No. 9 LSU will travel to Atlanta to face No. 14 Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31, appropriately summing up the Tigers’ tumultuous season.
Hours before the bowl matchups were officially announced, 247Sports’ Shea Dixon, before divulging the Tigers’ destination, tweeted, “Get the feeling #LSU fans are soon to get some news they don’t want to hear.” Sophomore punter Brad Wing confirmed the news and announced the pairing from his handle shortly after.
Optimistic speculation saw the Tigers (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) in the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, a familiar and favorable venue, but Georgia’s play in the SEC Championship Game secured the conference’s bid in the Capitol One Bowl. The Cotton Bowl took in-state Texas A&M and Heisman candidate Johnny Manziel, leaving LSU for the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
“We look forward to a great matchup and a competitive game in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against a very talented team from the ACC,” said LSU coach Les Miles, who said Wednesday that playing in the Chick-fil-A Bowl “would be fine,” in the school’s official news release.
Clemson (10-2, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) is No. 6 in the NCAA in points per game (42.3) due to the arm and feet of quarterback Tajh Boyd, who’s thrown for 3,550 yards with a 34-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The Tigers were eliminated from the ACC race with an early-season loss to Orange Bowl-bound Florida State, and lost their final game to South Carolina.
LSU has won in its last five Chick-fil-A Bowl appearances, most recently in a 38-3 trouncing of Georgia Tech in 2008.
“We enjoy playing in Atlanta,” Miles said. “It’s a great city that has been very good to LSU. I’m sure that we’ll travel extremely well.”
Reaction to a return trip by LSU fans was mixed. On Twitter, some decried the bid to what some call is a “lower-tier” bowl. Others, like former LSU running back Justin Vincent, embraced the matchup.
“LSU vs Clemson.. Death Valley vs Death Valley.. Tigers vs Tigers and all the Chick Fil A sandwiches you can handle. #Geez,” Vincent tweeted.
Current LSU players also seemed excited.
“Chick fila [sic] here we come!!!!! #LSU,” sophomore defensive tackle Anthony Johnson tweeted.