All the twists and turns of this year’s college football season will culminate in a proper clash of the titans when LSU and Clemson lock horns to call themselves this season’s national champions. No fans should have any complaints about the penultimate game of the campaign. Both sets of Tigers thoroughly deserve their opportunity to cement their place in history.
Oddsmakers like the Bayou Bengals’ chances of winning it all better than South Carolina’s breed of Tigers. Ed Orgeron’s team currently owns the privilege of being 5.5-point favorites over Dabo Swinney’s crew.
Hopefully you’ve been diving into our exclusive Statschecker tool to learn everything you can about every game this season. If not, this is the time to correct your past mistakes. In this piece I’ll give you five interesting facts to know from the tool, but to really prepare for your final wagers, make sure you check out the full site for yourself.
1. Both teams will score
If you’re planning to watch this game from start to finish you should settle in for a lengthy affair. Both offenses are going to experience success. Clemson comes in averaging 45.3 points per game only to be topped by LSU’s astronomical mark of 48.9. Fans of stingy defenses should avoid this game at all costs.
There are loads of talented players on both offenses, but the discussion must begin with each signal caller. Joe Burrow ran away with the Heisman voting with his near perfect season for LSU. Trevor Lawrence has the talent to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft when he becomes eligible. The amount of arm talent on display in this game is outrageous.
2. Clemson is actually the better team against the spread
Interestingly, it’s Swinney’s team that has actually performed better against the spread this season. Clemson is 11-3 against the number this year while LSU is “just” 9-5. That might be counter to most people’s thinking considering just how well LSU played down the stretch.
The 5.5-point spread in this game isn’t as big as it first appears though. Given the sheer amount of points that are likely to be scored that should feel a lot more like a 2-point spread in a typical game. Don’t get suckered in by the big number if you like LSU to win.
3. There is a large disparity in defensive production
LSU has a lot of high-end talent on defense, but this group underperformed for most of the season. There’s a reason they come into the contest giving up 21.6 points per game. They have holes that Clemson are going to exploit early and often.
In sharp contrast, Clemson’s defense has played lights out football for most of the campaign. There are valid questions about the collective strength of the offenses they’ve faced, but there are no questions about their results. Giving up 11.5 points per game is a terrific accomplishment for Swinney’s defense.
4. Clemson has never been an underdog
This game puts Clemson’s players in a much different head space than anything else they’ve faced on the season. It’s the first time they will hit kickoff without being favored to emerge victorious.
Look for Swinney to talk that up to his players right up until the game begins. He’s a master motivator and he won’t be afraid to talk up the idea of his team getting no respect against LSU. For the record, the SEC champions have only been underdogs once all season. Orgeron won’t struggle to motivate his team even though they are the expected winners.
5. 28 is a really large number of wins
This represents the first game in NCAA football history where two teams with 14-0 records will face one another. The sheer dominance of both sides just illustrates how good both groups of Tigers have been all season long.
One team will have a chance to achieve a sort of immortality by going 15-0. There’s more than just a national championship up for grabs. There’s a place in history at stake.
Keep riding Joe Burrow
Don’t gloss over the fact that Burrow was responsible for eight touchdowns in just over a half of football in his team’s semifinal victory over Oklahoma. Clemson, in sharp contrast, had to fight and claw to get past Ohio State.
It just feels like LSU is this season’s team of destiny. Clemson will fancy their chances to disrupt that narrative, but I’m not buying. Lay the points and trust Burrow to finish off his storybook season in fine style. LSU pulls away and wins this game by double digits in the end.