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Will Delay Impact Clemson, LSU in College Football Playoff Championship Game?

The last time either LSU or Clemson played football it was 16 days ago, and both teams were getting anxious waiting for Monday’s College Football National Championship game at the Superdome in New Orleans. It’s the longest layoff in the CFP’s six-year history, and both players and coaches desperately want to get on the football field.

The Clemson players got to the National Championship game, after beating Ohio State, but needed the rest before Monday’s championship game at the Superdome in New Orleans. (Image: Greenville News)

While the players haven’t been active, the line for the game definitely has been. When the line opened on Dec. 29, LSU was a 4.5-point favorite at several sportsbooks. The sharps hit it immediately, and drove it up to five, and in some cases 5.5. It went up to six on Tuesday at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook and the Mirage in Las Vegas. Those backing Clemson took those odds, and the line was adjusted once again to 5.5.

It’s been entertaining for gamblers to play with the line movements, but those preparing for the game are itching to get on the field. Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmon told reporters on Saturday that he and his teammates are ready to play.

“It’s good for preparation, but I’m like so antsy to play,” Simmons said. “I hate just sitting around waiting to play, but the time’s here now. I wouldn’t really say I like that extra time, honestly.”

Long Layoff Favors Clemson

LSU had a much easier route to the College Football National Championship game than did Clemson. The Tigers clobbered Oklahoma, 63-28, at the Peach Bowl while Clemson had a much more difficult time in the Fiesata Bowl, where they beat Ohio State, 29-23.

It was a physical game that left several Clemson players dinged up. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence told reporters on Saturday that the layoff definitely was welcomed.

“I think we needed it,” Lawrence said. “We played a tough four-quarter game down to the wire. A lot of guys played the whole game.  I think we needed the extra week, but it does make it kind of more challenging as far as school goes.”

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said on Monday that his team is now 100 percent. Swinney also said playing Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl gave the Tigers an advantage.

“I think it gives us a lot of confidence,” Swinney said. “We didn’t go into the game spotting them 16. But to be able to go on a 29-7 run in the biggest of stages against an elite football team, that was a great team. I mean, really, really good, by far the best Ohio State team we’ve played.”

CFP is a Hometown Game for LSU — Almost

If LSU has an advantage in Monday’s CFP National Championship game, it’s the fact that they’re playing at the Superdome in New Orleans — just an hour’s drive from their Baton Rouge campus.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron told reporters on Monday how big of an advantage he believed playing at the Superdome will be.

“It’s very special. It’s very special for us to drive down the interstate yesterday with a great motorcade,” Orgeron said. “I know our players were looking forward to that. Ever since we knew the National Championship was going to be in New Orleans, it was a goal of ours to earn the right to be here, and now we’re here and we’ve got to do something about it.”