College Football Playoff National Championship

LSU vs Clemson CFP National Championship Game: Good, Bad and Ugly

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These two teams were the ones left standing at the end of the college football season. This was like a preview of the Wilder-Fury 2 fight. Two heavyweights going at it for the right to call themselves the national champion. Here are my observations:

The Good

-LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy for a reason. He turned in a 521-yard and six touchdown performance in order to complete the mission. This was his lowest completion percentage (63.3%) this year, but it's to be expected against his best competition. He made a statement game and staked his claim to having one of the best seasons in college football history.

-Clyde Edwards-Helaire turned in a 21 touch for 164 yard performance. He didn't score for LSU, but his presence made a huge difference. Averaging 6.9 yards per carry and 10.8 per catch out the backfield provided just enough of a weapon LSU to give their passing attack what they needed in order to do what they did to carve up the Clemson defense.

-Defense was the name of the game. Despite the amount of points scored (67) and yards gained (1,022), all of them were hard-fought. There are times when we as fans must recognize when good offense beats good defense. Both defenses gave both offenses all they could handle. Holding Clemson to just under 400 yards helped LSU win and complete the mission.

The Bad

-LSU got called for two penalties early on that hurt them on both sides of the ball. The first was an offsides on defense in which Trevor Lawrence hit Justyn Ross for a 35-yard gain on the free play. The next was an illegal man down field on offense when a lineman must've thought Burrow was going to scramble after feeling pressure, but he hit a Thaddeus Moss for a 38-yard gain and got called back. Both led to them being pinned deep in their own territory.

-Trevor Lawrence completed less than 50% of his passes. His 18/37 for 234 yard performance led to his first loss since he took over the starting duties for Clemson. If you want to get technical, this was his first loss since high school in 2017. Despite being the better pro prospect, Lawrence was out-performed by Burrow.

-Travis Etienne was held to 78 yards rushing on 15 carries. Take out his long of 29, and he rushed for only 3.5 yards per carry. He was the guy I looked at when I though of how Clemson could beat LSU. They needed Etienne and the run game to come through, and it didn't happen.

The Ugly

-Blatant pass interference call missed by refs at the 7:15 mark in the 3rd quarter. Derion Kendrick grabbed Ja'Marr Chase and pulled him down on a pass that appeared to be catchable, but the refs didn't see it as a catchable ball so they didn't throw the flag. I always thought when a defensive back grabbed a receiver while the ball was in air it was a penalty. Starting to think the pass interference rule has gone the way of the catch rule.

-There were a combined 18 accepted penalties for 183 yards between the two teams. In the biggest game of the year between the two best teams in college football, we saw some sloppy play. Granted, it was a bit over two weeks since they last played, but this was not what I expected from the best two teams in the country.

-When looking at the game and figuring out how LSU was able to take control and win, one key stat popped out: Clemson was 1 for 11 on 3rd down conversions. They were 46.5% on the season converting 3rd downs, but were held to only one in the biggest game of the year. Converting 3rd downs means moving the chains and ball control, which usually translates to wins. This was possibly one of the main reasons why Clemson lost.

What a game. I'm a Louisiana native an admitted LSU fan. I'm also a sports nerd who loves college football. When I say this was a great cake topper to the beautiful dessert college football has been to us this season, I mean that. LSU and Burrow have made their case for one of the best seasons by a team and player ever. Clemson was the perfect opponent. They were the defending champs on a 29-game win streak seeking their third title in four years led by a guy who's been hyped to be one of the best quarterback prospects in recent memory. However, they were beat by a team that had a mission in mind and weren't going to be stopped. So let the debate begin on where LSU and Burrow stand in the all time rankings. They have earned their spot in that argument and then some.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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