College Football Preview: Clemson-LSU Title Game Predictions


In our first college football preview of Championship Monday, we laid out the statistical particulars for tonight’s College Football Playoff title game between No. 3 Clemson and No. 1 LSU.  Now, it’s the CFT staff’s turn to go on record as to how the matchup will play out.

Zach Barnett (Twitter)
Clemson is a team that can very much repeat as national champions. Heck, Ohio State was good enough to win the damn thing, and these (orange and purple) Tigers beat them, ripping off a 29-7 run in the process. And I don’t think they have much of a chance to win this game. This LSU team is on a manifest destiny unlike any we’ve ever seen and, while I don’t think it’s a blowout, I think Joe Burrow, J’Marr Chase and company are simply too much for Clemson to overcome.
LSU 34, Clemson 28

Bryan Fischer (Twitter)
What a great national title game this portends to be and, despite plenty of defensive talent on hand, it would not surprise me at all to see things turn into a shootout at the Superdome. Obviously LSU will have the home-crowd advantage and come in plenty motivated to win one in their own state to cap off one of the best seasons in college football history. That said, Dabo Swinney has to enjoy using that underdog status for a talented team that has won 29 in a row and knows all too well how to play in big games like this. My head keeps saying LSU will take this one after forcing a 4th quarter turnover but the visiting Tigers just can’t be discounted to keep the train rolling. In the end, though, Heisman winner Joe Burrow has the ball last and there’s nothing Trevor Lawrence can do as he watches the purple and gold march down and score the game-winner on a field goal as time expires.
LSU 44, Clemson 41

Kevin McGuire (Twitter)
LSU and quarterback Joe Burrow have been writing a story that is too good to end on a sour note, so it would seem. With one of the top offenses in the game, LSU will face their stiffest defensive challenge yet in Clemson. Even so, LSU will still manage to move the football and put up some points. In a battle of arguably the two best quarterbacks in college football, we are in for a treat. Burrow and LSU get one last scoring drive to edge Trevor Lawrence and Clemson in a back-and-forth game from start to finish.
LSU 41, Clemson 38

John Taylor (Twitter)
Each of the past two years they’ve played in it, I’ve gone with Clemson to win the CFP championship game — they beat Alabama 35-31 in the one following the 2016 regular season after I picked them to win 27-23, then beat Alabama again 44-16 after I picked them to win 34-31.  That most recent win over Alabama was part of the current 29-game winning streak Clemson is riding, tied for the 12th-longest in FBS history.  This season, 11 of the Tigers’ 14 wins have come by at least 30 points.  In the end, though, none of that matters.  My history with Clemson doesn’t matter, the streak doesn’t matter. LSU has seemingly been a team of destiny all year long. Heisman-winning quarterback Joe Burrow has been putting up ridiculous passing numbers throughout 2019 in leaving quality defenses in his wake, and Clemson’s top-ranked pass defense will be no different.  It’s been preordained by a college football power greater than I that Coach Eaux and Jeaux Burreaux and the rest of the Bayou Bengals claim their first national championship since 2007 — they’re playing in their own backyard for crying out loud.  Who am I to geaux against such a storyline?
LSU 44, Clemson 31

Iowa State QB Re-al Mitchell latest to enter name into transfer portal

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The portal has claimed another name and Iowa State’s quarterback depth will suffer as a result.

Cyclones signal-caller Re-al Mitchell became the latest enter the NCAA Transfer Database this week and confirmed on social media that he was leaving Ames for another opportunity elsewhere.

The move is fairly unsurprising given that Mitchell arrived on campus in the same recruiting class as current starter Brock Purdy. With a pathway to significant playing time blocked by one of the best young QB’s in the sport, a ticket out of town seemed like it was coming sooner or later for the team’s No. 2 on the depth chart.

A dual-threat known for his speed, Mitchell was originally ranked as a three-star prospect coming out of high school who picked ISU over Arizona, Illinois, Kansas State, South Carolina and others. He wound up playing in six games under Matt Campbell over two seasons and threw for an even 100 yards and one touchdown.

A Southern California native, it’s possible a move back West could be in the cards for Mitchell. He appears to be insistent on playing under center but did see spot duty as a wide receiver during his stint in Ames.

Following the departure of Mitchell, Campbell will quite a bit of youth behind Purdy on the team’s depth chart. Freshman Aidan Bouman enrolled early for spring practice while fellow Class of 2020 QB and four-star recruit Hunter Dekkers will arrive later as they battle it out for backup reps. Iowa State opens the season at home against FCS South Dakota before heading to Kinnick Stadium to take on rival Iowa in Week 2.

Texas LB Ayodele Adeoye to miss spring practice with foot injury

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New Texas coordinator Chris Ash’s task at turning around the team’s defense got a tad bit harder on Saturday.

According to a release from the school, linebacker Ayodele Adeoye suffered a foot injury and will undergo surgery to correct it. While he is expected to be back in time for summer workouts, the upcoming trip under the knife will knock him out for all of spring practice in Austin.

Adeoye was a top recruit out of high school in 2018 but played in just four games and redshirted his first year on the Forty Acres. He turned into a regular starter (nine games) last season however and was fifth on the team in tackles (45) while recording an interception and 2.5 sacks.

With the redshirt sophomore out, the Longhorns depth this spring as they re-tool under Ash will certainly be tested. Fellow rising sophomore David Gbenda likely will take on an increased role based on the depth chart — though he might have to earn his way back after being sent home from UT’s Alamo Bowl win over Utah due to a violation of team rules.

Texas opens the 2020 season at home against USF and new head coach Jeff Scott before heading to Baton Rouge for a must-see game against reigning national champion LSU in Week 2.

Miami DL Scott Patchan enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has giveth for Miami football and it’s taken away.

Less than a week after Hurricanes got a big pickup in the form of Temple grad transfer DL Quincy Roche, the program learned that veteran defensive end Scott Patchan had entered his name into the transfer portal via an announcement on social media:

Patchan started six games last season and played in all 13 for Miami in 2019. He recorded 33 tackles and 2.5 sacks while in the lineup but ultimately took a back seat to star pass rusher Greg Rousseau and a host of others.

The loss of Patchan certainly hurts the depth head coach Manny Diaz has to play with but is by no means a killer given what will return in 2020 along the line. In addition to Rousseau (coming off a 15.5 sack campaign) and former AAC Defensive Player of the Year Roche, rising sophomore Jahfari Harvey saw action and former five-star Jaelan Phillips will be eligible after transferring from UCLA.

Patchan, who received a waiver from the NCAA for a sixth-year after injuries hampered his career, will be immediately eligible for his new school.

Miami opens the 2020 season with a game against Temple as part of a three-game homestand against Group of Five opponents before traveling to Michigan State for a big non-conference test.

Buyouts and Chip Kelly’s grocery bill lands UCLA with $18.9 million deficit in 2019

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A difficult year for UCLA on the football field was just as difficult on the balance sheet.

According to details obtained by the San Jose Mercury News, the Bruins reported a shocking $18.9 million deficit for the recent 2018-19 fiscal year. This was the result of $108.4 million in revenue and $127.3 million in outgoing expenses.

“A confluence of events over the past two years led us to this point,” AD Dan Guerrero said in a statement to the paper, “and while it is unusual for us, we expect this shortfall can be mitigated.

“The investments made into our football and men’s basketball programs will pay off, ticket sales will normalize and one-time expenses will be paid.”

Those investments included a nearly 30 percent increase in the football program’s funding since the hire of Chip Kelly in late 2017. While former head coach Jim Mora’s buyout (nearly $12.5 million) was recorded in the previous year’s budget, the effects of it naturally carried over and created an even tricker situation when basketball coach Steve Alford’s buyout was thrown in for 2019.

In addition to buyouts, the grocery bill seemed to play a pretty big factor in the deficit as well. While this doesn’t appear to just be the case of switching from Albertsons to Whole Foods, under Kelly the program’s budget for nutrition ballooned from just a shade under $1 million to nearly $5.4 million last year. Add in decreased ticket sales in football (down $3.5 million from projections) after a disappointing year and increased costs from other places in the department and you can see how UCLA quickly went from being in the black into the red.

Needless to say, that puts even more pressure on Kelly and company to help turn things around in 2020. Things in Westwood haven’t been rosy in some time in the major revenue-producing sports and it seems it’s finally caught up to the folks in powder blue.