LSU may be the No. 1 team in the country, according to the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll. But according to the rankings that matter, the College Football Playoff rankings, that honor belongs to the Ohio State Buckeyes. By default, some would say that Ohio State has the best quarterback in the country in Justin Fields.
It would be a pretty flimsy argument. But as it turns out, Justin Fields may very well be the best quarterback in the country. He certainly made a case for himself against Michigan on Saturday afternoon.
It was his first time playing in ‘The Big Game,’ but he certainly made a lasting impression on Ohio State’s much-hated rival, the Michigan Wolverines. Fields guided the Buckeyes to their eighth win over Michigan with a dominant performance that resulted in a 56-27 victory.
How dominant? Fields only threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns. But his dominance wasn’t just in the statistical sense. The best quarterbacks know how to lead and inspire their team. They know how to encourage their teammates to strive for greatness rather than be satisfied with just being good.
Fields certainly did that late in the third quarter when he went down with a knee injury (he re-aggravated a sprained MCL). He returned to the field moments later with a bigger knee brace so that he could make one more touchdown throw:
He capped his incredible day off by enduring himself to Ohio State fans forever and making sure he will never be welcome in Michigan:
So, he is definitely one of the greatest Ohio State quarterbacks…
Ohio State’s star defensive lineman Chase Young certainly seems to think so. After the game he had this to say about his team’s quarterback :
I think he’s the best quarterback in the country … He’s definitely leading us right now.
He is going to be a little biased, of course, as is Ohio State head coach Ryan Day. But the take Day had on the play of his quarterback after the game certainly puts the potential greatness of Fields into perspective:
To be fair, Day is going to be even more biased than Young—but he isn’t wrong. At the same time, many will argue Fields is not great. It is easy to look great with guys like J.K. Dobbins, who had 200+ yards and four touchdowns against Michigan, helping out.
They will also point to some of the other great quarterbacks in college football. Is he better than Tua Tagovailoa? What about LSU quarterback Joe Burrow?
Burrow had another fantastic day with 352 yards and three touchdowns against Texas A&M. Statistically speaking, Burrow is better. He has produced much more than Fields has this season, but he has had the help of some great players as well (i.e., Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson).
While Burrow may have better personal numbers, Ohio State leads the nation in scoring with 49.9 points a game this season. LSU is second with 48.7.
A player’s numbers do paint a picture of his own relative greatness. His impact on those around him paints an even better view of it. But how do you quantify it? How do you measure that so we can judge if one guy is having a more significant impact on his team than another?
So, how do we figure out who is greater, Justin Fields or Joe Burrow? The answer is actually pretty simple—you don’t. Why rank one over the other when you can just appreciate them both for being the great players that they are.