Clemson enters with a prolific offense. The 14th ranked Tigers from South Carolina are sixth in the country in total offense and ninth in scoring.
LSU, last year's national runner-up, brings a salty defense to the table. The eighth ranked Tigers from Louisiana are eighth in the country in total defense, ninth in pass efficiency defense and ninth rushing defense.
"I truly believe this is a BCS bowl game here…this is as good a matchup as there is out there. I really believe that," said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney
, whose team finished 10-2 this season [7-1 ACC].
During Monday's bowl teleconference, Swinney offered plenty of praise for LSU [10-2, 6-2 SEC] head coach Les Miles
and the job he's done since taking the job in Baton Rouge in 2005.
"Coach Miles is a guy I have a lot of respect for, he's done it right," Swinney said. "He's proven to be one of the best coaches in the country, one of the most consistent coaches and programs in the country."
Over the years, the calling card for LSU has been its play on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers from Louisiana had four defensive players drafted to the NFL last year, including first-round picks Michael Brockers and Morris Claiborne.
LSU, potentially, has at least three more first-round selections on this season's defense. Defensive ends Sam Montgomery
and Barkevious Mingo
and All-American free safety Eric Reid
could all be first-round picks in the 2013 draft.
"This defense is built for championships," Swinney said. "That's the bottom line. That's how they've recruited. That's how they've developed their depth. It's just an outstanding group.
"That front four will be as good as anybody we've seen."
Miles was just as complimentary when evaluating Tajh Boyd
and the rest of the Clemson offense.
"He's as talented a quarterback prospect as we've faced this season," Miles said. "He has the ability to extend plays with his feet and then gain ground with his feet, a very talented quarterback.
"The offense really speaks for him. It does the things that he does well and gets the most out of talent, and his talent is very capable. I see Tajh Boyd as being someone we're going to have to consider when we got to game planning, exactly how to contain him."
The New Year's Eve Chick-fil-A Bowl showdown between Clemson and LSU doesn't have a BCS tag, but it certainly has the ingredients.
The New Year's Eve Chick-fil-A Bowl showdown between Clemson and LSU doesn't have a BCS tag, but...