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The Best Ever

Yes. Burrow is the best LSU QB ever.

Auburn v LSU
I rule.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, we were answering the listener mail on the Sneaky Good Pod, and someone had asked where Joe Burrow ranks all-time among LSU quarterbacks. My instinct was to put him somewhere near the bottom of the top five.

Look, the arc of history is long, and we tend to overrate the present. Twitter constantly rants against nostalgia, but that’s not really society’s general issue: our problem tends to be the opposite, that we have no historical memory as we are constantly focused on the now.

But as we started talking about it, it became harder and harder to rate Burrow anywhere but at the top. His legacy is not yet entirely written, but it seems that this isn’t a case of recency bias… Joe Burrow is the greatest quarterback in LSU history.

Among football’s top programs, it is hard to find a weaker quarterback tradition than at LSU. JaMarcus Russell won the Manning Award in 2006 and was the first overall pick. Still, Bert Jones is the only consensus first team All-American quarterback in school history.

If you want to go old school, YA Tittle was pretty great in the 1940’s and Doc Fenton won the “retroactive Heisman” in 1908, even if Grantland Rice had Fenton blackballed from any postseason awards when he was alive.

We all love Rohan Davey, Huey Long made Abe Mickal a state senator, Danny Etling was a good quarterback, Warren Raab held the wins record for a half century, and Matt Mauck and Matt Flynn won national titles. But its Tommy Hodson who sits on top of the record book, largely because he started for four seasons.

But as of right now, Joe Burrow ranks 7th all-time in LSU career passing yards with 5,699. He has anywhere from five to seven games left to add to his numbers, and will almost certainly rapidly climb up the career leaders list.

LSU career passing leaders

Rk Player Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rate
Rk Player Cmp Att Pct Yds Y/A TD Int Rate
1 Tommy Hodson 674 1163 58 9115 7.8 69 41 136.3
2 Jeff Wickersham 587 1005 58.4 6921 6.9 25 39 116.7
3 JaMarcus Russell 493 797 61.9 6625 8.3 52 21 147.9
4 Jamie Howard 459 934 49.1 6158 6.6 34 47 106.5
5 Herb Tyler 434 716 60.6 5876 8.2 40 24 141.3
6 Zach Mettenberger 407 659 61.8 5783 8.8 35 15 148.4
7 Joe Burrow 424 639 66.4 5699 8.9 46 9 162.2
8 Jordan Jefferson 397 678 58.6 4733 7 34 20 127.8
9 Danny Etling 325 544 59.7 4586 8.4 27 7 144.4
10 Alan Risher 381 615 62 4585 7.5 31 24 133.4
11 Rohan Davey 286 478 59.8 4415 9.2 29 15 151.2

Burrow is 459 yards away from tying Jamie Howard for fourth on the all-time list, and he’s done it in a mere 21 career starts to date. He’s 1,222 yards away from tying Jeff Wickersham for second on the all-time yardage list. So far this season, Burrow is averaging 350.6 yards/game, so it seems not at all unlikely he will pass Wickersham around the Texas A&M game.

Hodson’s career mark is out reach, but Burrow has gotten this close in roughly half of the time.

And if you look at that list again, Burrow has the highest yards/attempt and QB rating of anyone in the top ten and the second fewest interceptions. He ranks third in TD passes, and will likely finish his LSU career in second.

The point here is that Joe Burrow is near certain to finish near the top of the LSU career leaderboard, and he will have done it despite only playing in Baton Rouge for two seasons.

Before Joe Burrow, Rohan Davey owned the LSU record for most 300+ yard passing games. Well, not anymore. Davey still owns the single game mark (528 yards against Bama in 2001), but Burrow is one shy of Davey’s six 300+ yard passing games in this season alone. He owns the new career mark of eight.

Joe Burrow now owns four of the top ten passing yardage games in LSU history. Again, he still has five to seven games to play, including games against Arkansas and Ole Miss. He needs 372 yards to tie for tenth, in case you’re wondering.

Joe Burrow’s 2,894 yards in 2018 ranked as the fourth highest yardage season total in LSU history. His 2019 season already ranks sixth at 2,805 yards. He has five games to catch Rohan Davey’s season record of 3,347. I like his chances.

Joe Burrow already owns the single-game touchdown record (6) to go with the season long record (30 and counting).

Simply put, Joe Burrow is going to own the LSU record book. This isn’t merely the greatest season in LSU history, it is capping off the best career in LSU history. He will graduate being at or near the top in virtually every game, season, and career mark. Hell, Burrow will likely be the first LSU quarterback to be a Heisman finalist since Bert Jones.

The only LSU quarterbacks who will be able to front to Burrow even a little bit are Raab, Mauck, and Flynn. And that’s no guarantee either.

Joe Burrow is the greatest quarterback in LSU history. Enjoy it, and root for him to complete that resume to make it truly untouchable.