Tale of two Tigers as College Football Playoff set

BY DON BEANE, News + Record Staff
Posted 12/13/19

By halftime of the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game in Charlotte on Saturday evening the outcome of the game was a formality. Clemson, the reigning National Champion, was in complete control with a 31-7 advantage over Virginia. The only question left was just how much the Tigers would win, and what seed they would garner in the College Football Playoff series.

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Tale of two Tigers as College Football Playoff set

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Posted

By halftime of the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game in Charlotte on Saturday evening the outcome of the game was a formality.

Clemson, the reigning National Champion, was in complete control with a 31-7 advantage over Virginia.

The only question left was just how much the Tigers would win, and what seed they would garner in the College Football Playoff series.

The answers to those questions would be 62-17 and the No. 3 seed.

After watching Clemson again there’s no doubt in my mind that they are the second best team I’ve seen this season. No offense to Ohio State, but Clemson is better and will prove it on the field when the No. 2-seeded Buckeyes play the No. 3-seeded Tigers in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28.

Much has been made about the Clemson schedule, which was awful. But Dabo Swinney and the Tigers can’t control the rest of the ACC and how mediocre the other league teams are. Mediocre may be an understatement.

Clemson, however, beat those opponents like the great teams do — senseless. The Tigers simply destroyed any and everything in its path with just a few minor hiccups such as the UNC game in Chapel Hill. And yet the purple-and-orange-clad Tigers continued to get little respect from the national media who fawned and drooled all over Ohio State all season long

Now the proof will be in the pudding. Do I think Clemson is as good as last season? No, I don’t, at least not overall. I think the offense is as good, perhaps a bit better as Trevor Lawrence and his surrounding cast are a year older, stronger and more experienced.

It’s the defensive side of the ball in my eyes, particularly the front seven, that’s not as strong, starting wise and depth wise. They are plenty good enough to get by the Buckeyes IMO, and I feel they will.

Less than four hours southwest of Charlotte down I-85 in Atlanta earlier on Saturday, another set of Tigers were busy making their statement as the top team in the county.

And Louisiana State University did just that, destroying UGA 37-10 in the SEC title game. Now enjoying Kirby Smart and the Dawgs getting whipped like there was no tomorrow was enough to make my day, and day, 24/7.

But at the same time I did make it a point to take notice of the purple-and-gold-clad Tigers, and they looked every bit the part of a national championship caliber team. LSU is a complete team and loaded at every position group. The play of quarterback Joe Burrow, a Heisman candidate, has vaulted LSU into the next level.

The Tigers have had talent the past decade to win another national title, but has lacked at that one position. Now LSU doesn’t lack that one glaring flaw, and appears to be the best team in the country.

The Tigers will have the opportunity to prove it now as the top seed, and that all begins when LSU plays the No. 4-seeded Oklahoma Sooners in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium back in Atlanta at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 28.

Everything is set up for a Geaux Tigers versus a Go Tigers National Championship finale — and where else but the Superdome in New Orleans at 8 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 13.

And what fun that could be and I’m standing with my Tale of two Tigers prediction for the title game. I mean, Dabo Swinney and his “aw shucks” talk from right out of the Andy Griffith Show combined with LSU’s Coach Ed Orgeron, who is like a Cajun character straight out of the movie “The Waterboy.” I mean it’s almost too good to be true, and if Ohio State and/or Oklahoma win, then hats off to them. Regardless, college football fans in Chatham County and across the nation are in for a treat and some very entertaining matchups and games.

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