Would you rather. A classic game played by most, adored by many and respected by all. Sometimes a classic game of would you rather can result in some harm but other instances can show signs of great fun. In this case, we are playing a classic game of would you rather, but with a college football twist. So for example, I may ask, who would you rather have – LSU’s Heisman winning QB Joe Burrow or Clemson’s star-studded prospect, Trevor Lawrence? I will then explain who I would rather have and why I would have them. We will then continue to go down the list until we have a clear idea of who will be crowned national champion come Monday night. Let’s get right into it.
Head Coach: Dabo Swinney
I love me some coach O but when it comes to which coach I would rather have come Monday night, it ain’t even close. As the years go by, Dabo Swinney is transforming into the BEST coach in college football right in front of our eyes. Not Saban, not Smart, not even Jimbo, but Swinney. The two-time national champion, six-time ACC champion, three-time Paul Bryant Award Winner, does one thing and one thing only….win. As a head coach for Clemson, Swinney has compiled an unprecedented record of 130-30. No that is not a typo, he is just that good. Although LSU may be the favourite heading into Monday night’s contest, you can never count the Tigers out with this man commanding the ship.
Defense – Clemson
While this may not be as lopsided as the head coaching comparison, Clemson still finds itself with the upper hand. Defensively, Clemson is just a little bit stronger, a little more physical and a little more dominant than the LSU. Clemson is also host to the best defensive coordinator in the country, Brent Venables. However, I will say that LSU has a faster defense and has better cover corners through the likes of Kary Vincent Jr. and freshman sensation, Derek Stingley Jr. With this being said, there is one main factor that gives Clemson the overall edge over LSU defensively. That factor being, Isaiah Simmons. Simmons, a junior linebacker from Kansas, is a grown-ass man, stuck in a college kid’s body. But even that analogy wouldn’t be fair as Simmons already has an NFL calibre physic. Simmons is the type of player who has the opportunity to be the X factor come Monday night. He is strong, athletic, fast and extremely explosive. During his 2019 campaign, Simmons accounted for 97 total tackles, had 6 sacks, forced 1 fumble, had 3 interceptions and managed to acquire 6 pass deflections. Simmons is not only one of the best LB’s in the country, but he is also one of the best players in the country, on either side of the ball. Watch out for big #11 all night long.
Wide Outs – LSU
This one’s easy, but to emphasize my point I’ll do a compare and contrast of each teams top 2.
Sophomore WR, Ja’Marr Chase – 12/28 vs Oklahoma: 2 Rec, 61 yards
Season Stats: 75 REC, 1,559 yards (2nd in nation), 18 TDs (tied 1st in the nation), averages 20.8 yards a catch.
Junior WR, Justin Jefferson – 12/28 vs Oklahoma: 14 Rec, 227 yards, 4 TDs
Season Stats: 102 REC (3rd in the nation), 1,434 yards, 18 TDs (Tied 1st in nation), averages 14.1 yards per catch
Sophomore WR, Justyn Ross – 12/28 vs Ohio State: 6 REC, 47 yards
Season Stats: 61 REC, 789 yards, 8 TDs, averages 12.9 yards a carry
Junior WR, Tee Higgins – 12/28 vs Ohio State: 4 Rec, 33 yards
Season Stats: 56 REC, 1,115 yards, 13 TDs, averages 19.9 yards a catch
(Higgins is questionable to play after sustaining a head injury on Dec 28 vs Ohio State.)
Tight End – LSU
The reason why I would rather have LSU’s TE is that Thaddeus Moss, who is the son of HOF wideout, Randy Moss, plays the position like a WR. He is extremely athletic for his size and Joe Brady, LSU’s passing coordinator, is able to use him both in the slot and in the flat. A clear example of this was seen during the CFP Semi-Final against Oklahoma when Moss caught a 60 plus yard TD pass and ran upfield like he was his pops in his prime.
Although Clemson has the ability to interchange 3-4 tight ends throughout the duration of the game, they are still not able to create the same level of threat Moss presents by himself.
Running Back – Clemson
Although I am a fan of the little engine that won’t stop in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, this comparison is not really much of a contest. Junior RB Travis Etienne is one of the most explosive, dynamic and shifty running backs we have ever seen in the college football circuit. In his last two seasons alone, Etienne has rushed for a total of 3,194 yards, has racked up 42 total TDs and has averaged 8.05 yards per carry. The thing that impresses me most about Etienne’s game, is his ability to adjust and improve. In his first two seasons at Clemson, Etienne struggled to be part of Clemson’s passing attack. In 2017, he had just 57 receiving yards and in 2018, just 78 receiving yards. Etienne then realized in order to be GREAT, he couldn’t just be a great runner, he needed to be a great receiver as well. So he made it a point to get more involved in the passing game and by this year’s end, Etienne had seen a major improvment. Etienne had gained a total of 396 receiving yards to go along with a 98 yard, 2 TD performance against Ohio State in the CFP Semi-Final. A great man once said, to be great, you must be willing to change. And Etienne has now found his path to greatness.
Kicker – Neither
Do you trust THAT guy or a kicker named B.T. Potter? Neither? I thought so. College kickers are about as unreliable as the ex who never returned your call. Sometimes, its better to just let em go.
Quarterback – Clemson
I’ve been thinking about which quarterback I’d rather have for months now. And no, that’s not an exaggeration, these two are seriously that close. But after many sleepless nights, I have come to the final conclusion that I would rather have Trevor Lawrence. For starters, Trevor Lawrence is a proven winner. I mean, the guy has NEVER lost in his collegiate career… like ever (29-0, 25-0 as a starter.) You wanna get even crazier? When Lawrence was at Cartersville High in Georgia, his team went on an historic 41-game winning streak that was snapped by a QB named Jake Smith. Jake….Smith?
So to recap, Trevor Lawrence has won 70 of his last 71 games and the point of any sport is to win, right? So I am taking the proven winner any day of the week. Along with being a proven winner, Lawrence is one of the most gifted college QBs that I have ever seen. His arm strength is inhuman. His accuracy is sharper then a Texas Ranger and his ability to scramble is as clutch as MJ down the stretch. When I watch Trevor Lawrence, I see the next Aaron Rodgers. The last time I saw such a bright, talented prospect at the college level was Andrew Luck.
I want to be very clear, Joe Burrow is a HELL of a QB. He is gonna go #1 in next year’s draft and for all intents and purposes, he is just one win away from finishing the most impressive season from a college QB ever. But he is also part of one of the greatest college offensive systems of all time. Having Joe Brady as your passing coordinator is like having a cheat code in Madden. Having two, one thousand yard receivers who lead the nation in about every receiving category is a luxury. Having a TE who is from the same gene pool as a HOF’er, is a gift from god. You get my point.
Joe Burrow is a transfer QB who didn’t blow his final chance to become great. Trevor Lawrence has never had a chance he didn’t meet and exceed with flying colors. That’s the difference and that’s why Lawrence is my guy.