In a recent article for the Arizona Daily Star, columnist Greg Hansen pegged the Arizona Wildcats as no different from Colorado or Washington State without star quarterback Matt Scott. Here is an excerpt from Hansen's piece:
Minus Matt Scott, Arizona is Colorado. That's the personnel difference between the two teams: a skilled quarterback.
That should tell you two things. One, how important quarterbacking is in football and, two, how well Rich Rodriguez and his staff have coached this season.
They have done so well in covering up deficiencies, everywhere, that one of the major dailies in Los Angeles referred to UCLA's victory over Arizona as a "signature win."
That's pretty funny. Arizona is Wazzu with better quarterbacking.
To place Hansen's comments in proper perspective, take a moment to contrast Arizona and Colorado.
Arizona (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) has spent three weeks ranked in at least one national poll, boasts signature wins over Oklahoma State and USC, and sits one win shy of bowl eligibility.
Colorado (1-8, 1-5 Pac-12) has been routinely taken to the woodshed. Their average margin of defeat exceeds 30 points, including a 55-point shellacking at the hands of Fresno State. Their only win comes against lowly Washington State (2-7, 0-6).
Hansen asserts that the difference between a soon-to-be bowl eligible team with multiple quality wins and the laughing stock of the Pac-12 is one Matt Scott.
If Scott truly is the difference between the two, invaluable wouldn't begin to describe him.
Unfortunately for Wildcats fans, Hansen's assessment may be immediately put to the test. Scott suffered a concussion in Arizona's embarrassing defeat at the Rose Bowl and is, by most accounts, unlikely to play against Colorado on Saturday.
While Hansen’s comments are a bit blown out of proportion—the Wildcats do have excellent skill position players on offense and a proven coach—the point remains: Scott is irreplaceable.
Despite his value to the Wildcats, Scott rarely receives mention as one of the nation's elite at his position. His numbers, however, are elite. So is his impact on an otherwise paper-thin roster.
Read on to find out five reasons why Matt Scott is unequivocally the most underrated quarterback in the nation.