KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The trash-talking isn't at an all-time high this week among the Kansas City Chiefs who formerly played at Clemson or LSU over Monday night's NCAA national championship game. That's because the Chiefs have work to do in preparing for Sunday's divisional NFL playoff game against the Houston Texans, but also because they're expecting Clemson-LSU to be a close game.
"I'm not talking too much because [LSU is] a great team," said backup linebacker Dorian O'Daniel, who went to the College Football Playoffs with Clemson teams three times. "I respect them. It's going to be a good game. It's not going to be a walk in the park. I've been confidently quiet. Put it that way."
Other members of the Chiefs are less reserved. Safety Tyrann Mathieu has been outspoken on Twitter about LSU all season. This tweet after an LSU touchdown during the Tigers' semifinal rout of Oklahoma is an example.
Man. This a breeze— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) December 28, 2019
"Some years, you can just feel it," Mathieu said. "I feel like this is our year. I'm really proud of those guys, especially the seniors. Those guys weren't necessarily good a few years ago, and to believe in themselves enough to get themselves to this point is truly a great reflection of the LSU program and coach [Ed Orgeron].
"Joe Burrow, huh? That boy can throw that ball. So they're going to be all right Monday night."
Overall, the Chiefs have seven combined players from the two schools competing for the title on Monday night. The list of Chiefs from LSU includes Mathieu, cornerback Mo Claiborne, running backs Spencer Ware and Darrel Williams; and from Clemson, it's O'Daniel, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Bashaud Breeland.
"[Clemson will] win because they've been in these situations numerous times and we've got the best coach in college football and the dynasty right now ... it's just that they continue to win," Watkins said. "There's no doubt, but I think LSU is definitely, probably, one of the best teams we've ever played. We've definitely got to be on point, but I think we'll definitely edge them out and get a win."
O'Daniel said, "Why do I know Clemson is going to win? I know Clemson is going to win because we expect to win. It's not [about] who we play. It's [about] how we play. It's a standard that we play to every game, and we don't change it. We've been doubted the whole season the past couple of years. We understand that, and we embrace it. We don't look at it as much as a challenge as an opportunity to show the world what kind of program we are."
O'Daniel played on one national championship team at Clemson, one that lost in the title game and another that lost in the semifinals.
"I know how they both feel," he said. "Losing feels worse than winning felt good."