After an incredible 2019 college football season that saw the Clemson Tigers attempt to defend their national title, and an SEC outsider emerge as the best team in the nation, which team was crowned the winner of the 2020 College Football National Championship?
College Football National Championship 2020 Winner
The LSU team that won the 2020 College Football National Championship has often been described as the greatest college football team of all time. The Tigers’ offense was record-setting, their offensive line dominant, their head coach earned numerous honors, and the defense contained the best defensive back in the nation. It’s unlikely we’ll see a team like it again.
In addition to overpowering everyone that dared to cross their path, LSU was the first No. 1 ranked team to win the College Football National Championship when they overcame reigning title-winning Clemson in 2020. Furthermore, the Tigers were just the second team to finish 15-0 since 1897, landing their fourth national championship in the process.
Record-Setting Joe Burrow Guides LSU to the 2020 College Football National Championship
You could argue that LSU’s 2020 College Football National Championship-winning campaign began on Jan. 1, 2019. No, not in the 2019 regular season, where head coach Ed Orgeron and passing game coordinator Joe Brady orchestrated one of — if not the –greatest college football offenses of all time. The origin story began at the climax of the 2018 season, in the Fiesta Bowl, with LSU entertaining UCF — another team at the forefront of CFB history.
Battered, bloodied, and bruised, Joe Burrow rose from that game like the phoenix from the flames, like a quarterbacking God sent from college football heaven to entertain us on a weekly basis. The former Ohio State QB had appeared distinctly average up to that point, a mere mortal who threw for 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns in the 2018 campaign. He finished the Fiesta Bowl with a career-high 394 yards and a first-ever four-touchdown performance.
It was a taste of things to come. Surrounded by an ungodly amount of talent to bolster his own ethereal ability, Burrow carved up the CFB record books as effortlessly as he carved up college football defenses.
There might never be a more devastating wide receiver duo than Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson, who combined for 3,320 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns. Somehow, amongst all the air yards, Clyde Edwards-Helaire racked up 1,414 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the offensive line won the Joe Moore Award as the best unit in the nation. Chase won the Biletnikoff Award, although it could quite easily have been Jefferson.
On the defensive side of the ball, Grant Delpit was named the Jim Thorpe Award winner as the best DB in the nation, while Derek Stingley Jr. showcased his talent as one of the best true freshman defensive playmakers in the nation. K’Lavon Chaisson would establish himself as a first-round draft selection with 13.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
Despite the talent and statistical success, it was Burrow who became the poster boy for the 15-0, 2020 College Football National Championship-winning LSU team. He smashed college football records for single-season passing touchdowns (60) and passer rating (202.0), although those have since been beaten by Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones, respectively.
Still, neither achieved those records with anything near the panache and dominance that Burrow demonstrated during a campaign that saw him lift the Heisman Trophy.
LSU’s high-powered, high-scoring offense was able to carry the Tigers even when their defense slipped. Yes, there were tight, close-fought games during their run to the 2020 College Football National Championship. Texas, in fact, came within seven points and a failed onside kick of the Tigers in Week 2. Florida, meanwhile, held a 28-21 lead before giving up three touchdowns without reply. Then, Alabama staged a valiant comeback attempt but came up five points short.
In their biggest games, when it mattered, Burrow’s LSU team was imperious. Ending the regular season with a 50-7 win over Texas A&M, the Tigers turned over the Georgia Bulldogs 37-10 in the SEC Championship. The win — and the nature of it — ensured that the Tigers headed into the College Football Playoff as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
In the Peach Bowl, LSU completely outplayed the Oklahoma Sooners, led by now-Philadelphia Eagles star Jalen Hurts. Burrow threw for seven touchdowns and 493 yards as the Tigers ran out 63-28 winners, having held a 49-14 lead at the half. The win set up a clash with reigning champions Clemson in the 2020 College Football National Championship Game.
Despite boasting Trevor Lawrence under center — who gave Clemson an early lead with a one-yard touchdown run — the South Carolina-based Tigers had no answer for their Louisianan counterparts.
Burrow answered Lawrence’s initial score with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Chase, before adding four more passing touchdowns and a rushing score in LSU’s 42-25 win. Burrow’s cigar celebration became an iconic image for the ages, encapsulating the laid-back cool with which he’d orchestrated the LSU offense all season.