Today at midday it’s the final game of the college football season and one of the most anticipated matchups in years.
Undefeated and #1 seed LSU, which rode roughshod over the powerful SEC conference, takes on the defending champions Clemson, also unbeaten, who flew slightly under the radar thanks to a less strenuous ACC schedule.
The game features two of the best quarterbacks in the college game, Joe Burrow of LSU who is expected to be the #1 pick in the NFL draft and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, who led his team to the title last year as a freshman.
The game is played in the New Orleans Superdome, which is just over 100 kms from Baton Rouge, where the LSU campus is located. It features two of the most intense fanbases in college football and the atmosphere should be electric.
Defeated SEC opponents Florida (42-28) and Auburn (23-20), then outlasted powerhouse Alabama (46-41) in one of the highest-rated sporting events of 2019. The Tigers then thumped Georgia (37-10) in the SEC title game and crushed Oklahoma (63-28) in the national semi-final.
Head coach Ed Orgeron
“Coach O” is a Louisiana native who has paid his dues all around the country – Syracuse, Tennessee, Ole Miss, USC – before coming home to coach the Bayou Bengals, first as an assistant and now as head coach.
Quarterback Joe Burrow
Heisman Trophy winner and probable #1 pick in the NFL draft, the Ohio native has had an incredibly prolific season, which includes 55 touchdown passes and more than 5,000 yards passing. He is 6’3” (193cm) and surprisingly mobile for a pass-first quarterback. Cincinnati Bengals’ fans can’t wait for him to start taking snaps.
Why they can win
They are the best team in college football and are incredibly talented on both sides of the ball. Obviously, Burrow gets most of the attention, but receivers J’Marr Chase (1,559 yards) and Justin Jefferson (1,434 yards) and star running back Clyde Edward-Helaire (who was injured and didn’t play much against Oklahoma) are serious weapons. The secondary – Grant Delpit, Kristian Fulton, Derek Stingley – is the best in college football.
Not nearly as many as LSU, but their best wins were against Florida State (45-14), Louisville (45-10) and Wake Forest (52-3). They had a close call against North Carolina (21-2), a rout of Virginia in the ACC title game (62-17) and their best win of the season was the 29-23 defeat of Ohio State in the national semi-final.
Head coach Dabo Swinney
Swinney grew up dirt poor in Alabama and was a walk-on at Bama, playing on the 1992 national championship team. He has only coached at two places: the Univeristy of Alabama and Clemson and is a master motivator, building the Clemson program into one of the best in the US.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence
One of the most highly recruited high school quarterbacks in recent times, the 6’4” (198cm) Lawrence is only a sophomore, and led Clemson to the national title in his first season of college football. Called a ‘once in a generation player’ by recruiters, he’s not as pure a passer as Burrow, but he’s a tremendous athlete and leader who has thrown for 35 touchdowns and rushed for eight.
Why they can win
Clemson obviously has the talent, but they also have the experience. They are battle tested and know what it takes to win a national title. Swinney has sold the ‘no one believes in us’ angle all year as the Tigers were constantly ranked below LSU, Ohio State and even Alabama. The defense might struggle to stop the best offense in college football, but even if they can slow them down, Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne will have a chance to keep Clemson close.
$1.85 LSU -4.5
$1.91 Clemson +4.5
Total Match Points
$1.87 Under 65.5 points
$1.89 Over 65.5 points