By Ed Daniels, Clarion Herald Sports
When Ed Orgeron was recruiting a graduate transfer quarterback from Ohio State, an LSU source said the school would win a competition with the University of Cincinnati.
“Joe Burrow said he wants to come here and win a national championship,” said the source.
Fast forward to a Saturday night in Austin, Texas. With LSU clinging to a 37-31 lead over Texas – and the Tiger defense hanging on for dear life – Burrow bought some time in the pocket and found Justin Jefferson for a 61-yard touchdown pass on third-and-17.
ABC analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback, wondered if LSU would run the football, forcing Texas to use its final timeout.
Instead, the narrative on LSU football had undergone a sea change.
“This is Joe Burrow, and this is 2019,” said Herbstreit. “They are here to play for a championship.”
LSU football, welcome to the 21st-century world of college football, a world where it is all about offense and the quarterback.
In the college football polls this week, the top six teams were quarterbacked by the following: Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagavailoa, Jake Fromm, Joe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields. If you are a college fan, there’s no need to tell you which teams each quarterback represents.
Clemson has toppled Alabama as the nation’s top program because its previous quarterback, Deshaun Watson, was a first-round pick, and their current quarterback, Lawrence, will be the first pick in the draft.
The Miami Dolphins have been accused of trying to tank this season just to have the chance to select Tua with the first pick in the 2020 draft.
Fromm is such a talent at Georgia that his ascension forced two other very good quarterbacks to transfer. Justin Fields went to Ohio State, and Jacob Eason left for the University of Washington.
Hurts, who lost his starting job last season at Alabama, left for Oklahoma, where he is one of the early clubhouse leaders for the Heisman Trophy.
In the lopsided Alabama-LSU series, the Tigers haven’t claimed a victory since 2011. In those eight losses, LSU has been shut out three times and have failed to score more than 17 points.
Since Orgeron has coached LSU, the Tigers have scored a total of 10 points in three losses. Alabama gets it. The team with the best players usually wins.
And, in the past, Nick Saban out-recruited LSU badly, especially at the quarterback position.
So, after Burrow threw his fourth touchdown pass of the night at Texas, Herbstreit said the following of LSU: “This is a dangerous team in the SEC this year.”
For LSU fans, Saturday night was almost an out-of-body experience. The LSU offense scored 45 points on the road against a Top 10 team.
The most offensively challenged fan base in college football finally gets an offense it deserves.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.