Top 5 CFP QuarterBack Performances

The College Football Playoff has been one of the best things to happen to college sports, giving fans extra postseason football of the highest quality each year. Such contests give way to some legendary performances, and so, today, we are ranking the top 5 performances by signal-callers in the six-year era of the Playoff.

Honorable Mentions

Kyler Murray vs. Alabama, 2018-19 semifinals: 19-37, 308 yds, 17 carries, 109 yds, 3 Total TD

Deshaun Watson vs. Alabama, 2016-17 national championship: 36-56, 420 yds, 21 carries, 43 yds, 4 Total TD

Trevor Lawrence vs. Ohio State, 2019-20 semifinals: 18-33, 259 yds, 16 carries, 107 yds, 3 Total TD

#5 – Deshaun Watson vs. Alabama, 2015-2016 National Championship

The top five kicks off with Watson’s national championship debut, as I believe he actually played slightly better in their defeat to the Crimson Tide. Watson fueled Clemson all game long, tossing for 405 yards and running for 73, accounting for the majority of Clemson’s 550 yards of offense. He tossed a pair of first-quarter touchdowns to Hunter Renfrow, and he kept the Tigers charging after the Tide all night, firing another couple of TDs in the final 5 minutes, before a last-ditch onside kick doomed Clemson. Easily the most impressive performance by a QB in a losing effort in CFP history.

#4 – Tua Tagovailoa vs. Oklahoma: 2018-2019 CFP Semifinals

This was possibly the most well-quarterbacked game from both sides in any CFP game ever, as we already saw Kyler Murray’s effort slotted into our Honorable Mentions. However, unfortunately for the Heisman winner and eventual #1 pick, he was outdueled by Alabama’s Tagovailoa. Although not much of a dual-threat, the Heisman runner-up was lethally precise, completing 24 of 27 passes for 318 yards and 4 touchdowns. He helped Alabama out to a 28-0 lead before the Tide held off a Kyler Murray charge, with Tua staving off the Sooners by hitting DeVonta Smith and Jerry Jeudy for fourth-quarter scores.

#3 – Joe Burrow vs. Clemson: 2019-20 National Championship

You already knew Burrow would be on this list (spoiler: more than once), and he slots in at #3 for his performance in the national championship this past season. Clemson was a stiff defense, and they largely shut down Ohio State after a tough start, yet Burrow made it seem effortless in slapping 42 points on the Tigers, including the last 14 points after Clemson drew within three. Burrow capped off one of the greatest seasons ever by a college quarterback with five touchdowns through the air and another on the ground. He was 31-49 for 463 yards and churned out another 54 with his legs. For the LSU fans – here’s 2:42 of Burreaux dicing the Clemson defense.

#2 – Trevor Lawrence vs. Alabama, 2018-19 National Championship

The last two seasons have culminated in legendary QB performances, so we can only imagine what 2021 will bring. In 2019, Lawrence capped off the first 15-0 season in college football history. After his strong semifinal performance versus Notre Dame that was largely chalked up to an overrated Irish defense, Lawrence came out on a mission in the title game, feasting on the Crimson Tide defense to the tune of 347 yards and three touchdowns. The difference between Burrow at #3 and Lawrence at #2 was razor-thin at most, with the deciding factor being that Clemson largely put away the Tide in the first half, meaning Lawrence wasn’t really in a situation to put up more gaudy statistics as the Tigers closed out Alabama in their 44-16 victory. Also, Lawrence was in his first year of collegiate football, while Burrow was in his fifth. After the run game and defense got Clemson going, Lawrence iced the contest in the second and third quarters. His TD pass with under five minutes to play in the half extended the Clemson lead to 28-16, and his two scoring tosses in the third quarter sent the Tide packing. Incredible peformance from a true freshman with the lights shining brightest.

#1 – Joe Burrow vs. Oklahoma, 2019-2020 CFP Semifinals

Coming into this game, Burrow had to answer a few questions, largely about his health after he suffered from a well-publicized case of the flu in the week leading up to the Oklahoma game. Could the Heisman winner do what he had done all season long? The answer was a resounding yes, as Burrow began smashing CFP records in the first half alone, throwing an astounding 7 touchdown passes. Literally no words can actually describe this performance – far and away the greatest in CFP history. Watching Burrow this game felt like he was being controlled by someone playing Madden (or NCAA Football 2014) on Rookie mode. He made it look that easy.

Daily Headlines: MLB Draft announcement has major implications

Weekend Headlines

There were a few major headlines that affected the college sports world this past weekend, as COVID-19 continues to affect collegiate athletes. 

MLB Draft shortened to five rounds
The MLB announced that their traditional 40-round draft was being shortened to five rounds due to the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic. Although MLB teams will be allowed to sign unlimited numbers of undrafted players, this will have ripple effects throughout college baseball, as there will be a lot of players unwilling to go pro with only a 5-round draft and limited money available. For draft eligible rising seniors, their draft stock is likely harder to evaluate after a very short 2020 season, and as such, it will likely benefit many players to stay for another year with their collegiate teams. Graduating seniors, with the ability to return for grad school and an additional year of eligibility, will have far more negotiating power as well. With only the premier talents getting selected, expect to see far more players returning to the NCAA, which will affect incoming recruits. Playing time will be shifted, and it would hardly be surprising to see a lot of transfers, depending on which schools see mass quantities of returners. Announcements on potential roster expansion have not been made, but this draft decision will affect college baseball for years to come. 

Taulia Tagovailoa enters transfer portal
Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of former Alabama star and now Miami Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, has entered the transfer portal, expressing his intention to leave Alabama. With stud five-star recruit Bryce Young entering the quarterback room to challenge Mac Jones, who started when Tua suffered a season-ending injury, for the starting job, Taulia’s path to playing time seemed narrow, and so he will look for an opportunity elsewhere. He is most definitely an elite talent, and he will be a great pick-up for whoever lands him. 

Daily Headlines: NFL schedule release is reason for Tua concern

Today’s daily headlines are a little slimmer, and we even dip into the NFL to give you some news regarding recently drafted college athletes. With that being said, here’s today’s trending news.

Jim Harbaugh proposes NFL Draft changes

In an open letter to the ‘College Football Community’, Jim Harbaugh proposed a few changes to the NFL Draft process. High among Harbaugh’s priorities was implementing a similar system to the NBA Draft, which allows athletes to retain NCAA eligibility even after declaring for the draft. This enables college athletes who may want to test the draft waters and get feedback from professional teams to do so, but they can also return back to finish off their eligibility. Harbaugh has been known for proposing major changes to the football landscape, recently proposing an 11-team Playoff, and he makes headlines once more today. 

Miami Dolphins’ schedule already causing early Tua concerns
The biggest red flag for Tua Tuagovaoila is his injury concerns, especially after missing the last portion of Alabama’s season. When the NFL schedule was released Thursday night, those concerns escalated with the revealing of the Miami Dolphins’ early slate of games. After starting with defensive genius Bill Belichick,  Tua and the Dolphins take on some of the games’ scariest pass rushers, including Aaron Donald, Joey and Nick Bosa, Josh Allen, and Chandler Jones in just the first nine weeks. That’s a fearsome group of defensive beasts, and if anything, people anxious to see the rocket-armed left-handed quarterback debut may have to wait a little while, as I doubt Brian Flores will be anxious to throw his prized franchise quarterback into the fray with Miami’s horrific offensive line. Oregon announces no live sporting events with fans through September
Although the hope remains that the college football season will be played this fall, Oregon’s governor made the announcement that no live sporting events with fans would be permitted in the state until at least October. This is a devastating blow to the Ducks, who were slated to host Ohio State in one of the biggest home games in program history. Not only do they lose the mass amounts of revenue that would have been generated by a likely record-breaking crowd, but the Ducks also may be playing in an empty stadium, diminishing the home field advantage in their half of their home-and-home series. It seems a little early to make this decision, so depending on how the pandemic, and the American response to it, progresses, this may not be final, but it isn’t looking good for the reigning Pac-12 champions.

College Football End of Season Roundtable: QB rankings and Playoff Systems

In this piece, to wrap up college football season while we wait for the anticipation of mock drafts and all the other offseason coverage, we will do an end of season roundtable with all of our contributors. The questions at hand are to rank the top quarterback draft prospects by how well we think they’ll do in the NFL, describe your ideal playoff system, and look ahead at potential playoff teams. Let’s get into it.

Some of the top NFL QB prospects are Joe Burrow, Tua, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, Jacob Eason, Jake Fromm, Jalen Hurts

Rank these college QBS by how successful their pro careers will be and their best fit in the NFL

Nathaniel:

  • Burrow 
  • Herbert 
  • Eason 
  • Tua
  • Love
  • Hurts
  • Fromm

Cal:

  • Herbert
  • Burrow 
  • Eason
  • Love 
  • Tua
  • Fromm
  • Hurts

Andrew:

  • Herbert
  • Burrow
  • Hurts
  • Love
  • Eason
  • Fromm
  • Tua

Aidan:

  • Herbert
  • Burrow
  • Tua
  • Hurts
  • Fromm
  • Love
  • Eason

General Consensus: Herbert got 3 first-place votes, largely due to his experience (4 years of starting to Burrow’s 2) and consistent improvement throughout his career. Also, as he likely will be the third QB selected, he will be put in a slightly better position than what Burrow will have to deal with on the Bengals. The LSU QB is a special talent, but his career was made by one dominant season, and there are concerns about how sustainable that level of success is.

Will Herbert enjoy the best pro career in a talented group of college quarterbacks? Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Describe your ideal College Football Playoff System

Nathaniel:

I would vote for an 8-team Playoff, keeping the bowl structure. This would allow for a non-power 5 team to get in. We do need to keep the bowl structure though, as bowl season is more for the players than fans. Bowl season is a free vacation and gifts some of these players wouldn’t get without it. 

How the Playoff would Look: 

LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, Oregon, Baylor, Memphis

Cal:

An increase in the playoff system would decrease the regular season and lead to a loss of a home game for schools. Like many others I would like to see the playoff expand but not sure how the NCAA will get another game in. My theory, do away with conference championship games and use that weekend to make the playoff go to 8 teams. No, I don’t like my plan either, and that’s why, unless another week is added and another extra game is played (like there is in the FCS) the playoff must remain as is. 

Andrew:

I agree with Nathaniel about the 8-team player with one condition. Do not allow the Rose Bowl to become one of the quarterfinal or semifinal games. It is a classic game meant to pit the Big 10 against the Pac 12.

How the Playoff Would Look

(Same as Nathaniel’s

Aidan:

I’ll go a little outside the box with an 11-team playoff. Jim Harbaugh has suggested something similar to this although with some variations. In this system, the five conference champions receive a bye to the quarterfinals while teams 6-11 are seeded by the committee (with a Group of 5 guaranteed spot) (or BCS system?) and play a first round game to decide the final three spots. In this system, you would eliminate the conference championship and possibly eliminate one of the cupcake games that every team has on their schedule.

How the Playoff in 2019 would have looked:

LSU, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, Oregon – get byes

6. Georgia  vs. 11. Memphis

7. Baylor     vs. 10. Penn State

8. Wisconsin vs.  9. Florida

Looking ahead to 2020-2021 – Name your four Playoff Teams and your top darkhorse pick

Nathaniel:

Ohio State 

Clemson 

Alabama 

Auburn 

Dark horse pick: With Jake Fromm leaving, Georgia struggles on offense, and Kentucky wins the SEC East.

Cal:

Clemson

Oregon

Ohio State

Alabama

Dark horse: USC stays healthy and becomes a contedner again

Andrew:

Clemson

Auburn

Ohio st

Baylor

Dark-horse prediction: The ACC has four ranked teams, and UNC wins the Coastal Division.

Aidan:

Ohio State

Florida

Notre Dame

Oklahoma

Darkhorse Pick: Clemson loses @ Notre Dame and cannot fight their way back into the playoff conversation due to their weak ACC schedule.