Late on Saturday, Dec. 28, seconds after Nolan Turner clinched Clemson's return to the national championship, Twitter erupted with Joe Burrow vs. Trevor Lawrence mania.
Burrow will be the first Heisman-winning quarterback to play for the national championship since Marcus Mariota in 2014 but one of 10 to do so during the BCS and College Football Playoff eras. And if he's the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and Lawrence is the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, it'll be the first championship quarterback matchup of two future No. 1 picks.
Where does Burrow-Lawrence rank among the best championship quarterback matchups of the playoff and BCS eras?
|22||2011||Jordan Jefferson (LSU) vs. A.J. McCarron (Alabama)|
|21||2002||Ken Dorsey (Miami, FL) vs. Craig Krenzel (Ohio State)|
|20||2001||Ken Dorsey (Miami, FL) vs. Eric Crouch (Nebraska|
|19||1998||Tee Martin (Tennessee) vs. Chris Weinke (Florida State)|
|18||2012||Everett Golson (Notre Dame) vs. A.J. McCarron (Alabama)|
|17||2007||Matt Flynn (LSU) vs. Todd Boeckman (Ohio State)|
|16||2009||Greg McElroy (Alabama) vs. Colt McCoy (Texas)|
Two good versions of Ken Dorsey, especially in 2002, are dragged down by Craig Krenzel and Eric Crouch, who, along with Jordan Jefferson, rank among the worst quarterbacks in the playoff and BCS eras.
A.J. McCarron's 2012 season remains one of the most underrated and unappreciated in college football history. He didn't throw for 3,000 yards, nor was he productive as a runner, but had a 10:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, didn't throw an interception until mid-November and was flawless in Alabama's Iron Bowl win.
|15||1999||Chris Weinke (Florida State) vs. Michael Vick (Virginia Tech)|
|14||2017||Jake Fromm (Georgia) vs. Jalen Hurts (Alabama)|
|13||2006||Chris Leak (Florida) vs. Troy Smith (Ohio State)|
|12||2003||Matt Mauck (LSU) vs. Jason White (Oklahoma)|
|11||2000||Josh Heupel (Oklahoma) vs. Chris Weinke (Florida State)|
I'm in the minority on Michael Vick. Like Eric Crouch, Vick was electric outside the pocket, but let's stop pretending he was a great college quarterback. He was a fun-to-watch college quarterback capable of highlight-reel plays but more often than not failed as a passer.
Chris Weinke's third and final appearance is his best appearance when he topped 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in winning the Heisman before facing runner-up Josh Heupel in Miami Gardens. Before 2000, Weinke was a good, not great, quarterback.
|10||2015||Deshaun Watson (Clemson) vs. Jake Coker (Alabama)|
|9||2013||Nick Marshall (Auburn) vs. Jameis Winston (Florida State)|
|8||2014||Marcus Mariota (Oregon) vs. Cardale Jones (Ohio State)|
|7||2016||Deshaun Watson (Clemson) vs. Jalen Hurts (Alabama)|
|6||2004||Matt Leinart (USC) vs. Jason White (Oklahoma)|
Jameis Winston was the headlining Heisman winner in the 2013 title game but Nick Marshall also had a sensational season, especially over Auburn's final four games. On 110 fewer attempts over the season, he ran for only 400 fewer yards than Cam Newton four years earlier, and threw just one interception on his final 80 pass attempts.
As I noted here, I don't know how to evaluate Cardale Jones' playoff run and struggle to place him among other playoff and BCS quarterbacks. But I do know Marcus Mariota is an all-time great who could carry Craig Krenzel into the top 10.
|5||2010||Darron Thomas (Oregon) vs. Cam Newton (Auburn)|
|4||2018||Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) vs. Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama|
|3||2005||Matt Leinart (USC) vs. Vince Young (Texas)|
|2||2019||Joe Burrow (LSU) vs. Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)|
|1||2008||Tim Tebow (Florida) vs. Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)|
Darron Thomas isn't Dennis Dixon. He was better than Dennis Dixon and one piece of the best championship dual-threat quarterback matchup of all time. Oregon-Auburn wasn't a high-scoring affair (41 combined points) and Auburn kept Thomas in the pocket but the aerial attack lived up to the billing.
Joe Burrow is the best quarterback of the playoff era (and BCS era) but the Bradford-Tebow combination earn them a razor-thin edge over Burrow-Lawrence.