Jordan Jefferson served as LSU's backup quarterback in his freshman season before taking over the starting job as a sophomore. Since his sophomore season up until now, the LSU Tigers have a combined record of 31-6. Jefferson has played an integral role in helping lead the Tigers to the national championship this season, but it hasn't been the smoothest of paths for Jefferson.
Jefferson was involved in an offseason bar fight, which occurred right before the start of this season, and he was charged with second-degree battery. Due to his actions, Jefferson was dismissed from the team indefinitely, and backup Jarrett Lee took over the quarterback duties.
Lee played strong during his time as the team's starter, but Jefferson returned in the team's Oct. 1 game at Kentucky and slowly built up his coaches' and teammates' trust.
In the "Game of the Century," which was the first matchup between LSU and Alabama, Jefferson came in and outplayed Lee in every aspect of the game. He completed 60 percent of his passes and added 43 yards rushing in a game that was a defensive battle from start to finish.
From that point on, Jefferson won over the coaching staff and he has been the starter ever since.
Yet, despite Jefferson's outstanding senior season, he continues to be ignored and not considered one of the main reasons for LSU's continued success this season.
To understand how valuable Jefferson has been to this team over his four-year career, let's break down what he has done during his time in Baton Rouge.
In addition to his 31-6 record, Jefferson has passed for over 4,600 yards and 33 touchdowns in four years. He has also rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, which is what makes him stand out above other quarterbacks.
This national championship game features two good but not elite quarterbacks. However, to say that these two quarterbacks are equal in skill and their resumes are comparable is near absurd.
A.J. McCarron has no doubt been successful in his first year as a starter, but 11 wins in a season is in no way comparable to 31 wins in a career. Of course, we will see how Jefferson plays in the biggest game of his career on the biggest stage. But when it comes down to it, Jefferson's experience could very well be the deciding factor in the title game.
Before we criticize Jefferson for his inconsistent play, remember that 31 wins in a college career is no easy task. If he can push that number to 32, all that criticism should be thrown out the door for good.