- Staff Report @TheESP_
NEW ORLEANS, LA -- As we are just hours away from kickoff, here are some fun facts to look over ahead of the 2020 National Championship game...
Louisiana State comes in ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff (CFP) Standings as well as in the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls; Clemson was No. 3 in all three (LSU received 47 of 62 first place votes in the AP ballot and 46 of the 65 in the coaches’ tab; Clemson received three and five, respectively; No. 2 Ohio State had the others)
This is the fifth year of the CFP, and the No. 1 seed has yet to be crowned the champion; in fact, the lower seed in all five games has emerged with the trophy (No. 4 Ohio State in 2014, No. 2 Alabama in 2015, No. 2 Clemson in 2016 and 2018 and No. 4 Alabama in 2017); note the No. 3 seed has yet to win, either (the higher seed is 8-4 in the semifinal game)
This is the fourth of the six CFP title games that will be played indoors (2017 in Tampa and 2019 in Santa Clara were outdoors); thus no weather issues.
Tonight’s winner will be just the second team to go 15-0 since Division I was split in 1978 (Clemson did it last year and became the fourth to do so); no team classified in the top division of college football has ever won 15 games in back-to-back seasons. Yale, Penn and Chicago each have two 15- plus win seasons, but never consecutively. In the FCS (formerly I-AA), North Dakota State was 16-0 this season and 15-0 in 2013 and 2018, Marshall was 15-0 in 1996 and Georgia Southern 15-0 in 1989.
This is just the fourth meeting between the two schools.
The teams have gone a combined 1,161 days since their last losses (Clemson 741, LSU 420)
Both teams are 7-0 away from home this year (road/neutral sites); Clemson has outscored its opponents in those games by 202 points (28.9 per), LSU has by 146 (20.9 per)
LSU is 27-23-1 all-time in bowl/postseason games, while Clemson is 25-20
LSU’s opponents this year have won 114 games (including Clemson); in FBS history, the only teams that had their opponent win more games was Clemson last year (120); Alabama’s also won 114 in 2015 and 2018This year, the two CFP finalists (LSU, Clemson) are a combined 600 miles from the game site (New Orleans) “as the crow flies” – or a straight line; last year, Alabama and Clemson were a combined 4,140 miles away
If LSU scores 16 points, it would become the second team to score 700-plus points in a season (most: 723, Florida State, 2013)
LSU is looking to become the 14th school with multiple Heisman trophies AND national championships; they would join Alabama, Army, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami-Fla., Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas and USC.
This is the 28th meeting between the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 teams (as ranked by the AP), with the No. 1’s owning a 15-11-1 edge.
Clemson has won at least 10 games for nine straight seasons (117-22 in the 2010s, third-best nationally); LSU has won at least 10 games in six seasons this decade (and at least eight in all), and owns the nation’s sixth best record at 102-28.
The SEC went 7-2 in bowl games this year, while ACC schools went 4-6; the SEC, win or lose, has clinched the best record in the bowls for 2019.
In the 20 BCS Championship (16) CFP title (5) games, the winning team has led at halftime 16 times, trailed three times (2014, 2016 and 2019 ) with two games tied; the team that scored first is only 10-11
Clemson has outscored its opponents by 473 points (best in the nation); LSU is third, doing so by 381 (Ohio State is second at plus-464, with only Alabama also over 300 (+372)Not including the playoff semifinals, LSU faced nine bowl teams during 2019 season (they posted a 5-4 record), while Clemson faced eight (3-5)
The five CFP championship games have averaged 3:45 in length, the longest at 4 hours, 8 minutes in 2017
President Donald Trump will attend his second CFP game (he was in Atlanta in 2018).
Though the two schools who share the nickname Tigers are only 566 miles apart (“as the crow flies”), they have met on just three occasions previous to this game, and all in the postseason. LSU holds a 2-1 advantage, which includes a 7-0 win in New Orleans in the 1959 Sugar Bowl (when it was also ranked No. 1); the other two games were in Atlanta. This is the third time both are ranked, the first both in the top five.
LSU is first in the nation in scoring offense (48.9 points per game); Clemson is first in scoring defense (11.5 points per game). Clemson is first in pass efficiency defense (96.3 rating); LSU is second in the nation in passing efficiency (199.4).
Clemson has outscored its opponents by 940 points in its 29-game winning streak (or by 32.4 points); LSU, in its 15-game run, has outscored its foes by 389 points (or 25.9 per). In their respective streaks, Clemson and LSU are both 4-0 in one-score games (8 points or less).
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney would make history if the Tigers win tonight: he would become the fourth head coach since the inception of the Associated Press poll in 1936 to win three national championships in a four-year span. Previously it has been done by Nick Saban (Alabama, 2009-11- 12), Tom Osborne (Nebraska 1994-95-97) and Frank Leahy (Army 1946-47-49).
Louisiana State could join just two other current FBS programs in history to end a team’s 25-plus game winning streak – at least twice. In last year’s Fiesta Bowl, the Tigers defeated UCF, 40-32, ending the Knight’s 25-game winning streak. Notre Dame has done it three times, most notably ending Oklahoma’s 47-game winning streak in 1957 (also stopping 30 wins in a row by Texas in 1970 and 25 by Army in 1946). Oregon State has done it twice, ending a 40-game streak by Washington in 1914 and USC in 1933 (however, they ended both with ties). Clemson has won 29 straight, and it, of course, ended a 26-game winning run by Alabama in the 2017 CFP championship game.
This is the first national championship match-up in the postseason in football (since 1968 when the AP started conducting post-bowl polls) where both teams competing for the title share the same nickname (in this case, Tigers). It has happened three times in the NCAA basketball tournament: Dartmouth- Stanford in 1942 (both then known as the Indians; Stanford defeated Colorado in one semifinal, the “classic Indians killing a buffalo”); Kansas State- Kentucky in 1951 (Wildcats) and Arizona-Kentucky in 1997 (again, Wildcats). In 2008, Fresno State defeated Georgia for the College World Series crown (both Bulldogs). It has not occurred in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.