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Sunday, 12 January 2020

College Football National Championship Game 2020- LSU Tigers vs Clemson Tigers (January 13th)

The National Championship Game is ready to go this Monday and I have to say I could not have wished for a better one than this between the two Tigers of LSU and Clemson who have looked the best two teams in the nation. That is no disrespect to the Ohio State Buckeyes and Oklahoma Sooners who were both beaten in the Semi Final Bowl Games, but the defending National Champion against the best the SEC have to offer is the perfect way to the end what has been yet another fabulous season.

Some of the very best names in College Football are involved in this game and do not be surprised if the Quarter Backs playing in this National Championship Game are selected Number 1 Overall in the next two NFL Drafts. Joe Burrow of the LSU Tigers is almost certainly going in that position in a couple of months time, while Trevor Lawrence of the Clemson Tigers will be projected into the Number 1 Overall slot in most Mock Drafts as soon as he declares himself eligible to leave for the professional ranks.

It is perhaps no surprise that the Clemson Tigers are set as the underdog having had an easier schedule for much of the season. They were also pushed to the limit by the Buckeyes in their Semi Final win compared with the LSU Tigers who blew out the Oklahoma Sooners without being tested. In fact the LSU Tigers have not really been pushed since their impressive road win over the Alabama Crimson Tide and I can imagine there will be plenty of enthusiasm in backing a team like that.

Joe Burrow has been in fantastic form all season and there has to be the encouragement of seeing the Clemson Secondary give up one or two big plays in the win over the Buckeyes. For much of the season that Secondary hasn't been tested like they would have been against Ohio State and this is another step up when facing LSU who are the first Offensive team to have a 5000 yard passer along with TWO 1000 yard Wide Receivers and a Running Back with 1000 yards on the ground.

Stopping LSU looks an almost impossible task, but Clemson will have faith in the Defensive Line to at least reduce the chances of Clyde Edwards-Helaire from taking over on the ground. If they can at least force LSU to have to make plays from third and long from time to time, Clemson do have the pass rush which can at least try and rattle a Quarter Back having the best year of his life by some distance.

With that in mind I do think Joe Burrow will have a strong game and that is going to put some pressure on Clemson's Trevor Lawrence to keep up in what could be something of a shoot out. If the game had taken place a few weeks ago you might have been more confident in Clemson being able to do that, but the LSU Defensive unit finished the season in very strong form to underline that this is a more complete team than some of the PlayOff Committee members originally believed.

Travis Etienne has to establish the run in this one for the Clemson Offensive unit to have the kind of success they will likely need to win a second National Championship in a row. This year the Running Back has been a huge success both punishing the ball on the ground and also as a safety blanket for Lawrence and in screen plays. Those are all areas in which Etienne has to come up big on Monday evening if the Tigers are going to win this game, but they are facing a LSU Defensive Line which has clamped down on teams and held them to 2.9 yards per carry in their last three games which include the SEC Championship Game and College Football Semi Final.

The Clemson Offense might have a bit more success as Trevor Lawrence has to be respected, while he has also shown he can move the chains with his legs from the Quarter Back position. Trevor Lawrence is one of the elite Quarter Backs in College Football, but he will have to be at his very best to hurt this LSU Secondary which has also improved down the stretch.

Like their counterparts, Clemson know they have to find a way to run the ball to just ease the LSU pass rush which will believe they can get on top if they hold Clemson to third and long and obvious passing downs.

No team has won back to back National Championships since the forming of the College Football PlayOffs and that does go against Clemson here. However Clemson have beaten Alabama from the SEC twice in National Championship Games in the new format and the underdog has covered in all five previous National Championship Games played.

Clemson are 9-1 against the spread in their last ten as the underdog and they are 17-4 against the spread in their last twenty-one games played on neutral fields. The LSU Tigers have some strong trends and getting in front of a freight train like this one can be very difficult to do, but I like the experience of this Clemson team and I think they can at least keep this one close.

It should be a very good National Championship Game and more likely to go down the route of three of the previous five runnings which have been decided by 5 points or fewer. Last year Clemson did blow out the Alabama Crimson Tide as an underdog, but I can't see this one going that way and instead will take the points with the defending National Champions.

Joe Burrow versus Trevor Lawrence- I say get the popcorn out and enjoy the big game on Monday night.

MY PICKS: Clemson Tigers + 5.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (2 Units)

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