Regarding college football showdowns, it truly doesn’t get much better than this. Not only will two of the best teams in the country be going at it when the Louisville Cardinals and Clemson Tigers take the field against one another, but two of the best quarterbacks will be going head-to-head as well.
Let’s set the stage.
Louisville enters this contest by being ranked as high as No. 3 in the polls while Clemson enters by being ranked as high as — you guessed it — No. 3 in the polls. While Deshaun Watson was a serious Heisman contender last season and even led the Tigers to the national championship game, it’s Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson who is getting all of the attention this season, but more from both quarterbacks later.
If both teams come ready to play — well, on the offensive side of the ball, that is — we could be in store for a major shootout. One must remember that the Cardinals already knocked off the Florida State Seminoles, a team that was ranked No. 2 at the time, by the score of 63-20. Clemson’s best win arguably came in the first game of the 2016 college football season when the team took down the Auburn Tigers.
Nonetheless, both squads are 4-0 entering this battle, both teams are serious College Football Playoff contenders, and the headlines are literally running wild entering this one. Before the ultimate madness takes place on Saturday, make sure to get your fix of bold predictions.
Deshaun Watson Will — Drumroll, Please — Outduel Lamar Jackson
It would be so easy to say Lamar Jackson will outduel Deshaun Watson. After all, there hasn’t been a better play in 2016 than Jackson. If any fans disagree with that, then they should probably check out his stats, because they literally can do all of the talking: 1,330 passing yards, 13 passing touchdowns, 526 rushing yards, and 12 rushing touchdowns. He is currently the Heisman leader — just for the record.
Now, let’s let Twitter do some talking for the quarterback.
Clearly, Jackson has had an otherworldly season so far, but now it’s time to make Watson’s case.
Watson might only have 996 passing yards, nine passing touchdowns, and 120 rushing yards, but folks can’t forget the season he had last year. The Heisman finalist racked up 4,104 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns, 1,105 rushing yards, and 12 rushing touchdowns. Not to mention, and perhaps most impressive, he put up monster numbers against the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide in the title game (478 total yards and four touchdowns).
Watson is still one of the most talented players in the country, and although Jackson will surely get his stats, Watson will outperform him.
Wayne Gallman Is The X-Factor
If the Tigers plan on winning this game, then their biggest stars need to step up, one of them being Wayne Gallman. Gallman has 256 rushing yards in 2016, and he is just one year removed from a season in which he racked up 1,527 yards in the rushing department. The running machine had 123 rushing yards and a score against Auburn, and fans can expect a similar performance out of him against Louisville.
Clemson Takes Over The ACC With The Big-Time Victory
The Cardinals might be making some serious noise in 2016 (thanks to Jackson, of course), but it is Clemson who won the ACC in 2015, and it is Clemson who also made the College Football Playoff and championship game last season — you might have heard.
The Tigers have yet to lose a game this season. It also doesn’t hurt that they get this showdown at home. As they say, if Louisville wants to be the best, then it has to beat the best. Until proven otherwise, the Tigers are still the best team in the ACC.
With that in mind, if Watson & Co. can’t return to their dominant ways on the offensive side of the ball, this game could be over at halftime, which is basically how the Cardinals have gone about their business in 2016. After all, Louisville did have a halftime lead of 35-10 against the Seminoles.
Clemson will take over the ACC once again with a big-time victory against the nation’s most exciting player. That doesn’t mean this one won’t be a thriller, though.
[Featured Image by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images]