Call it the Tiger Bowl, call it the death-match for Death Valley, call it whatever you want — just be ready to buckle up, because is set to be a showdown for the ages. The LSU Tigers (14-0, 9-0 SEC) will square off against the Tigers of Clemson (14-0, 9-0 ACC) in New Orleans Superdome on Monday night.
The end of the college football season is unfortunately closing in on us. It’s bittersweet really. On one hand, the end of college football brings on the long eight-month offseason, but on the other, we get to close it out with a showdown of the titans.
This one will have a battle between the next two #1 picks in the NFL Draft. It’ll feature multiple pros at every position on the field. It’ll have the two best defensive coordinators in the game trying to stop incredible offenses.
This game has everything college football fans wanted in a championship game, and most importantly, it doesn’t feature Alabama — look I’m an LSU fan, I’d be remiss if I didn’t feature at least one shot at Bama; they had a nice Citrus Bowl win though.
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I’m not even going to bother diving into Clemson’s numbers on the season because they didn’t play anyone even remotely comparable to LSU until their semifinal match-up against Ohio State.
Against Ohio State, Clemson was outgained by 100 yards and allowed Justin Fields to go for over 300 yards — something he only did twice in the Buckeyes’ 13 previous games — and J.K. Dobbins to go for 221 total yards on 24 touches.
Now, Clemson’s defense did make critical stops in the redzone, — along with some added help from Ohio State — turning seven-point drives into three points. Their championship pedigree came through in the second half, but they should have been down 28-0 in the second quarter.
However, in this game, Joe Burrow and the LSU offense will be on the other sideline. They’ve led the NCAA in almost every statistical offensive category for the entire season and showed why, when they put up 49 in the first half against Oklahoma and shattered nearly every CFP offensive record.
The story as of late has been the resurgence of the LSU defense after they finally got healthy for the first time since the start of the season. Oklahoma’s 28 points almost all came with the game well in hand and the Tigers held the #2 offense in the country to 250 yards below their season average.
With both offenses and defenses being extremely potent and evenly-matched on paper, this game could come down to the kicking game, which heavily favors LSU. Clemson is ranked 103rd in the NCAA in field goal percentage and I don’t believe the Clemson faithful want to see this coming down to a kick.
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The Picks (Dumb Brain YTD Record: 85-70-0, +8.2 units)
With all the stats so evenly matched, there’s only one metric I can trust when picking this game, and that’s my gut.
If you’ve followed my Dumb Brain column at all this season, you know how good I’ve been in picking LSU games this season — 20-5 for +14.1 units on the season to be exact. You dance with the girl who brought ya and LSU is the only reason I’ve had such a good season.
I’m riding with the LSU Tigers at -5.5 and taking the OVER 69. It may be because I’m an LSU superfan, it may not be, but I’ve been about as right as a person could be on the Tigers all season long and I’m not bailing on them in this spot.
It’s Joe Burrow, Ed Orgeron and co. with a shot to bring a championship back to Louisiana State University in the New Orleans Superdome. Joe Burrow is trying to cap-off the greatest season ever by a collegiate quarterback and no one has been better in the bigger games than he has been.
You can say the moment could be too big for LSU and Clemson has been in these moments, but that didn’t matter against Oklahoma and it won’t matter in this one. LSU has played SIX (6) top-10 teams already this year and one more isn’t going to scare them.
I think the LSU offense will be able to have their way with the Clemson defense, the same way Ohio State did in the semifinal match-up. If Clemson starts slow the same way they did against Ohio State, they’ll be down 31-0 instead of 16-0.
Clemson has the ability to keep it close and they’ll score 24+ to push this one over, but I trust Joe Burrow against Clemson’s defense over Trevor Lawrence against the best secondary he’s ever played in front of a pro-LSU crowd.
LSU wins this one 45-31 to complete one of college football’s greatest seasons and bring home the program’s fourth national championship. Geaux Tigers.