At low points in the last couple of weeks, I’ve steeled myself for a loss on Monday. Not that I want it. No, the thought of it makes me want to jump off the Crescent City Connection after the game. But my brain tells me to be ready for the worst.
So. Here’s the worst:
1. This is the best team LSU has played all season. Our Tigers need another “best game” after 14 of them. That’s hard.
It feels like we’ve been defying math, both in offense and wins, all season. We can’t stop our brains from going here. Much like anything good in life once you get past, oh, 25, we worry: When is it all crashing down? Now would be the worst time, but that also feels fitting in a weird way. Please put my brain into a wood-chipper and turn it on high.
2. The Superdome adds more pressure.
BAD THINGS HAVE HAPPENED HERE BEFORE, BOTH TO THE SAINTS AND LSU. MOVE ON BEFORE THE PTSD SETS IN. I SAT FOUR ROWS UP IN JANUARY 2012 AND OUR THERAPIST WOULD LIKE US TO STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.
3. Brent Venables will perform some Frankenstein shit on us.
This is the prevailing point that’s most logical. Clemson’s defensive coordinator is very good at his job. What if he figures out what everyone else couldn’t? Have you started freaking out yet? Welcome. It’s cold in here, but at least there are others who share the pain.
4. Joe finally has a bad game.
Much like the math wizardry, what if Joe regresses? Even just for a quarter? Every game this year, we’ve prepared for the “bad” game. It’s never come. What about now? WHAT IF? Pass the whiskey, please. I’m starting to hyperventilate.
5. Isaiah Simmons clamps Clyde and we fall apart.
Did I mention that Clemson is really good? Simmons is maybe their best player. And while we didn’t need Clyde for the Peach Bowl, we certainly need him Monday. Clyde has been so, so effective matching up against slow linebackers in coverage and performing last rites on them.
Isaiah Simmons isn’t that dude. He can cover Clyde in the open field. We imagine Clemson dropping back in coverage, rushing three, covering all the wide receivers, Joe waiting on Clyde to leak out of the backfield and getting sacked repeatedly when Clyde can’t get open. Yay.
6. Trevor Lawrence: also really good!
He was supposed to have Burrow’s season before Burrow did. The wunderkind with flowing locks has been excellent since an early season swoon. Can you imagine the horror of someone doing to us what we’ve watched Joe do to other defenses all year?
7. Clemson wins the red-zone battle.
Remember how damn frustrating the Auburn game was? The offense was making mulch out of the vaunted Auburn defense and yet, they couldn’t score in the red zone. Auburn and that little twerp Bo Nix somehow stuck around, even though Nix looked like a nine-year-old running for his life all day. Field goals suck. Clemson could make us kick field goals. Barf.
8. The dreaded Travis Etienne narrative wins out.
DID YOU KNOW TRAVIS ETIENNE IS FROM LOUISIANA? DID YOU? LSU DIDN’T RECRUIT HIM MAYBE YOU’VE HEARD AFTER EVERY TIME HE RACES 70-PLUS YARDS FOR A TOUCHDOWN [gunshot to the head].
Etienne is really, really good. And yes, Les Miles really, really messed up in letting him leave. But here we are. If Etienne can break a few long ones against a defense that has been susceptible to big plays at times this year, Yikes City.
9. Clemson’s mutant WRs win the one-on-one match-ups. Again.
I watched with glee last year as Clemson’s baby terminators sacrificed Alabama’s corners over and over again in man coverage. Those terminators? Turns out they still play for Clemson.
Kristian Fulton and Derek Stingley Jr. will have their hardest test since having to cover Alabama’s wideouts earlier this year. That wasn’t fun. I assume LSU will play a lot of man, too, so every time Lawrence throws the ball up, I’ll bury my head in my shirt and wait for it all to be over.
Editor’s note: This was done in conjunction with the lovely newsletter, FrontRunner, you should all subscribe to.