NEW ORLEANS (WIS) - Playing for a national championship could be all the reason an athlete needs to get fired for a game like the one LSU and Clemson will play on Monday in the Superdome.
However, both of these teams aren’t just playing for a national title. They’re playing for the chance to make a mark in their respective program’s history.
For LSU, being in New Orleans turns this national championship into a home game. Playing this close to home has only happened one other time for a team. Georgia took on Alabama in the 2014 national title game. However, this is different. LSU has conjured up the magic to win a national title in the Superdome, which is practically in their backyard, a few times before. The last time LSU won a national title, Les Miles led the Tigers to a 38-24 win over Ohio State in 2007. Being able to do it on Monday makes the moment that much sweeter for Ed Orgeron and his players.
“There's a lot of things you can look at this game for motivation and the only motivation we've used is to finish strong and focus on winning the game,” said Orgeron. “But those external motivations are there. These guys have always wanted to play in the Dome. Grant (Delpit) is from New Orleans. His family was displaced from Katrina. All his family will be there. It will mean more to our guys that we're playing here in New Orleans for the championship, no question.”
For Clemson, being able to win a second-straight national title has been the clear motivating factor this season. However, having the chance to be 30-0 certainly adds fuel to that fire for the defending champs.
Sure, there are other teams that have won back-to-back titles and won 30 straight games, but Dabo Swinney sees no need to put that information in front of his players.
“Well, I mean, this is 2020. I don't have to give them anything,” Swinney said. “They just get woken up in the middle of the night with breaking alerts. I mean, the information is overloaded into their world today. So I don't have to give them anything. They see it. They hear it. It's a constant. They know.”
If Clemson is, in fact, able to win Monday’s game, the win would put them in the company of some of college football’s best programs in recent history. Clemson is shooting for its third national title in four years. Alabama was the last team to accomplish that feat by winning titles in 2009, 2011, and 2012.
Clemson takes on LSU at 8 p.m. Monday for the College Football Playoff National Championship. The game can be seen on ESPN.