College Football's 20 Best QB Battles to Watch in 2012 Fall Camp

Alex CallosCorrespondent IJuly 29, 2012

College Football's 20 Best QB Battles to Watch in 2012 Fall Camp

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    The quarterback position is without question the most important on the football field.

    While it is not necessary for a team to have a star quarterback to win a national championship, it certainly does not hurt.

    There are some quarterback positions at big-time programs that are undecided heading into fall camp.

    These jobs are still up in the air, and the decision of who to start by the head coaches will go a long way toward determining the success of their team.

    Here are 20 quarterback position battles to watch out for in the coming weeks.

20. Kentucky: Morgan Newton vs. Maxwell Smith

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    Kentucky struggled for most of last season, and part of that was due to the inconsistent quarterback play.

    The two men vying for the starting position are Morgan Newton and Maxwell Smith. Both saw action last season, but neither was too impressive.

    Newton passed for 793 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. Smith, on the other hand, threw for only four touchdowns with four picks.

    This one is a toss-up heading into camp.

19. Arizona State: Mike Bercovici vs. Michael Eubank

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    New head coach Todd Graham will certainly have his hands full next season with the Sun Devils. His first big decision will be choosing a quarterback.

    Sophomore Mike Bercovici was listed as the No. 2 quarterback last season, but he only threw three passes all year.

    Redshirt freshman Michael Eubank might be somebody who could step in and steal the job.

    Either way, this one is completely up for grabs.

18. Rutgers: Chas Dodd vs. Gary Nova

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    Rutgers may have one of the most talented teams in the Big East, and last year they had two quarterbacks who shared snaps.

    Chas Dodd and Gary Nova shared snaps for most of last season, with Dodd throwing for 10 touchdowns and 1,574 yards. Nova, on the other hand, passed for 11 touchdowns and 1,553 yards.

    New head coach Kyle Flood will have to decide whether to choose Dodd and his experience or pick the potential of Nova.

17. Iowa State: Jared Barnett vs. Steele Jantz

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    This quarterback race is one of the more heated in all of college football. A big decision looms in the coming weeks.

    Last season, Jared Barnett took over for Steele Jantz after he went down with an injury.

    As one of the more closely-contested battles in the country, this one is coming down to the wire and could even go into the season with how equal these two are.

16. Mississippi State: Tyler Russell vs. Dak Prescott

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    Mississippi State has a lot to replace, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, and whoever they choose as quarterback will have his hands full.

    The front runner may be junior Tyler Russell, who finished last season with 1,034 yards and eight touchdowns while making four starts for Chris Reif.

    The competition will come from redshirt freshman Dak Prescott, who may have the most potential on the team, but the experience of Russell will likely prevail.

15. Washington State: Connor Halliday vs. Jeff Tuel

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    Mike Leach is another head coach who will have a decision to make as far as the quarterback position is concerned.

    Jeff Tuel appears to be the front runner, but he was injured for most of last season. He did throw for 18 touchdowns and 2,780 yards in 2010. 

    The dark horse here is Connor Halliday, who threw for nearly 960 yards and nine touchdowns in limited action last season.

14. Purdue: Robert Marve vs. Caleb TerBush

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    This could even be a three-way battle, with Rob Henry also getting involved. Still, the man with the best chance could be Caleb TerBush. 

    TerBush started all 13 games last season, but he only threw for 13 touchdowns and 1,905 yards.

    Henry missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and Marve is also coming off a knee injury.

    The health of these two men will likely help decide the starter.

13. Cincinnati: Munchie Legaux vs. Brendon Kay

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    Munchie Legaux appears to be the favorite here, as he stepped in for the injured Zach Collaros last season.

    Kay has suffered through numerous injuries during his time at Cincinnati, and now he appears healthy entering his fifth season in the program.

    He has a much better arm than Legaux, but is not nearly as mobile as the junior Legaux.

    This will be a battle throughout, but Kay needs to have an impressive camp in order to overtake Legaux.

12. Miami: Stephen Morris vs. Ryan Williams

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    Jacory Harris is finally out of Miami. Now, they will have to find somebody to replace him.

    There are two true freshmen who are in the mix, but the real battle will take place between Memphis transfer Ryan Williams and Stephen Morris.

    Williams was the starter at Memphis in 2010. He passed for 13 touchdowns and 2,075 yards.

    Morris is recovering from an injury, but he is still the favorite.

11. Texas A&M: Jameill Showers vs. Johnny Manziel

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    Texas A&M will have to replace the talented Ryan Tannehill. New head coach Kevin Sumlin will have his work cut out for him.

    The two favorites appear to be sophomore Jameill Showers and redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel.

    Showers only threw five passes last season, but he is also a threat on the ground.

    He appears to be the early favorite for this one.

10. UCLA: Kevin Prince vs. Richard Brehaut

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    This is a battle that could change throughout the year, with Kevin Prince as the most likely to earn the starting nod at the beginning of the season.

    Richard Brehaut passed for 948 yards with six touchdowns last season in limited action, but Prince was the starter for most of the year.

    This could flip-flop throughout the season, but Prince is likely to win the job for Week 1.

9. Wisconsin: Joe Brennan vs. Joel Stave

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    Replacing Russell Wilson is not something that is easy to do.

    Right now, the battle for the No. 1 spot is up for grabs. The two healthy quarterbacks are Joe Brennan and Joel Stave.

    Sophomore Brennan may be the slight favorite, even though he only passed for 48 yards a year ago. Stave has not seen any collegiate action, but he still has a shot to overtake Brennan before the season begins.

8. Oklahoma State: Clint Chelf vs. Wes Lunt

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    It would appear that Clint Chelf is the favorite, as he served as the backup last season to Brandon Weeden.

    That may not be the case, however. Chelf threw for 520 yards and five touchdowns in limited action last season, but the junior will have his work cut out for him as incoming freshman Wes Lunt will find himself in the mix.

    Chelf should be able to hold on, but Lunt will be on his heels throughout the season.

7. Boise State: Joe Southwick vs. Grant Hedrick

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    The hunt to replace Kellen Moore may be more than just a two-person battle, but the leaders appear to be junior Joe Southwick and sophomore Grant Hedrick.

    Southwick saw action in over half of the games last season as a backup. Hedrick also saw limited action.

    The edge here looks like it will go to Southwick, but it is still hard to tell at this point.

6. Auburn: Kiehl Frazier vs. Clint Moseley

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    This battle may already be over, as sophomore Kiehl Frazier appears to be the front runner heading into fall camp.

    Moseley may be the safer bet, but if the Tigers are going to have a chance to contend in the SEC, they are going to need a quarterback with the upside of Frazier to lead them.

    Odds are he will win the job and the Tigers will be just fine in 2012.

5. Stanford: Brett Nottingham vs. Josh Nunes

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    Stanford has the unenviable task of replacing Andrew Luck, and it might fall into the hands of Brett Nottingham.

    Nottingham was the backup last season, but he only threw eight passes, completing five of them.

    Nunes, on the other hand, has only thrown two career passes, but he will be competition for Nottingham heading into the season.

    This one could go either way, with Nottingham holding the slight edge.

4. Notre Dame: Tommy Rees vs. Andrew Hendrix

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    The Notre Dame quarterback battle could include not only Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix, but also true freshman Gunner Kiel and redshirt freshman Everett Golson.

    However, the start of the season will likely feature either Hendrix or Rees under center.

    Having thrown for 2,871 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, Rees is the favorite, but he could lose the job to Hendrix if he stumbles at any point.

3. Florida: Jacoby Brissett vs. Jeff Driskel

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    Florida struggled mightily at the quarterback position last year, and that could be part of the reason they only won seven games.

    Both Brissett and Driskel were very highly-regarded recruits, and neither of them have really lived up to expectations as of yet.

    With a little more upside, Brissett appears to be the favorite to win this one.

2. Oregon: Bryan Bennett vs. Marcus Mariota

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    Oregon can't go wrong no matter what they decide. It appears that Bryan Bennett is in the lead, but this could still go either way.

    Bennett passed for 369 yards and six touchdowns while rushing for 200 yards a year ago.

    Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has a ton of talent and could certainly challenge Bennett for the starting job.

1. Texas: Case McCoy vs. David Ash

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    The battle for the starting job at Texas has certainly been the most talked about among all of the quarterback controversies in the country.

    For a while, it appeared that David Ash was far ahead, particularly after spring practice, but he did throw eight interceptions and only four touchdowns last season.

    His ability to use his legs still makes this his job to lose.