Burrow vs. Lawrence: Who would you rather have?
And then there were two. Two teams. Two quarterbacks.
The stage is set for what should be a blockbuster National Championship on Jan. 13 in New Orleans. LSU vs. Clemson. Tigers vs. Tigers. Joe Burrow vs. Trevor Lawrence. The projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft vs. the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
All other things being equal, which QB would you rather have on your roster for the College Football Playoff final? The answer may not be as obvious as the overall statistics and the Heisman Trophy voting suggest.
Joe Burrow, LSU
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why Burrow won the Heisman Trophy by a record margin. In the first 13 games (regular season plus the SEC Championship) he threw for 4,715 yards with 48 touchdowns and six interceptions to go along with 289 rushing yards and three additional scores. The former Ohio State Buckeye completed 77.9 percent of his passes during that stretch.
More of the same—in fact, improvement even—took place in the College Football Playoff semifinals against Oklahoma. It was a laugher of a Peach Bowl dominated by the Tigers 63-28, with Burrow torching the Sooners to the tune of 493 yards and seven TDs on 29-of-39 passing. He also kept it five times for 21 yards and a touchdown.
The 23-year-old has quite simply been unstoppable. Although Burrow does have plenty of experience, perhaps the only knock on him is that he has never played for the national title.
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
There is a reason why Clemson is a +5.5 underdog in the final (check out our free college football expert picks). Everything has to do with just how impressive LSU has been; none of it relates to any kind of shortcomings in Lawrence and the rest of the orange Tigers.
Lawrence was never in the Heisman discussion only because of a slow start, with 14 touchdowns and an alarming eight interceptions through the first seven games—one of which saw Clemson barely scrape past North Carolina 21-20. Since then, however, both quarterback and team have been on fire. Over the past seven contests, Lawrence has tossed 22 scoring strikes without getting picked off a single time.
Most importantly, the Cartersville, Ga. native thrives on the big stage. In three career CFP performances he has thrown for 933 yards, eight TDs, and zero INTs. Lawrence, who led the Tigers to the national title last season, also rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown during their Fiesta Bowl comeback against Ohio State.
The bottom line is that neither signal-caller has any form of weakness. Game on.