Sporting News recently ranked the top 50 individual seasons and college football was well represented on the list.
And it wasn’t just the quarterbacks or the offensive players. Even a defensive player has proven to be so dominant that he has been included among the best of the best.
SN 50: The 50 best individual seasons of all time
The six players who produced seasons worthy of our list:
Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State (1988, No.6 overall)
LSU’s Joe Burrow (2019, # 25)
Alabama Derrick Thomas (1988, # 27)
Tony Dorsett of Pitt (1976, no 33)
Cam Newton of Auburn (2010, n Â° 46)
Tim Tebow from Florida (2007, # 49)
Sporting News college football writer Bill Bender wrote an essay on Burrow’s magical season that won him a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship:
Local boy does good
You are not supposed to cheer on players in the press box.
Joe Burrow made that nearly impossible in 2019. Burrow had 5,671 yards and 60 touchdowns to lead LSU to a national championship that season, which ranked No. 25 in the 50 greatest seasons in the history of the sport from Sporting News.
It’s been a college football quarterback’s best season. Some might take Cam Newton in Auburn in 2010 or Tim Tebow in Florida in 2007. That’s good.
Burrow is the guy. Originally from Athens, Ohio, he grew up an hour from my hometown of Lancaster. I went to college in his hometown. It represents the “740” and everything that comes with that tag. He is everything the children of this region learn to be.
Burrow walked that line between confidence and arrogance to perfection. My buddies texted me firsthand accounts of his high school matches in high school in Athens. He was Mr. Football, and we’ve known them all since the 1990s. For Ohio U graduates, we wanted him in the MAC knowing full well he was too good for that. Most of the texts had a simple message:
“When Burrow gets the chance, be carefulâ¦”
Burrow is our guy. We wanted this throughout his career at Ohio State. When will he have this chance? I was thinking that after Burrow’s last assist at the Spring 2018 game for the Buckeyes.
âI didn’t come here to sit on the bench for four years,â Burrow said afterward. “I know I’m a pretty good quarterback. I want to play somewhere.”
Of course, Dwayne Haskins won the job. Burrow transferred, and it took LSU two years to see what we knew was possible. The Tigers hired Joe Brady as the passing game coordinator, and Burrow arrived in the Big Easy with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase.
Burrow lit up Alabama’s No.1 for 393 yards and three touchdowns in a 43-38 win in the Game of the Century, but it wasn’t Heisman time. It was the acceptance speech itself, where Burrow shed light on the impoverished area of ââsoutheastern Ohio in which he grew up. It was Heisman’s best speech ever. The response he generated was somehow better.
For 40-year-olds like me who could slip into Uncle Rico at times (i.e. all the time), Burrow was the guy we wanted to grow up. He is also the perfect model for our children. My son Grant became a huge fan and shot me with a Nerf gun during a phone interview with Burrow just to get the quarterback’s attention.
Burrow burst out laughing. So yeah, watching Burrow reset the record books against Clemson in the CFP Championship game was tough. Not for Burrow. He lit up Clemson in a 42-25 win and I spent most of the second half trying to figure out how many records would be the new gold standard for a single QB season. It’s been an amazing season because he finally got that chance.
Afterward, everyone remembers Burrow smoking a cigar, but I remember Burrow thanking everyone from Ohio to Louisiana for his trip to the top. He handled it all with grace, and the best part is that he came home as the No.1 pick for Cincinnati. Grant and I are wearing that “740” shirt he wore on draft night, even though I’m not a Bengals fan.
I’ll always be a Joe Burrow fan, however.
It’s just a lot easier to cheer on when you’re not in the press room.