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First Look: Chick-fil-A Bowl

After being shutout in last year’s National Championship Game, LSU returns to Bowl Season this year with a highly anticipated showdown with Clemson.

The matchup, which forms this year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl, will feature the high-octane offense of Clemson going head-to-head with the bullying defense of LSU. This clash of Tigers is looking very juicy indeed.

The Essentials

Date: Mon., Dec. 31

Game time: 7:30 PM ET

Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

BCS Rankings: Clemson (No. 14), LSU (No. 8 )

Clemson – Record: 10-2, 7-1 ACC ATS: 8-4-0 Streak: Lose 1 Bowl Record: 16-18 (.471)

LSU – Record: 10-2, 6-2 SEC ATS: 5-7-0 Streak: Win 3 Bowl Record: 22-20-1 (.523)

Road to the Chick-fil-A Bowl: Clemson

Tahj Boyd had a record-breaking season as he led a two-loss Clemson side to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

The Clemson Tigers kick-started the season with a 26-19 win over the Auburn Tigers before anybody had any inkling the SEC side was going to have a disastrous season.

A pair of cupcake wins over Ball State and Furman did little but display how potent the Tigers’ offence could be, but a roadblock lay in wait around the corner.

In Week 4, Clemson faced its first ACC opponent of the year: Florida State. The Seminoles would hold on to home field advantage and eventually defeat the Tigers 49-37. The setback would ultimately cost Clemson a place in the ACC Championship Game, a potential ACC title, and a place in a BCS Bowl game.

Whilst Florida State would drop a shocker to North Carolina State two weeks later, the two sides finished the conference with an even 7-1 record. That head-to-head win gave the Seminoles the advantage.

Following the loss, Clemson ran off seven straight wins, all against conference opposition. In the process, the Tigers became the sixth-highest scoring team in the country with a passing offense rated 13th.

The Tigers’ final game of the season came against rivals South Carolina. The SEC team would get the better of Clemson on the day, running out 27-17 winners.

Whilst the school didn’t repeat 2011’s ACC championship win, it did finish with a superior record to the previous season.

Road to the Chick-fil-A Bowl: LSU

Marred by criticism for much of the season, Zach Mettenberg surprised everyone with an outstanding performance against Alabama.

Ordinarily, a 5-0 start to the season is accompanied by fanfare and belief. For the LSU Tigers though, that record came with a big fat asterisk next to it.

Despite compiling five wins, the Tigers were criticized for not putting points on the board and making labored work of teams that should have been dismissed early in games. A 12-10 victory over Auburn, a side that was in free fall, was the perfect example of this, while a 38-22 win over Towson was rather suspect.

Matters were compounded in Week 6 as LSU made the trip to Jacksonville to take on the Gators. Florida emerged from the encounter with a 14-6 victory, ruining what many had expected to be a battle of unbeaten sides between LSU and Alabama four weeks later.

With backs firmly against the wall, LSU rebounded with wins over South Carolina and Texas A&M before the showdown with Alabama finally came round.

The rematch of last season’s BCS Championship Game was something special. The Tigers looked to have sewn the game up before A.J. McCarron and the Crimson Tide pulled out a last minute victory drive. With two losses on the board, LSU fell from the championship conversation.

The Tigers would close out the season with three straight wins, and whilst a SEC West title was still possible, Alabama’s victory over Auburn on the last day of the season relegated LSU to second place in the division.


The Chick-fil-A Bowl showdown will mark only the third time these two schools have met on the football field. The previous two encounters also took place as part of Bowl Season.

The last meeting between the sides came on Dec. 28, 1996, in the Peach Bowl, the former incarnation of the Chick-fil-A Bowl. LSU defeated Clemson 10-7 in Atlanta.

You have to go all the way back to 1959 for the only other encounter between the schools. On New Year’s Day of that year LSU went to New Orleans and defeated Clemson 7-0 in the Sugar Bowl.

As such, LSU enjoys a 2-0 head-to-head advantage over Clemson heading into this year’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

LSU is 1-0 in Chick-fil-A Bowl games; that win coming over Georgia Tech in 2008. The Fighting Tigers were also 4-0 in the Peach Bowl, a record stretching from 1968 until the Bowl’s name change in 2006.

Clemson is 0-1 under the Chick-fil-A Bowl moniker, losing to Auburn in 2007. The school also registered a 2-4 record in the Peach Bowl dating back to 1979.

Opening Lines

Bookmakers opened with LSU as favorites. The spread opened at three points. The over/under opened at 57.

Stay tuned to BettingSports.com for more on the Chick-fil-A Bowl ahead of kickoff on Dec. 31.

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