Best of the Bunch: Quarterbacks
Written by Curt Popejoy on 06/30/2010
Last year, I lumped my quarterbacks and running backs together for my best of the bunch articles, but this year, the groups are so different I felt like it was only fair to both groups to give each their own breakdown. Obviously, when I look at the best quarterback unit in the nation, I have to give some consideration to depth, but let’s be honest. The best quarterbacks in the nation are the reason their team wins or loses and as much as we’d like to say that the backups can come in and the teams won’t miss a beat, we know it isn’t true.
Also for this exercise, I am not considering NFL potential. Some of the most dominant and successful quarterbacks in the history of college football have never amounted to a hill of beans in the NFL, so don’t expect this list to jive with my positional rankings. In fact, you will see later this week, I will be releasing my top 25 lists for each position just ranking them as college players, not as NFL prospects. It’s not just about who can be a high draft pick, when I discuss the best quarterback in college football.
For me, this is really a 4 horse race. The name everyone is talking about is Washington’s Jake Locker. I suspect as sick we all were of Tim Tebow mania, that will pale in comparison to the Jake Locker Lovefest as he marches toward the no.1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. But just how good a college QB is he? Last season was his first in a pro style offense and he was up and down. In fact as the year went on, his production dipped and you could see him regressing. I have no doubt he’ll be better this year, and for a potential high draft pick, another year in a pro style offense will make a world of difference. But there is no way he’s the best quarterback in the country. By the end of the season, he could be for sure, but right now, not so much.
Next is Arkansas. I don’t just say Ryan Mallett, because with a player like Tyler Wilson on the roster, you can almost bet that there will be some snaps for him this upcoming season. Wilson is a good hybrid type player and pairs up nicely with Mallett. But for as much of a man crush I have on Mallett’s NFL potential, if we are judging his unit solely on college play, it’s a tough spot. Mainly because Mallett showed last year he can break your heart with some games with a low completion percentage and some ints. You mix in an injury and even with the potential of Wilson, I can’t give the nod to the Razorbacks although I do expect Mallett and the Razorbacks to put up some great numbers this year..
Third on this list, or 2nd I suppose is the University of Houston led by Case Keenum. The Houston offense is a wide open spread attack that focuses on turning short throws into long plays and racks up obscene statistics. While I don’t think Keenum has a prayer in the NFL, if we are looking at dominant college play, Keenum and Houston is going to be tough to compete with. And because of the system they run at Houston, who is under center is less important. I really don’t see another team approaching the passing stats that Houston is going to put up.
While all three of these schools have fascinating and dynamic playmakers at quarterback, in the final analysis, I have to look at the team whose quarterback is going to be the focal point of the offense, put up huge numbers and at the same time lead his team to a lot of wins. For that I look North to Boise, and to Kellen Moore. I’ve already predicted that Moore will win the Heisman trophy so it’s a logical conclusion that he be a part of the best QB unit in the country. Over 7,000 yards passing in his first two years, with a 13-1 touchdown to interception ratio is impressive enough, but his 26-1 record as a starter is absurd. There is no quarterback in the country who does what Moore does. He’s an absolute perfect fit for that Broncos offense, and shows the poise and leadership that you just can’t coach. When I'm talking about quarterbacks, Boise State led by Kellen Moore is the Best of the Bunch.
Rounding out the Top Ten
5. Missouri (Blaine Gabbert)
6. Ohio State (Terrell Pryor)
7. Nevada (Colin Kapernick)
8. Oklahoma (Landry Jones)
9. USC (Matt Barkley)
10. Florida State (Christian Ponder)
Last Edited: 06/29/2010