The LSU Tigers will play the Clemson Tigers in the 2020 College Football Playoff National Championship at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, Jan. 13. The game, which takes place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, can be watched on ESPN and the ESPN app.
Which team will prove to be the dominant group of Tigers? Can Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence collect another championship trophy, or will Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow play spoiler? Which Death Valley prepared its team for this moment? Both teams are 14-0 heading into the matchup.
How did LSU get here?
Have you heard of Joe Burrow?
Of course you have. The potential future No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft had one of the most impressive and efficient seasons for a quarterback, which was topped off by making history in the College Football Playoff. Burrow passed for 493 yards and finished with eight total touchdowns in his team's dismantling of Oklahoma in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
As FiveThirtyEight's Josh Planos writes, Burrow had 5,208 passing yards with 55 touchdowns and only 6 interceptions this season -- making him the most efficient college quarterback ever.
The No. 1 team in the country is looking for its first national title since the 2007 season, when it beat Ohio State in -- where else -- New Orleans.
Burrow has benefited from having Ja'Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson as his wide receivers, and getting both of them going is certainly easier with one of the best offensive lines in the country. That's why this team averages 48.9 points per game -- No. 1 in the nation.
A powerful offense has been LSU's game plan all year. "I don't see how a defense can stop us," Jefferson said after LSU's win over Oklahoma. "It's just a blessing to be in this situation."
Speaking of defense, LSU has a good one too. Cornerbacks Derek Stingley Jr. and Kristian Fulton and safety Grant Delpit anchor a defense that allows just 21.6 points per game. As ESPN's Adam Rittenberg writes, linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson is the team's X factor. He has 4.5 sacks in the past three games, including two in the College Football Playoff semifinal, and his ability to pressure Clemson's quarterback will be critical for the Tigers.
How did Clemson get here?
The defending champions are back in the championship game, and a lot of it has to do with quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Clemson wasn't even favored to make it this far, but the team fought back from a 16-point deficit to beat Ohio State in the semifinal.
Clemson has its own flashy offense led by Lawrence, who has thrown for 3,431 yards and 36 touchdowns. Scoring an average of 45.3 points per game -- fourth in the nation -- is easier when you have running back Travis Etienne, who has more than 1,500 rushing yards and 22 total touchdowns. The Tigers also have Justyn Ross (remember his performance in last year's national championship?) and Tee Higgins.
Containing LSU's offense is a challenge for anyone. Adam Rittenberg writes that linebacker Isaiah Simmons and safety K'Von Wallace must be special and versatile like they were against Ohio State, and impact the game from all over -- especially in attempting to hamper Burrow.
Clemson hasn't lost since the 2017 season, in this very stadium, to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. A win would give the team its 30th consecutive win and third championship in four seasons.
Who is favored?
College Football Playoff National Championship history
2019: Clemson beats Alabama 44-16 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
2018: Alabama beats Georgia 26-23 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
2017: Clemson beats Alabama 35-31 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
2016: Alabama beats Clemson 45-40 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
2015: Ohio State beats Oregon 42-20 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.