Last year, the 2019 LSU Tigers made their argument to be the greatest team in college football history. Just one year later, 2020 Alabama football entered the same conversation.
“I think we’re the best team to ever play,” Alabama quarterback Mac Jones said after the game. “There’s no team that will ever play an SEC schedule like that again.”
ESPN’s Bill Connelly’s SP+ metric agrees. After the national championship, 2020 Alabama slid in ahead of 1959 Syracuse as the team that grades out highest, per the efficiency metric. Back after the 2019 season, he wrote that LSU’s relative defensive struggles at mid-season dragged down their number a bit.
Joe Burrow isn’t buying it though. After Alabama football’s national title win, he was asked about the “greatest team ever” debate. He’s still clearly taking his LSU squad.
Joe Burrow was asked who would win a game between 2019 LSU and 2020 Alabama? “I think everyone knows the answer to that question… I don’t even have to say it.” pic.twitter.com/5Udob2YSFM
— Brandon Saho (@BrandonSaho) January 12, 2021
The crux of Alabama’s argument is the fact that the team played an All-Power Five schedule, which was basically unprecedented, especially for the modern game. The non-conference schedule was canceled, so Alabama played all SEC teams, until the College Football Playoff when they took down Notre Dame and Ohio State.
Of course, LSU played seven teams that were ranked in the top 10 at the time of the game, while Alabama played four. When looking at the final rankings, both teams played four of the end-of-year top 10.
Alabama won games this year by a slightly higher margin of victory, and both teams averaged 48.4 points per game. You may be able to put Joe Burrow ahead of Mac Jones, but Nick Saban has a pretty definitive edge on Ed Orgeron as head coach.
It’s a good debate, but I don’t know that Joe Burrow can say anything definitive here.
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