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