Tigers prepping for national championship to be a road game
Though the College Football Playoff is played in neutral settings, Clemson’s run in this year’s CFP has felt nothing like neutral environments.
In fact, for these Tigers, the CFP feels more like road games than anything else. In the Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State, who has a large alumni base in the Phoenix area, took over State Farm Stadium and outnumbered the Clemson contingent by more than a 3-1 ratio.
Now, as the Tigers get set to play LSU on Monday night, Clemson has approached the national championship as if it will be another road game. With New Orleans just an hour from Baton Rouge and LSU alumni and its fans scattered all throughout the city, the Tigers know they are not playing in a neutral site. This will be another road game.
“It is going to be crazy,” Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “It is going to be really loud when we are on offense. It will be similar to that in Arizona when we played Ohio State. We will prepare as if it is a road game, just as far as communication and all of that stuff just because it is going to be really loud. If we can win this game against LSU, then there is going to be no doubt.”
Clemson has enjoyed playing on the road as much as it has at home. The Tigers are in fact 15-0 away from Death Valley during their 29-game winning streak and has won 12-straight true road games, though the national championship will be officially classified as playing in a neutral site venue.
Clemson did sell it its entire allotment of 20,000 tickets and officials are hoping somewhere between 25,000 to 30,000 Clemson fans will be in attendance in the nearly 75,000 seat Superdome. However, the other 45,000 to 50,000 will be wearing purple and gold.
“I don’t want it any other way,” linebacker Isaiah Simmons said. “I feel like that is a completely bigger challenge than what it was already going to be. I love the adversity. I know they are going to pack the house out. It is going to be Clemson against the world. It seems like that is what it has been all year, so it is going to be very fun.”
Across the country, LSU is the feel-good story with the emergence of Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and head coach Ed Orgeron’s story. Clemson is the defending national champions. It has won 29 straight games. It is going for history as it tries to become the first back-to-back national champion to complete perfect 15-0 seasons.
Clemson, who has won two of the last three national championships, is the establishment, so most of America will likely be pulling for LSU.
“For any competitor that is motivation,” running back Travis Etienne said. “You can go to someone else’s home and get the victory. This is what you play the game for. You want to walk out there with your backs against the wall. It is a different challenge in and of itself and I really think as competitors we all kind of long for that.”
Clemson is going back to the national championship game after once again winning the Fiesta Bowl over Ohio State. Get your official national championship and Fiesta Bowl champs gear right here!