It may sound almost unorthodox to throw LSU in the conversation for the best team in college football history, but the Tigers certainly left their mark on the college football world during the 2019 season. It may take years to truly realize just how special a season those in Baton Rouge experienced this past season, but the record books and accomplishments along the way will be tough to beat.
As far as individual accomplishments go, LSU players rewrote the school record book, the SEC record book, and etched their places in the NCAA record books. It started with Joe Burrow turning in a truly historic season. Burrow ran away with the Heisman Trophy and a handful of other college football awards. And that was before Burrow set a new NCAA record for most touchdowns thrown in a single season (60) with his five-touchdown performance in the national championship game against the defending national champion Clemson Tigers, who a year ago had shredded Alabama.
Burrow didn’t do it all alone. He had a Biletnikoff Award winner in Ja'Marr Chase to throw too. Chase set his own individual record in the national championship game with 216 receiving yards. Justin Jefferson also had over 1,400 receiving yards, giving LSU one of the most lethal 1-2 wide receiver combos college football has seen. The addition of Broyles Award winner Joe Brady to the staff from the New Orleans Saints was a game-changer, and a program-changer, for LSU. And of course, Ed Orgeron managed to silence any remaining doubters who have crossed his path.
Put aside the individual accolades though, of which there were plenty, and you will find an LSU team that built one of the most impressive seasons to date. At the time the games were played, each of LSU’s seven ranked opponents during the season were ranked inside the top 10, including each of the last three on the schedule. LSU made their first national championship noise with an early road win against No. 9 Texas, in which Burrow had one of his many Heisman Trophy moments in sealing the game with a touchdown pass. LSU later pummeled No. 7 Florida in Death Valley, 42-28. In late October and into November, LSU faced No. 9 Auburn and then No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and managed to win each game. Those were the closest calls for LSU all season long.
LSU then put up 50 or more points in each of their next three games, dominated No. 4 Georgia in the SEC Championship Game (37-10) and then put up a playoff record 63 point son Big 12 champion Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl for the semifinal round. And to put the cherry on top, LSU overcame a sluggish offensive start to pull away from Clemson, 42-25, to claim the national championship game. Seven games against top 10 teams, won by a cumulative score of 298-190.
LSU’s stockpile of accomplishments this season is tough to beat. If there was one slight against them, it would be the defense when compared to some other great college football teams (2001 Miami, for example), but there would be no way this offense would not score points against even some of the best defenses of all time. So let the debate begin as the college football world tries to figure out just where LSU’s 2019 season ranks in the 150-year (and counting) history of the game.