Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List 2012: Odd Names Are the Highlight of the List

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 7, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Quarterback Matt Barkley #7 of the USC Trojans gets ready for the game with the UCLA Bruins at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

One of the latest, in terms of timing, watch list to debut is the Unitas Golden Arm Award. Named in honor of the great Johnny Unitas, whom many call the finest quarterback to ever play the game, the award is given to the season's best quarterback.

This year's watch list recently debuted, and of course, the popular names are all over the list. 

Guys like Matt Barkley of USC, Landry Jones of Oklahoma, Tajh Boyd of Clemson and Logan Thomas at Virginia Tech. Even players like Ryan Aplin of Arkansas State, Keith Price of Washington and Casey Pachall of TCU get their shine on as players to watch for in the 2012 season.

All in all, the list is a case of the "usual suspects" by and large.

Except there are several names on the list that truly are head-scratchers when it comes to being the nation's best quarterback. In the Big East, the name BJ Daniels comes to mind. No Teddy Bridgewater, the player everyone is waiting for to explode on the scene this season.

Daniels has been the picture of inconsistency during his time at South Florida, and making the All-Conference team would be a major step for the senior; being the nation's best quarterback seems a bit of a stretch. 

However, the big question mark comes with the inclusion of Nick Florence. Florence is expected to be the starting quarterback at Baylor, replacing Robert Griffin III. Florence is not wholly inexperienced, he was the starter in RGIII's stead while he was sidelined with injury in 2009. As a freshman, he threw for almost 1,800 yards, completed 62 percent of his passes and boasted an touchdown to interception ratio of 6:9.

Not exactly jaw-dropping statistics, and keep in mind it has been three years since Florence saw regular playing time. To be the best in the nation, that is a tall order.

In looking at the past winners, it seems that including Florence, Daniels and even Aplin, Price or Pachall was little more than a nicety. The Unitas Golden Arm Award is given to the big-time quarterback for a big-time program more often than not.