLSU head coach Ed Orgeron was asked about the psychology behind getting his players prepared for tonight’s title tilt:

Yeah, you know, we didn’t talk about going to play for the National Championship. We talked about we have to prepare to beat Clemson, one game at a time, just like we’ve done. We have trusted the process. Today is focus Friday. The guys are getting excited. They are getting antsy. I can feel it. I’m getting antsy, too. But I think we have to continue to work up through game time. They are going to make plays. We’re going to make plays. We have to work for 60 minutes and focus on winning the game and not worry about all the other stuff, block out all the noise just like we did all year.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney responded to a question about preparing for Joe Burrow by comparing him to the quarterback his Tigers bested in last year’s title game:

You just do the best you can. I mean, that’s just kind of — you get to this stage, that’s what — last year we played Alabama, and I think Tua’s completion percentage or his yards per completion was higher, his yards per attempt was higher. He was a freak. And Tua is one of the best players I’ve ever seen, and when you get to this stage, that’s just what you’re going to see. When you get to the Super Bowl, you’re going to see two elite quarterbacks. It’s hard. It’s not easy. So you just — you’ve got to tighten up in everything that you do, and you have to understand that every play matters. You look at our game a couple weeks ago, there’s just maybe three plays, maybe three that we made, maybe three that they didn’t make, whatever. That’s usually what these games come down to, especially when you’ve got two great competitors, two elite quarterbacks leading the show like we’ve got and what they’ve got in Joe Burrow.

Joe Burrow said that he’s looking forward to a “chess match” with Clemson’s defense:

it’s going to be a fun chess match for me. I know they’re going to have something different, some looks that I haven’t seen before. He’s just really good at what he does. That’s why he’s picked so much, and that’s why they’ve won a lot of games. It’s why they’re the No. 1 defense in the country. He’s so good at what he does, showing you one way, blitzing the other. We know they’re going to have something new for us. I’m going to have to read my keys, trust my eyes and understand what they’re trying to do after the first quarter.

Trevor Lawrence was asked about the difference between LSU’s defense and the Ohio State one his Tigers just beat in the CFP semifinals:

There’s a lot of differences, all around the board these guys have more speed, LSU does. That will be a challenge. But they also do a little bit more as far as coverages and mixing things up, disguising than Ohio State did. Ohio State kept it simple but they just did a really good job what they were doing. They were in cover 3 and cover 1, and they threw in a couple different things, but other than that they kept it pretty simple. They were really good at it. LSU, they mix it up a good bit.

Clemson vs LSU

Keys for the Clemson-L.S.U. National Title Game By Zach Schonbrun ESPN’s Football Power Index is predicting No. 3 Clemson to beat No. 1 LSU, giving them a 55.8 percent chance to win the game.LSU vs. Clemson: ESPN Football Power Index gives early prediction for national title

The teams competing for a national title have two of the top quarterbacks, two of the top running backs and the luxury of rest.
Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney spoke to reporters on Saturday. His team will face L.S.U. for the national title on Monday night. Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney spoke to reporters on Saturday. His team will face L.S.U. for the national title on Monday night.Credit…David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Who to watch when Clemson has the ball:

The Clemson football team has won 29 games in a row. Excuse its performance in the last one.“I’d give it a B-minus,” Coach Dabo Swinney said of his team’s College Football Playoff semifinal against Ohio State on Dec. 28. “We did some dumb things, had some missed opportunities.

“But,” he continued, “the beautiful thing is we still won.”The Tigers will need their A game on Monday night when they travel to New Orleans for the national championship game, which is being played at the Superdome, about 80 miles from the campus of their opponent, top-ranked Louisiana State.

Who to watch when LSU has the ball:

Isaiah Simmons (LB): A track star turned safety turned linebacker turned free-ranging weapon, Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons rapidly emerged as one of college football’s most versatile players in 2019.

Those Tigers seemed to barely break a sweat in dismantling No. 4 Oklahoma, 63-28, in their semifinal matchup, also on Dec. 28. L.S.U., with the No. 1 offense in the country and an improving defense, has already beaten six teams ranked in the top 10 this season. With each one, it looked more and more like a team of destiny.

But the same could also have been said about Alabama last season.Here is a look at some of the keys to the title game:Quarterback MatchupL.S.U. safety Grant Delpit said he thought his team had a phenomenal offense at training camp this season. At least, that’s what he hoped he was seeing.

“Either they were going to be really good or we were going to be bad,” Delpit said about his team’s offense and defense, “because they were putting up a lot of yards on us in all the scrimmages.”L.S.U.’s offense wound up leading the nation with 564.4 yards per game, led by quarterback Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy. He looked better than ever against the Sooners, scoring eight touchdowns (seven passing, one rushing).

L.S.U. has modeled its offense after the one used by the New Orleans Saints. L.S.U.’s passing-game coordinator, Joe Brady, spent two years with the Saints as an offensive assistant. L.S.U. has a dizzying assortment of talented pass catchers, including tight end Thaddeus Moss, the son of the Hall of Fame receiver Randy Moss, and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who caught 50 passes this season out of the backfield.

But Clemson has a championship-proven quarterback, Trevor Lawrence, who had another incredible season as a sophomore, even if it did not meet the early Heisman Trophy hype. That was mainly because he threw eight interceptions in the first seven games.

Most of them were meaningless — Clemson won by over 30 points in all but one of the games in which he tossed an interception. But in the final two months, Lawrence has flipped a switch. Entering Monday, he has made 202 consecutive pass attempts without getting picked off, a team record, with 22 touchdown passes in that span.
Clemson’s Defense

Burrow, the L.S.U. quarterback, gets rid of the ball quickly, and getting to the quarterback has not been a strength for Clemson this season, as it was last season.“They just shred everybody, and it starts with him,” Swinney said of Burrow. “And it’s not just his ability to throw the ball. He’s made great plays with his legs, too.”

But the Clemson secondary showed why it might be the most talented one Swinney has fielded. In the Playoff semifinal, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields threw two interceptions after entering the game with only one for the season. And Clemson’s defensive coordinator, Brent Venables, has been creative about crafting deceptive blitzes, so if there is anyone who can throw Burrow off his game, it might be him.

Alabama was averaging nearly 46 points per game last season before it was humbled by Venables, whose defense held the Crimson Tide to 16. Three defensive linemen from that team wound up being drafted in the first round by the N.F.L. But Clemson still managed to allow the fewest points per game (11.5) in the nation this season.Etienne’s Revenge

Travis Etienne can make a solid claim as the best running back in Clemson history: He was the first Clemson player to be named Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in back-to-back seasons since quarterback Steve Fuller in 1977 and 1978.

And it almost never happened. A Jennings, La., native, he was an L.S.U. fan growing up. He was ready and willing to be recruited by the university in 2017. But L.S.U. Coach Ed Orgeron, who was an L.S.U. assistant at the time, came around too late. Etienne was committed to Clemson.“Every time I see him having success, I’m sick to my stomach,” Orgeron said.

Etienne, a former high school track star, seems to come up with big plays when Clemson needs them most, like his galloping 53-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass in which he knifed right through the middle of the Ohio State defense. He made only three catches against the Buckeyes, but they went for a total of 98 yards.A Long LayoffIt has been an unusually long layoff between the semifinals and the championship game. Neither team is complaining.

Edwards-Helaire, the L.S.U. running back, was questionable to take the field against Oklahoma because he injured a hamstring in early December; he wound up touching the ball only twice. It was easy to keep him out because the game quickly turned into a blowout.Edwards-Helaire has called his recovery “miraculous.” After a 16-day layoff, he is expected to be 100 percent on Monday night.

Clemson, which played its semifinal game near Phoenix before flying back to South Carolina, is also relishing the extra time to recover. After the Ohio State game, Lawrence, the quarterback, said he had never felt so sore. That was not surprising. He finished with more yards rushing than Etienne, including a 67-yard touchdown, and absorbed some brutal hits in the process.Lawrence has shown the grit to win. In his Clemson career, he has yet to experience the soreness after a loss.