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Trevor or Tua?

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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The debate over which quarterback is the premier player in all of college football is one that comes with historical significance

Trevor or Tua? Tua or Trevor? Given the respective resumes of the two record-setting national champions, the debate over which quarterback is the premier player in all of college football is one that comes with historical significance. Lawrence, winning a national title as a true freshman, just helped Clemson become the first 15-0 FBS team ever. Tagovailoa, a year after his championship moment, set the game's new single-season passer rating record. Already, Lawrence and Tagovailoa are both all-timers. Their stories are still being written.

If you lined all of the quarterbacks in college football up by first names alphabetically, Trevor and Tua would be standing side-by-side; the margin, as to who is the best or greatest, might still be that close.

Last season, Lawrence and Tagovailoa combined to complete 504-of-752 passes for 7,246 yards, 73 touchdowns and ten interceptions and, remarkably, playing each other after leading undefeated teams into the national championship game, 29 wins. Correspondingly, the Crimson Tide and Tigers scored the first and second-most touchdowns in the country. In an era of unprecedented pace and production, Lawrence and Tagovailoa are, somehow, still changing the status quo.

Tagovailoa's passer rating total of 199.44 edged Baker Mayfield's previous record of 198.92 and Kyler Murray's tally of 199.20 as college football's highest of all-time. This past year, Tagovailoa absolutely overwhelmed opponents, so much so that large leads, with Alabama regularly holding multi-score advantages early, were largely what slowed him down most. Despite attempting just 17 fourth quarter passes all season, Tagovailoa finished in the national top five in passing yards and second in touchdowns. He, most impressively, completed 69% of his passes, averaged 11.2 yards per attempt and threw just six picks.

Starting the final eleven games of the season, Lawrence, the number one prospect for the class of 2018, became the first true freshman to lead his team to a national title since 1985. He helped Clemson win each of its last ten games by 20 points or more, a 44-16 rout of Alabama in the College Football Playoff Final included. Lawrence, above all else, starred on the big stage; he completed 47-of-71 passes for 674 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions, pacing the Tigers to 74 total points, in a pair of resounding final four victories. Notably, he was named MVP of both the Cotton Bowl and the National Championship Game.  

Lawrence, with 347 yards passing in a famed signature showing, out-performed Tagovailoa in the spotlight of Santa Clara. It was the record-setting Tagovailoa, however, who was a consensus All-American and claimed the Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards. The two title-winning quarterbacks made history without making it to the podium to accept the Heisman Trophy. Together, Lawrence and Tagovailoa, along with Oklahoma's Kyler Murray, helped headline a season the likes of which college football had never before seen.    

Regardless of if they ever meet again, the tales of Lawrence and Tagovailoa are forever intertwined. Lawrence hoisted the national championship trophy into the air as a true freshman almost one year, to the day, after Tagovailoa did the exact same following his now-iconic final throw versus Georgia. With Lawrence, in some ways, following in Tagovailoa's footsteps, the two superstars were in an all-out sprint to college football's finish line. They are now set to be the likely number one overall picks in the 2020 and 2021 NFL Drafts, respectively.    

Clemson and Alabama are modern-day dynasties with all-time appeal. Lawrence and Tagovailoa are currently the smiling faces of that success.

Looking ahead to this fall, it's literally impossible to make an argument for anyone other than the Crimson Tide or Tigers to be ranked pre-season number one. It's equally difficult to project a playoff field, or a championship bout for that matter, without the two mainstay regulars. This is a sport downright dominated by Clemson and Alabama. Lawrence and Tagovailoa are two obvious reasons why. As they compete for even more accolades and titles, greatness continues to be framed.     

The leading narrative into kickoff focuses on two programs and, most specifically, two players. College football is captivated by Clemson and Alabama, Lawrence and Tagovailoa. Recent results demand an answer: Trevor or Tua? Tua or Trevor?

Considering their collective impact and acclaim, Trevor and Tua, Tua and Trevor, might be the more fitting phraseology instead.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports