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LAROSE, La. (AP) — Cajun pride is surging in the south Louisiana communities where LSU coach Ed Orgeron grew up along the bayou Lafourche. Top-ranked LSU is looking to close out arguably the greatest season in program history with a victory over No. 3 Clemson on Monday night in the College Football Playoff championship in New Orleans. Orgeron won a state high championship at South Lafourche High School. His mother Cornelia “Coco” Orgeron still lives on the property where he was raised. Childhood friends say Orgeron has remained true to his heritage and is virtually the same person they knew growing up.

KENNER, La. (AP) — LSU and Clemson have arrived in New Orleans and the College Football Playoff championship countdown has truly begun. It's been almost two weeks since No. 1 LSU and No. 3 Clemson won their semifinals games to set up the matchup for the national title game. Clemson arrived Friday after a short weather delay in two jumbo jets at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. There were two orange Clemson flags held up alongside the airline's exit door. The coaches and players walked onto an orange carpet and were greeted by a New Orleans style brass band.

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State coach Mike Leach says the opportunity to coach in a talent-rich area helped persuade him to leave Washington State for the chance to test himself in the Southeastern Conference. Leach agreed to a four-year contract that will pay him $5 million annually in base compensation. He spoke Friday to a standing-room-only crowd that filled the Seal Complex on Mississippi State's campus. Mississippi State President Mark Keenum gave Leach a taste of the Bulldogs’ football tradition by providing the new coach with his own cowbell.

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