Image via NCAA website
NEW YORK—Are you ready for the college football season to end? Well, Monday night is your night. That’s the day of the much-anticipated championship game showdown between this season’s two college football heavyweights. The undefeated Tigers of LSU (14-0) take on the undefeated and defending champion Tigers of Clemson (14-0). It’s going to be a cat fight, no doubt, once the game gets started shortly after 8 p.m. (ET) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

LSU is the top-ranked team in the nation, but the Tigers are in the College Football Playoff series for the first time and ready to make their mark. Clemson is going for its second consecutive national title (these Tigers defeated Alabama a year ago) and third championship in the CFP era, fourth overall. That would be a fourth “Natty” as Clemson fans like to say.

(In Louisiana, the LSU football team is often affectionately cheered with the phrase “Geaux Tigahs” as a reflection of the French/Cajun character of South Louisiana, which is where LSU is in the city of Baton Rouge.)

After a long, rigorous schedule of games going back to late August (well, I’m told one of the teams had a rigorous schedule), these two teams finished as the Nos. 1 and 2 ranked teams. LSU is led by its Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Joe Burrow (or Joe Burreaux), while the Clemson team is led by its standout quarterback Trevor Lawrence (who has never lost a college football game) and star running back Travis Etienne (averaging about 8 yards per carry).

To gauge where the optical industry was lining up for the big game, we asked several readers to provide their perspective on the past season (and how their college team fared) and a little prediction for Monday night’s showdown.

Here's what I found out:

Bart Welch – ABOC
Director, Key Accounts – US & Caribbean   

Bart Welch with his dad, Bud Welch, on the field at a 2019 Clemson home game.
The crowd takes the field after a victory in 2019 at what is popularly known as Death Valley among the Clemson faithful. 

Starting the 2019 season as the National Champions and going undefeated since the win against Alabama [last] January made for another exciting college football season for Clemson fans. There were many naysayers this year who did not think Clemson was the real deal, but rather simply a flash in the pan based on our “strength of schedule.” As Clemson fans, we were able to drown out the grey noise and get down to business, taking each game as it came and going into this “NATTY” championship with a 29-0 record.

Coach Dabo Swinney continues to build a solid program, attract top recruits and not only makes them better athletes, but they become better men and learn the true definition of teamwork. Each player this year had the eye of the tiger and the heart of a warrior, knocking each team down as they came. Some games they had to dig deeper than others (UNC). Watching my Tigers take down Ohio State to make it to the main stage Monday, was like a NATTY in itself.

I look forward to seeing the CLEMSON Tigers (let’s not confuse which tiger ��) going down to NOLA to claim our 4th NATTY.

To quote Dabo Swinney, “It’s only unthinkable if you don’t think it.”

Looking forward to a great game.


Welch's Prediction for Monday: Clemson 38 – LSU 34

The team at ESO Laboratories turned out in the Purple and Gold ahead of Monday night’s title game.

Stewart Cage
ESO Laboratories
Bogalusa, La.

LSU, what a season! 14 and 0. Can’t remember when we have had such a great offense and defense combined. Led by quarterback Joe Burrow and coach Ed Orgeron it seems we just can’t be beat. As a former student and a big fan of LSU, for me the excitement that this football season has brought to the State of Louisiana and abroad is undeniable.

I can’t believe we pulled record-breaking Joe Burrow off the bench of Ohio State for him to become this year’s Heisman Trophy winner. I bet Ohio is wondering what the heck happened.

I have been to away games and I can honestly say I think we have the best fans and tailgaters out there. Death Valley (home of Clemson and its legion of fans) will be coming to the Super Dome Monday Night and it should be a great National Championship fight against the undefeated Clemson Tigers.

LSU should be victorious, but we certainly are not dismissing our opponent.

GEAUX TIGAHS. The LSU Tigers, that is!!!

Max and his dad, Eric Anderson, at Ohio State in Columbus.
Eric Anderson
Chief Executive Officer
AEG Vision

Another promising season goes quietly into the night at Michigan, which finished at 9-4 overall. We lost to Ohio State for the 10th time in a row (coach Jim Harbaugh is now 0-5 against the Buckeyes) and got smoked by Alabama in the Citrus Bowl.

As if that’s not bad enough—I went to Michigan, met my wife there, got married on campus and am a longtime Wolverine season ticket holder—but two of my kids are enrolled at Ohio State. So, now I get to pay lots of tuition to my arch-rival school—and have the added pleasure of visiting campus to be ridiculed …. Sigh.

Keith M. Cross
Optical Monomers and Coatings

Tony Rice, quarterback of the 1988 Notre Dame
National Championship team, with Keith Cross.

Well, the season ended for the Fighting Irish on a high note—with a bowl victory over Iowa State! Overall a fun season—losses to Georgia and Michigan were tough—especially since my boss is a Michigan man!
However, as [former coach] Ara Parseghian used to say before every season: “We have one goal and one goal only—undefeated National Champions.” So, anything other than that is tough.

But recruiting has been strong, and the Irish return a good group of players, including quarterback Ian Book—so I am already looking forward to next year and another chance to try to win it all.

With that, I am excited for the National Championship game. With LSU playing Clemson, you couldn’t ask for two better QB stories, and you get two powerhouse programs.

I love the Joe Burrow story—the quarterback who left Ohio State for a new start in LSU and then he does everything you could ask for by going undefeated and winning the Heisman Trophy. Now he gets a chance to play Clemson and a sophomore QB, Trevor Lawrence, who hasn’t lost a game in two years! Should be a fun game to be a college football fan.

Although I really like the Clemson team, I think this is the year of the Tigers!

Jonathan Misch
Jonathan Mish
Chief Information Officer
ABB Optical Group

Root, root for the Florida Gators. We were happy with the outcome of their 2019 season, as the Gators now seem to be on the right track [again]. The defense played great and we have found a QB who knows how to win football games! The 2020 season should see us competing for a Southeastern Conference (SEC) title and finding a way into the BCS college football playoffs.

Mish's Prediction for Monday: LSU 38 – Clemson 31. (An SEC team with an offense as good as LSU’s is flat out scary.)

Michael Cymbor, OD, FAAO
Nittany Eye Associates
State College, Pa.

A proud dad Michael Cymbor and his daughter, Avery, show their support for Clemson.
Penn State came out of the gate fast with a 4-0 start while rising to a No. 10 ranking. The highlight of the year may have been the “White Out” win vs Michigan in mid-October. We had ESPN Game Day in town and the whole atmosphere was electric. We rose as high as No. 4 before losing a close road game to Minnesota.

We also lost a tough game to Ohio State. While we had aspirations of going to the Rose Bowl, we ended up finishing strong with a 53-39 win over Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. The Nittany Lions finished with an 11-2 record and a Top 10 ranking. The future looks bright with projected improvement in both the offense and defense in 2020. We Are…Penn State.

Note that as big of a fan as I am of the Penn State Nittany Lions, since my daughter Avery became a Clemson Tiger (she is now a junior), I have become a huge Clemson fan. I have attended at least one home game at “Death Valley” every fall. But the highlight of my Clemson fandom was when Avery and I attended the 44-16 win over Alabama in the 2019 National Championship. This year’s game vs Ohio State [in the semifinals] was amazing, too. While beating LSU seems like a daunting task, I know Dabo will have the boys ready to play on Monday. Go Tigers!

James DeMatteis with family.
James DeMatteis
Director of Digital Advertising
Jobson Optical

“It’s a great day to be a Tiger!” Coach Dabo Swinney’s words definitely ring true. We are definitely living in the golden age of Clemson Football and I am enjoying every minute of it. The 2020 season as defending National Champions has been a weird one as a Tiger fan: save for one heart-stopping, head-scratching game in September versus North Carolina where our dreams of repeating almost came to a screeching halt, the rest of the season has made me feel like in a holding pattern of sorts waiting for the stiffer competition that the playoffs would bring.

Ohio State certainly brought that competition, and if Clemson gets off to a bad start versus LSU on Monday night like it did versus OSU, I do not believe they will be able to recover. Having said that, I'm still #AllIn and believe with everything I have that Clemson is the most talented and best-coached team in the nation. Brent Venables’ defense will be the key to this game and at the end the Clemson Tigers will emerge victorious in a close one.

DeMatteis' Prediction for Monday: Clemson 33 – LSU 23