Well, friends...it’s here. The College Football Playoff national championship game kicks off at 8:00 p.m. Monday, which will surely reopen old wounds for Buckeye fans worldwide. Ohio State was absolutely snubbed of their chance to compete for a second national title #ItWasACatch, and if you don’t agree, you’re probably a Clemson fan and I can’t even believe you’re on our site right now.
But, holding a grudge isn’t healthy, and it’s taken a lot of meditation, self-control and reciting cheesy motivational quotes like “It’s not until you let go, that you are truly free” in order to move on.
Fortunately, there are a couple reasons why this game will not only be bearable, but might even be fun to watch. And one of those reasons is named Joe Burrow.
The senior quarterback transferred from Ohio State to LSU after three seasons in Columbus. He ultimately didn’t beat out Dwayne Haskins for the starting spot, and decided he’d shop around for a starting job elsewhere— a decision that all of his coaches and teammates supported to the fullest.
Fast-forward to today, and Burrow has racked up a whopping 5,208 yards and 55 touchdowns entering the national championship game, earning him the 2019 Heisman Trophy, and likely the 2020 NFL Draft’s No. 1 pick.
He dedicated his Heisman trophy to Ohio State and his hometown in southeast Ohio.
Opinion: "He concluded by dedicating his trophy to 'LSU, Ohio State, southeast Ohio and all of Louisiana,' a succinct encapsulation of the institutions and states that shaped his path to the Heisman."https://t.co/CimzAkdvS6— The Reveille (@lsureveille) January 12, 2020
And he used his acceptance speech to bring awareness to his hometown of Athens County, Ohio, which in turn raised over $350,000 for Ohio food pantry.
“Coming from southeast Ohio, it’s a very impoverished area and the poverty rate is almost two times the national average,” Burrow said. “There’s so many people there that don’t have a lot and I’m up here for all those kids in Athens and Athens County that go home to not a lot of food on the table, hungry after school. You guys can be up here, too.”
Joe Burrow worked hard to reach the pinnacle of college football, but he never forgot the everyday struggle of the community he came from. Joe - your humility is inspiring. Thank you for reminding us to never forget those less fortunate than us. https://t.co/EYbtU86c0D— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 19, 2019
Considering the Cincinnati Bengals have the draft’s No. 1 pick, he will likely find himself back in the Buckeye State come April. In the meantime, LSU won the jackpot with Burrow, and Buckeye Nation couldn’t be happier for his success.
I know, I know. Joe Burrow rocks. You know this. Moving on to the game...
Fun fact: Out of both Clemson’s and LSU’s current starting lineups, made up of the top players in the nation, Ohio State only extended an offer to eight of them during their recruitments: Clemson wide receivers Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, offensive tackle Jackson Carman, defensive linemen Tyler Davis and Xavier Thomas, and safety K’Von Wallace; and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and defensive end Rashard Lawrence.
Clemson and LSU are stacked with talent, yet Ohio State showing interest in just two players on LSU’s starting lineup is actually not that surprising, as Jeremy Birmingham wrote for Eleven Warriors in 2016 when Lawrence was still on Ohio State’s radar:
“Meyer has never signed a player from Louisiana in his head coaching career. Not when he was at Bowling Green, not when he was at Utah or Florida and not since he’s arrived at Ohio State. Louisiana is a state that’s very loyal to the Tigers, even though the northern part of the state isn’t quite as invested in the Bayou Bengals as the rest of it.”
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence and LSU cornerback Derek Stingley were No. 1 recruits at their respective positions, but Meyer wasn’t going to waste his valuable recruiting time on players who were just waiting for their home team to pull the trigger— no matter how good they were.
After LSU’s success—even though I’d attribute most of it to their Ohio-native— should Ohio State consider pushing harder for Louisiana recruits? Is it worth it? Gotta be honest with you...I have no idea. Recruiting is not my forte, but feel free to drop recruiting questions in the comments and one of our recruiting experts will get back to you. I just thought it was interesting that out of all the talent we’re about to watch, Ohio State not only showed minimum interest, but they also let Joe Burrow— the star of the dang show—WALK. (And still sent TWO guys to New York! What a time.)
Anywho, the second reason to watch this game: No. More. Roll. Tide! For the first time in four years, Alabama will be MIA during the national championship. Again, it should be LSU vs. Ohio State (that whole ‘moving on’ thing is a work in progress, okay?) but at least it’s not LSU vs. Alabama or— even worse— another Clemson/’Bama matchup.
Also, considering Alabama would have been without their star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Burrow and the LSU Tigers definitely have the better chance at exposing Clemson. In their semifinal game against the Oklahoma Sooners, Burrow was responsible for seven touchdowns in the first. half. alone. And there’s absolutely no reason to believe he won’t bring the same heat to New Orleans Monday night, surrounded by crazy passionate Louisiana natives cheering him on.
I mean... who would you bet on? This guy?
Joe Burrow makes Jimmy Garoppolo look like he's shy in front of the cameras pic.twitter.com/qGdIe4Mnkw— Matthew McGovern (@MatthewMcGovern) January 11, 2020
Or this guy?
#Clemson HC Dabo Swinney on whether he considers the #NationalChampionship a home game: "Well I think we're the only team that flew here... It'd be like us playing for the National Championship in Greenville." @foxcarolinanews pic.twitter.com/gBFyClpMTr— Aaron Cheslock (@AaronCheslock) January 11, 2020
At least he admitted Ohio State travels better? The refs can never take that away from us!