The Clemson Tigers will take on the LSU Tigers Monday night in the National Championship. Who has the advantage in the match-up?
The Clemson Tigers and LSU Tigers will match-up live on Monday night in New Orleans for the National Championship.
Both teams come into the game with perfect 14-0 records, but it’s actually LSU who is considered a favorite coming into this one. The Tigers of the SEC are listed as 5.5-point favorites, courtesy of the Action Network.
Here’s a look at who has the advantage heading into the National Championship.
When Clemson has the ball
The LSU defense has been trending upwards for the last few weeks. Much of that has to do with health and it has to do with a change in scheme. That being said, LSU still has a few areas that Clemson will be able to exploit, especially with wide receiver match-ups on safeties.
Look for Trevor Lawrence to throw the ball a bunch and for Travis Etienne to attempt to establish a running game. LSU won’t have the advantage of rattling the Tigers- which they did against Oklahoma. As a result, Clemson will score a bunch of points.
When LSU has the ball
LSU’s offense is ranked No. 1 in the nation for a reason. Clemson’s defense is ranked No. 1 in the nation for a reason, as well.
Neither unit will have faced a more capable opponent throughout the season, but I still think I have to give the advantage to LSU.
I’m a little concerned about the back-end of that Clemson defense and I want to see how the safeties respond. I like the Tigers to come away with a few stops and have a good game plan coming into this game because of Brent Venables, but I have to give the advantage to Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow when looking at these two units as a whole.
Special Teams, Coaching and Intangibles
Will Spiers played the best game of his career against Ohio State and, really, kept the Tigers in the game early.
That being said, I still have to give LSU an advantage in special teams because they have a consistent field goal kicker in Cade York (80.8 FG percentage with a long of 52).
In terms of coaching, LSU’s staff has never been in this position. Ed Orgeron has proven to be a great coach and the SEC Tigers have elite-level coordinators on both sides of the ball, but I still have to give the advantage to Clemson. Dabo Swinney, Tony Elliott, Jeff Scott and Brent Venables. They’ve been there. They’ve done that.
When looking at intangibles, I think that both teams have things to prove coming in. LSU will have the crowd advantage, but I think Clemson will relish the opportunity to play in a token away game. Clemson should have a chip on its shoulder because the Tigers are underdogs and I like Dabo Swinney’s ability to motivate his team. In addition, Clemson has now played an all-out war with Ohio State and that experience should play an advantage, as well.
Still, LSU feels like they’re a team of destiny. That group is going to leave it all on the field and they’re going to come out extremely emotional and fired up.
Special Teams: LSU
Intangibles: Slight to Clemson