Clemson fans travel in droves no matter where their Tigers play. But many national analysts believe the Superdome will be an overwhelmingly LSU-leaning crowd for Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game.
Third-ranked Clemson enters the game after knocking off No. 2 Ohio State 29-23 in a thriller in front of a roughly 80-percent Buckeye crowd in the Fiesta Bowl. Now they travel to New Orleans to challenge No. 1 LSU in its home state of Louisiana.
Vivid Seats, a website that projects fan distribution for major sporting events, currently projects a 62- to 38-percent LSU lean in the seats. They base the “crowd forecast” on the medium used to purchase the tickets and the location of the ticket buyer.
Clemson players told members of the media at its national championship media day Monday they expect a hostile environment in support of the opposition. James Skalski told reporters the crowd will be largely in favor of the Bayou Bengals.
“It’s going to be heavy LSU, I don’t think there is going to be a lot of orange there,” Skalski said.
However, people may be surprised to see as many Clemson fans in the Superdome on Monday night as they will. A quick listen to the national talk shows would convince anybody the crowd would be like a home game in Tiger Stadium for LSU, but that will not be the case.
Even though the environment will favor LSU, Skalski knows Clemson is prepared for the environment.
“Once you’re out there you don’t really hear anything, and on defense I definitely don’t hear anything because it’s quiet,” Skalski continued. “None of that matters from the outside and it never has. The only thing that matters is what happens on the field.”
Regardless of noise or energy at kickoff Monday night, the better team will prevail in the national championship game. Fan support matters, but big games are decided between the lines.
“How you play and beating a team straight up is how it has always been,” Skalski said.
Clemson kicks off against undefeated LSU at 8 p.m. ET as it attempts to win its 30th straight game and repeat as CFP national champions.
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