Could Transfer Joe Burrow Finally Solve LSU’s Quarterback Problem?

joe burrow lsu

Matthew Jordan

Monday, June 11, 2018 11:32 AM UTC

Monday, Jun. 11, 2018 11:32 AM UTC

Oddsmakers aren’t very high on LSU for the 2018 college football season, but could Ohio State transfer quarterback Joe Burrow make the Tigers SEC contenders?

There’s no question that Alabama annually has the most talent of any college football team in the nation. However, if you go by simply players selected in the NFL Draft, LSU isn’t that far behind of its SEC West rival. The Tigers had seven players chosen in the 2018 draft and eight in 2017, including three first-rounders. Yet the Tide annually play for the national title, while LSU hasn’t reached double-digit victories since 2013 or beaten Alabama since Nov. 5, 2011.

What’s the biggest difference between the programs? Quarterback. LSU simply hasn’t developed a very good one in years, probably since Matt Flynn from 2003-06 (among QBs who signed right out of high school). That could change, though, as the school won the “free agent derby” for Ohio State graduate transfer Joe Burrow, a former four-star recruit. He’s eligible to play right away and most believe will win the QB job over sophomore Myles Brennan and redshirt freshman Lowell Narcisse.

Purdue transfer Danny Etling was last year’s starter for LSU and threw for 2,462 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also was flat-out terrible in losses to Mississippi State (13-for-29, 137 yards) and Alabama (12-for-26 for 137 yards and a pick). The Tigers finished 9-4 in Ed Orgeron’s first full season as head coach, losing to Notre Dame in the Citrus Bowl. Brennan played in six games as Etling’s main backup and was 14-of-24 for 182 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Orgeron has called Burrow a “game changer.” It was a minor upset that he chose LSU as most believed the Ohio native was headed to the University of Cincinnati. But Burrow liked what he heard from Orgeron, new LSU offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger and the ties for safeties coach Bill Busch was important. He was a defensive quality control assistant at Ohio State in 2015 when Burrow was being redshirted and knows Burrow's father Jimmy, a defensive coordinator at Ohio University.

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Joe Burrow is a 6-foot-3, 220-pound pro-style quarterback. He was Ohio Mr. Football in 2014, redshirted in 2015 and backed up Buckeyes superstar J.T. Barrett the past two seasons but apparently saw the writing on the wall that he wouldn’t beat out Dwayne Haskins for the starting job in 2018. Burrow, a smart kid who was named 2016 Academic All-Big Ten, got into 10 games in his career at OSU and completed 29 of 39 passes for 287 yards and two TDs while rushing for 53 yards and a score.

5Dimes gives LSU a win total of just seven, with the ‘under’ at -135. There are only 10 starters back at LSU, five on each side of the ball. Star running back Derrius Guice is among those who were drafted this year. He and backup Darrel Williams combined for 2,071 yards and 20 touchdowns and 41 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns in 2017. So that’s a lot to replace. The receiving group could be exciting, led by highly-touted freshman Terrace Marshall and Texas Tech transfer Jonathan Giles.

The Tigers’ schedule ranks as the 12th-toughest in the nation if you go by their opponents’ 2017 winning percentage. LSU opens on Sunday, Sept. 2 as a 3-point underdog in Arlington, Texas, to what should be a preseason Top 10 Miami (Fla.) team. The other three non-conference games are cupcakes: SE Louisiana, Louisiana Tech and Rice. Of course, LSU plays ever SEC West team (Bama visits Baton Rouge on Nov. 3) and both Florida and Georgia from the East Division. Orgeron’s club is +1600 to win the SEC title at BetOnline.

I’d still go over that 7-win total, presuming losses to the Hurricanes, at Auburn, vs. Georgia and vs. Alabama for an 8-4 mark. And if Burrow’s as good as some believe, maybe contending for the SEC West title.

Free NCAAF Pick: Over 7 WinsBest Line Offered: 5Dimes
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