CLEMSON vs. LSU: NATIONAL TITLE GAME PREVIEW (1-13-20)

TWO BEST TEAMS FACE OFF FOR NATIONAL TITLE IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

 

VEGAS BETTING ODDS:  LSU TIGERS (-5 or -5 1/2) vs. CLEMSON TIGERS ~  TOTAL: (68/68 1/2)

CLEMSON OFFENSE (#3) ~ (253 RUSH, 295 PASS)  vs.  LSU DEFENSE (#31) ~  (120 RUSH, 222 PASS allowed)

LSU OFFENSE (#2) ~  (167 RUSH, 387 PASS)   vs.  CLEMSON DEFENSE (#1) ~  (106 RUSH, 139 PASS allowed)

A way too long College Football Bowl Season finally ended and in the CFB Playoff Final 4 we saw one fantastic game and one blowout laugher. In the end though the two best teams in the country made it to the National Title game, one that will become the largest bet College Football game this entire season, maybe ever. And even though Clemson is the Defending Champ and they come in with the #1 Defense and the #3 Offense in the nation, they are the Underdog in this game. I’d bet anything we will never see this ever happen again. The Sports books are the biggest winners, and the winner of this game are almost a second best winner. I’d expect the ratings for this game to be the highest ever to watch a CFB game. After a way too long wait, it’s time to see if LSU can dethrone the National Champs from last season, or if Clemson can be the best Dynasty we’ve maybe ever seen.

It’s always a treat to see two elite teams face off, and to see the #1 Defense take on the #2 Offense in the entire country, well you are being treated to Sports TV Gold. It’s no shock these two teams made it to the Final Game as the best 2 QB’s are playing and both teams are loaded at so many other areas with many future NFL players suiting up. You have two teams averaging just shy 50 points per game (LSU 49, CLEMSON 47). You have one QB who has never lost a start in 2 full seasons (Clemson’s T. Lawrence). We will get to see a boatload of some of the best wide receivers I’ve ever seen in my life. We will see two of the best running backs we’ve witnessed in decades. We will get to see two teams who are just incredible at scoring points inside the Red Zone. Plain and simple this game features talent we really have never seen across the board and may never see again. Now it’s time to finally play the game out and crown us the 2020 Champions of College Football.

First we look at the Underdog Clemson Tigers, the team who hasn’t lost a game in 29 straight games. Clemson may well have the best Offensive Line in the nation and two superstar wide receivers in Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross (combined 21 TD’s and just shy 2,000 receiving yards). QB Trevor Lawrence had a little shaky start to the season, but he returned to the talk of all CFB last season with no interceptions thrown since October 19th. He passed for 36 TD’s and 3, 431 passing yards, 67% completion rate and now a really solid running QB as well. It was his legs that helped propel the big comeback win a few weeks ago over Ohio State and now a nightmare for LSU’s Defense to try to stop. My favorite Running Back in all of CFB was T. Ettiene (1,536 rushing yards and 18 TD’s) and an incredible 8 yards per carry). There is not one weak link on this entire Clemson Offense. LSU did just beat the #1 Offense of Oklahoma, holding them to just 28 points. But folks this Clemson Offense is a totally different animal. They have made 16 plays this season of over 50 yards. By way Clemson has started the same Offensive Line in 13 of it’s 14 games and allowed only 1 sack per game. I must though add Clemson only faced one Top 32 Defense all season (Ohio State).

Next we will look at LSU’s #2 Offense and of course everyone knows the leader of this pack, Heisman Trophy winner QB Joe Burrow. He leads another star studded Offense loaded on the Offensive Line, with a superstar RB C. Edwards-Helaire (1,304 rushing yards and 16 TD’s) and also a excellent receiving threat out of the backfield with 50 catches this season for 399 total yards. Burrow has not one or two studs to pass the ball to besides Edwards-Helaire, he’s got 4 superstars, all who likely suit up on Sunday’s in the NFL ahead. J. Jefferson topped the 100 mark with 102 catches, J. Chase had 75 catches and even T. Marshall (43 catches) and T. Moss (Randy Moss’s son) at TE (42 catches), who is nearly impossible to cover with a Linebacker. Coming into the season it looked like Alabama had the best all around talent on Offense but LSU was a large notch better. Burrow had a storybook season, passing for 5, 208 yards and led team to an incredible 55 TD’s and he completed an almost impossible to do 77% overall. He even had 8 passes of over 60 yards, and at times he was Houdini scrambling and still hitting guys with miraculous passes even when they were covered like a blanket.

Now though it comes down to what Defense can slow down, not stop because neither Defense will stop the opposing Offense. Clemson has the #1 Defense and allowed only (11.5) points per game. They had 42 sacks and may be able to sack Burrow, whose only bad stat was he was sacked 29x this season. The Clemson secondary was first in the nation in Pass Efficiency and Ohio State’s longest pass completion in Final 4 game was only 24 yards.  They also had 2 interceptions as well. Clemson LB I. Simmons may be the best Defensive Player on the field and he helped slow Ohio State’s loaded Offense score only 1 TD in 5 Red Zone trips. I’d expect Clemson to use only a 3 man front and leave extra guys to help cover the talented LSU receivers, but that could open some bigger holes for LSU stud RB Helaire. It’s pick your poison as you can’t fully shut down Burrow and this Offense.

LSU Defense is ranked #31, so for some it looks like they weren’t a superstar caliber D but trust me folks they played a much harder schedule than did Clemson. They faced 6 Top 10 teams and 5 teams ranked in the Top 32 in Passing. They did allow 311 passing yards to Florida and Ole Miss ran wild on them as well. LSU will add possibly it’s most talented Defensive Player, LB L. Divinity, who left team for a long period but is back for this big game. He will try to add to a LSU Defense that is ninth in nation on 3rd down conversions this season.

STATS TO TAKE NOTE OF:

1). CLEMSON:  Played 3 Top Offenses this season and 7 Offenses ranked #71 or worse. They played 11 Defenses ranked #66 or worse. They played only 1 Top 30 Defense.

2). L.S.U.: Faced 3 Offenses ranked in top 15 and 6 Defenses ranked in Top 32.

SUPER ELITE RED ZONE OFFENSES:

1). CLEMSON:  Scored 56x in 64 overall Red Zone trips with 48 TD’s and 8 FG’s.

2). LSU: Scored 63x in 65 overall Red Zone trips (this is NOT a TYPO) with 50 TD’s and 13 FG’s inside the Red Zone this season.

FINAL KICK:

These game showcases insane Offensive Talent and the way Burrow and Lawrence are playing right now it’s hard to fathom this could be a game not filled with fireworks. Burrow is only 4 TD’s shy of the all time TD record (Colt Brennan – 58). LSU has gone OVER the Total 11 of last 16 games. They score so fast and get up big so fast the opposition has to go Pass heavy to try and catch up. Clemson it seemed beat everyone by 50 or more other than the Tar Heels, as they also can score in a NY second. Clemson’s D allows a near nothing 139 passing yards. LSU’s Burrow averages 387 passing yards per game. Clemson’s star RB Ettiene rushes for 8 yards per carry, but LSU’s Defense allows only 3.6 yards per carry. Something has to give as good as both teams are on Defense, you are going to watch two of the best Offenses we’ve ever seen. EVER! Clemson really plays with a huge chip on it’s shoulders and LSU plays as loose and free of any team I’ve watched in decades. You can’t underestimate the Home Field advantage is playing with playing in New Orleans. But Clemson will fill very close to half the stadium and lighten that advantage somewhat. For the quarter by quarter bettors, look no closer than the second quarter for both teams extreme dominance this season. Clemson has scored 211 points and allowed only 38 in the second quarter. LSU has scored even more with 228 points and allowed 81 overall in the 2nd quarter. We always here if you can run the ball in dominating fashion you likely will win. In LSU’s case when it’s stud RB Edwards-Helaire rushes it for 100+ yards they are a perfect (8-0). LSU was able to cover all 3 games when they were only a one score favorite, beating Texas, Bama and Auburn. This is the first time Clemson is the Underdog in the past 2 seasons. The last time they were the Dog they bombed Alabama 44-16. Clemson is very impressive as the Dog, going (8-2) ATS since 2014. Don’t make Clemson HC Dabo Swinney mad I guess!  I’ve made a ton of cash betting these two teams this season and can’t side with one or the other for this gigantic Heavyweight match up. I feel lucky to have cashed with Clemson over Ohio State in the Final 4. I truly feel there is no chance this game disappoints. Two dynamic QB’s with weapons galore. Lot’s of Defensive studs too and really it will come down to turnovers. You surely hope it doesn’t come down to the FG Kickers. I’d hate to see one of these Kickers miss a FG late to cost his team a National Title. Hoping the Football Gods don’t put it to that type of finish. Hell if we are going to go out with the two best teams, let’s play some Overtime. I never make a Guarantee, but I will for this game. I Guarantee the Tigers win this game tonight and hoist the National Championship Trophy.

Enjoy this wonderful game and hope you all had a profitable College Football Season like we had. Please never bet too big or what you can’t afford to lose. Enjoy the game as it’s as great a match up as we may ever see in our lifetimes. Thanks to all of you for checking us out this season and we hope we were able to help prepare you better before you ever made a wager.

Gary Greene