Mr. CFB: Five reasons why LSU is going to win the CFP national championship.
New Orleans—We are about seven hours before kickoff of the CFP national championship game between No. 1 LSU (14-0) and No. 3 Clemson (14-0).
There are great players and great story lines on both sides. LSU is trying to win its first national title since 2007. Clemson is trying to win its third national championship in four seasons.
This could be one of the best quarterback match-ups in national championship history with LSU’s Joe Burrow, the Heisman Trophy winner, who will be the No. 1 pick in April’s NFL Draft, and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, who will surely be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft.
So the time has come to pick and I’m picking LSU. Here are five reasons why:
1—Joe Burrow is destined to have a storybook finish to his incredible journey:
Burrow, who left Ohio State because he was told that he wasn’t good enough, now has a chance to prove all of the doubters wrong. With 5,208 yards passing and 55 touchdowns, he is having one of the greatest seasons ever by a quarterback. A national championship would be the perfect way to go out.
2—Coach O: Ed Orgeron grew up dreaming that someday he would be the head coach at LSU and lead the Tigers to glory. He had the courage to radically change his offense after a 10-3 season. Greatness does not come without risk. And Coach O has risked it all. Monday night he will be rewarded. Orgeron is 11-3 against the Top 10 as the head coach at LSU.
3—The crowd and the building: Clemson travels well. They always do. But the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is just 80 miles from the LSU campus in Baton Rouge. So if there is such a thing as a home field advantage in a CFP national championship game, LSU has it. This will be the fourth national championship game LSU has played in this building. In 2003 LSU beat Oklahoma 21-14. In 2007 LSU beat Ohio State 38-24. In 2011 LSU lost to Alabama 21-0, a game their fans have never gotten over. Tonight’s game will make that loss a distant memory.
4—Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Edwards-Helaire became a go-to weapon for Burrow in the final games of the season. Burrow told CBSSports.com that “he’s what makes the offense go.” He gets the tough yardage to move the sticks and late in the Alabama game his running and receiving helped LSU put the game away. Edwards-Helaire suffered a hamstring injury that limited his playing time against Oklahoma in the semifinals in Atlanta. Now he is ready to go and that will present some match-up problems for Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. Edwards-Helaire will be the X-factor in this game.
5—LSU’s secondary is going to come up big: There are a bunch of pros in the back end of the LSU defense but keep your eye on cornerback Derek Stingley (No. 24) and safety Grant Delpit (No. 7). Stingley is just a freshman but he may be the best cover corner in college football. He could go to the NFL right now. Delpit won the Thorpe Award, which goes to the nation’s best defensive back. During the course of this game these guys are going to make some big plays to put LSU in position to win.
Put it all together and you have:
LSU 35, Clemson 31.