SCV coaches give National Championship predictions

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No. 1 Louisiana State University (14-0) and No. 3 Clemson (14-0) will face-off in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game Monday at 5:00 p.m. at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Monday’s meeting is the 28th time the game has been played to crown a champion and the sixth time it has been played in the playoff format. However, the idea of a national champion has existed much longer than that. This year’s affair is sure to be special as the 2019-20 college football season is the 150th season of the sport’s existence.

A fun side-note is this is the first time two teams with the same mascot will compete in the title game with both LSU and Clemson donning the Tigers as their mascot.

Both teams had polar paths to the championship game. LSU had a tough regular season. The SEC is already hard to play in year in and year out, but LSU made things much harder on itself with a difficult conference slate. The Bayou Bengals beat four top-10 opponents throughout the season. They bested a fifth top-10 team in the SEC Championship Game with a decisive 37-10 win over then-No. 4 Georgia.

Clemson had an easier path to the playoffs. The ACC is regarded as one of the worst Power 5 conferences in college football. The Tigers did not play a single ranked team throughout the regular season. They saw their first ranked match against then-No. 23 Virginia in the ACC Championship Game. They throttled the Cavaliers 62-17.

The script was flipped in the College Football Playoffs. LSU earned the No. 1 spot after facing many trials and tribulations in the regular season. This placed LSU against the lower-seeded No. 4 Oklahoma University in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The Tigers won handily 63-28 against their sixth top-10 opponent of the season.

Clemson had its first true test of the season. The Tigers took on the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Clemson’s lack of competition seemed like it was showing early in the game as it fell behind the Buckeyes 16-0.  Clemson battled back to a 29-23 victory that was sealed by an interception in the endzone.

Now, the Santa Clarita Valley does not have much stake in the National Championship this year, sort of. In fact, the last time it did have a direct interest in the game was in 2011 when Oregon played Auburn for the title. Saugus’s Ramsen Golpashin was a member of Oregon’s offensive line.

However, it’s still fun to speculate.

“Well, that’s going to be a tough one to call, man,” said Trinity football head coach Les Robinson. “You look at the quarterback from Clemson who has won a National Championship but had some hiccups this year. Then you look at the quarterback from LSU who has broken a plethora of records.”

Both are tough variables to consider. Trevor Lawrence, Clemson’s quarterback, lead his team to a 15-0 record and dominated what appeared to be an unstoppable Crimson Tide to win 44-16 in the 2019 National Championship Game.

On the other hand, Joe Burrow, LSU’s quarterback, has broken many records this season. He set the SEC single-season passing touchdowns, yards and completion percentage records this year. He also won the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award and Heisman Trophy. In Layman’s Terms, he’s really good.

“It’s so hard to pick against Clemson,” Robinson said. “If I had to pick a winner, I would go with LSU. The only reason I would lean towards LSU is because of the tougher schedule, the phenomenal quarterback play and the plethora of receivers. Otherwise you’re looking at mirror teams”

Other football minds in town are more definite with their picks.

“Clemson knows what it takes to win the big game, but I think LSU has the talent to beat them,” said Golden Valley football head coach Dan Kelley.

West Ranch football’s head coach Chris Varner agrees.

“I have to go with LSU,” Varner said. “I don’t see a big weakness in their team. I believe Clemson would have to play near perfect and LSU would have to make some critical mistakes.”

Some people in the Santa Clarita Valley do have some rooting interest in Monday’s game.

“I played for Coach O (Edward Orgeron) my last year at USC and I love that man,” said College of the Canyons football head coach Ted Iacenda. “So, I am 100% an LSU fan on Monday night.”

Although he will be rooting for LSU, Iacenda agrees with Robinson. The two teams are so close it’s hard to make a clear pick.

“But I’ll be honest, I don’t know how you bet against Clemson who is 29-0 in the last two seasons,” Iacenda said. “It’s going to be a great game. Two amazing quarterbacks with tremendous offensive weapons and two big-time defenses. I’m predicting a low scoring affair that comes down to a field goal late in the game.”

Clemson kept pace since winning the national title last year, minus a minor hiccup versus North Carolina, and looks to repeat this year. There have only been two teams to win back-to-back title games; Nebraska (1995, 1996) and Alabama (2012, 2013).

In the history of the College Football Playoff, the higher-seeded team has never won the title game.

The game will air Monday on ESPN at 5:00 p.m.

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