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Why the National Championship is a Battle of Chicken Sandwiches

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The greatest debate of 2019 has led us to this College Football Playoff final.

USA Today

We live in a fractured and fragmented society locked in constant feuding over the issues of our time.

And if you’ve spent any time on a social media platform in the last year, you know that one debate taken over our country. Pitted brother against brother. Husband against wife.

The Chicken Sandwich Debate: Popeyes versus Chick Fil-A.

Not only has the entire year built to this, but it perfectly sums up the LSU-Clemson match-up.

In 2019, Popeyes added a fried chicken sandwich to its menu. It became a national sensation, shattering sales records and creating a mass rush of people that overwhelmed stores and depleted inventory. To the point that Popeyes literally had to pull the plug on the sandwich and relaunch it with a new focus and strategic plan, complete with new hires and an increased marketing campaign. Reports suggest the sandwich generated some $65 million in new revenue for the company.

In 2019, LSU added a new offense. It became a national sensation, shattering program records and creating a mass rush of awards that have overwhelmed Tiger fans. It brought in a Heisman Trophy for Joe Burrow and turned him into a first-round draft pick, and has carried LSU to yet another national championship game appearance.

Yes, LSU is the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich.

And while the state of South Carolina has its own provincial fried chicken & biscuits place — Bojangles — the Clemson program is most certainly a Chick Fil-A place. Both organizations traffic in strong religious overtones, and have become known for pretty steady consistency. Clemson is playing for a national title for the fourth time in the last five years, with five consecutive appearances in the playoffs overall. And if you live in almost any decent-sized Southern town, you know that your local Chick Fil-A stays crowded but also consistently feeds a crowd quickly and with excellent customer service.

Not convinced?

LSU football is known for chaos. The product is great but the delivery method? Often questionable! There have been time-related issues! Earthquakes! The service is not always particularly polite!

Chick Fil-A added a macaroni-and-cheese side and maintains a clean, safe play-place for young children! Clemson’s football complex has a slide!

The Popeyes Chicken Sandwich isn’t meant to look beautiful. Sure it might, but that’s mostly because you’ve acquired the taste. From the outside it looks like a standard chicken sandwich. It’s not until you bite into it that you realize it’s beauty.

Joe Burrow was not a highly-projected NFL Draft pick before the season. Scouts couldn’t determine what his strength was, and he appeared to simply be a standard quarterback. Fourteen games later, Burrow is the king of the college football world. Like the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, nothing jumps out at you when you look at him. He doesn’t have a cannon for an arm, he doesn’t have a towering frame, and he doesn’t appear to be particularly fast or elusive. But once the ball is in his hands and he is running the show, he becomes a wizard at the position. He’s better than anything we’ve ever seen before. Burrow, like Popeyes, proves the sum is greater than the whole of its parts.

Chick-Fil-A has a very calculated image. It is shiny and clean. Pristine and neat. Relaxing and safe. When you walk into a Chick-Fil-A, you are supposed to immediately recognize the intense care that goes into making you dining experience as friendly and comfortable as possible.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Trevor Lawrence’s hair is clean, shiny and smooth. Lawrence puts a ton of work into making sure his hair is at its best for all to see and enjoy. Both he and Chick-Fil-A strive to make strong initial impressions and leave an impression that they are clean and comforting.

Furthermore, where will this issue be settled? New Orleans. Where Popeyes got started (okay, technically Chalmette, but close enough) and where it still remains fried chicken king.

It feels like destiny.