10 QBs College Football Fans Should Know More About Before Bowl Season
The college football bowl season kicks off in less than a week and then it will trickle down with a total of 35 bowl games for the next month. This is truly one of the most exciting times of the year, as not only is there great football being played almost every day, but also it gives the college football world a chance to get to know players it usually wouldn't get to see.
Take the quarterback position for example. With many teams participating in the events, there are plenty of names that we can throw out there that you wouldn't hear very often. As a fan, I'm sure you get tired of hearing about guys such as Matt Barkley, Geno Smith and Tyler Wilson.
There are plenty of other guys out there that are putting up spectacular numbers and playing well. (Hint, that's why their team is playing in a bowl game.) These guys deserve some love as well and could even make all of the difference in the world in pulling off a college football bowl upset.
Here are 10 quarterbacks that you should know about before the bowl season takes place.
Cody Fajardo, Nevada
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Cody Fajardo is one of the younger quarterbacks on this list, as this is only his second season leading Nevada on the offensive side of the ball. Still, he is completing nearly 67 percent of his passes and has only had one game all year where he failed to pass for over 200 yards.
And while he has proven to be an effective passer, Fajardo is also second on the team with 981 rushing yards. The sophomore is an exciting quarterback, who is a big reason the Wolf Pack are 20th in the country in scoring offense.
Although Nevada has lost four of its last five games, having a playmaker such as Fajardo gives the team a shot in the game against Arizona.
Sure, the Wildcats have been more consistent throughout the year, Fajardo is somebody that can take over a game and pull off a minor upset in the bowl season.
Derek Carr, Fresno State
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If Derek Carr was playing against better competition, instead of playing in the MWC, the junior would have likely been a Heisman candidate this season.
His 3,742 passing yards is good for eighth in the country, while his 36 passing touchdowns were tied with USC quarterback Matt Barkley. The difference in the two quarterbacks is that Carr only threw five interceptions all season long, making him by far the more effective player this year.
If the name Carr happens to ring a bell, it is because he is the younger brother of David Carr, who happened to be the first overall pick in the 2002 NFL draft.
The Fresno State quarterback is somebody that is getting better as the years go by and could lead the Bulldogs to their first bowl win since 2007.
Sean Renfree, Duke
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If Duke is going to end the bowl winless streak that dates back to 1960, it is going to come down to the quarterback play of Sean Renfree. With the Blue Devils' running game ranked 107th in the country, this is an offense that relies heavily on the passing ability of its senior.
Renfree completed 66.3 percent of his passes this year and set a new career high with 18 passing touchdowns. The overall statistics of the Duke quarterback haven't exactly been sexy, but he does have the tools to be effective and could pull off an upset over Cincinnati.
At 6'5", 225 pounds, Renfree has the size and a strong enough arm to receive attention from NFL teams in the later rounds of next year’s draft.
Again, don't expect the gaudy numbers from the Blue Devils quarterback, but he is somebody to watch out for when they take on the Bearcats.
Nick Florence, Baylor
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There weren't many players that had bigger shoes to fill than Baylor quarterback Nick Florence, as he had the task of replacing Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin.
Bears fans didn't expect much when he became the starting quarterback, but he has played surprisingly well for somebody who rode the bench for two years.
In fact, Florence led the Big 12 with 4,121 passing yards, and his 31 touchdowns were third in the pass-happy conference. Another thing that may go unnoticed is his 531 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. He is certainly not to be confused with last year’s Baylor starting quarterback, but he is more than capable of making plays with his legs.
Overall, what Florence has been able to do deserves some credit, as the Bears have made a bowl game for the third straight season, which is the first time in program history.
Do not sleep on Baylor in the game against UCLA.
Kolton Browning, Louisiana-Monroe
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Remember that Louisiana-Monroe team that upset Arkansas and kept things close against Auburn and Baylor?
Well, the team has gone bowling and will end up playing Ohio in the Independence Bowl.
One of the main reasons the Warhawks have been so good this year is because of the quarterback play of Kolton Browning. He passed for 2,830 yards and led the Sun Belt with 27 touchdowns thrown. He also happened to lead his team with 441 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
Louisiana-Monroe is not a team that is going to run the ball effectively, but because of Browning lighting it up in the air, the Warhawks are averaging 35 points per game.
The junior quarterback has led this program to its first bowl game in the history of the program.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
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Trevone Boykin took over as the starting quarterback for TCU once Casey Pachall decided he was going to leave the program in the middle of the season.
The freshman quarterback has really matured over the weeks and has provided the Horned Frogs with a light at the end of the tunnel at the quarterback position.
He still needs to make better decisions with the football and become more accurate, but Boykin has produced 17 plays of over 25 yards. In five of the seven games that he has thrown more than 10 passes, Boykin has thrown for more than 200 yards in five of those contests.
Boykin is an athletic quarterback that is capable of buying himself extra time in the pocket and can really sling the ball with extreme velocity.
It will be fun watching the young quarterback start in a bowl game against Michigan State, as he could soon become one of the better quarterbacks in the Big 12 Conference.
Mike Glennon, North Carolina State
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Mike Glennon is not only a quarterback that has quietly emerged in the ACC, but also he has improved his draft stock considerably throughout the year. Teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs may be taking a hard look at the senior quarterback during the offseason.
Glennon and his 3,648 passing yards led the ACC, as he threw for over 300 yards four times this year. He finished second in the conference with 30 passing touchdowns, which includes 10 in the last three games combined.
The North Carolina State senior quarterback has the size and the arm strength to be picked within the first four rounds of next year’s NFL draft. Glennon also has the ability to become a difference-maker and lead his team to victory over the Vanderbilt Commodores.
A bowl victory would mark the third straight bowl wins in as many years for the Wolfpack.
Devin Gardner, Michigan
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It is unknown if Denard Robinson will start in the bowl game against South Carolina.
The senior hasn't played the quarterback position for a while because of a nerve injury. Whether it is Robinson playing running back or quarterback, you will still likely see Devin Gardner running the offense at some point.
The junior quarterback has done quite well the last four games as the starter. Despite not playing in any other games throughout the year until Robinson got hurt, Gardner is completing 63 percent of his passes and has thrown eight touchdowns.
Much like Robinson, he is a mobile quarterback, but he is much more accurate and can hurt defenses with his arm. He is still learning to make better decisions with the football, but he is an exciting quarterback to watch play.
Gardner will likely be the full-time starting quarterback next year for the Wolverines, so it is important to keep an eye on him against the Gamecocks.
Ryan Aplin, Arkansas State
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Maybe it was the brilliant play-calling of head coach Gus Malzahn, or maybe it was just an experienced quarterback taking a head step forward.
Whatever the case may be, Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin was great this year for the Red Wolves.
The senior quarterback completed nearly 68 percent of his passes, threw for over 3,000 yards and had 23 touchdown passes. Aplin, who already holds pretty much every quarterback record at Arkansas State, has really improved his decision-making and has become a force on the football field.
Aplin has thrown at least two touchdowns in seven games this season and has topped 250 passing yards in six.
He is really a quarterback that is capable of pulling off an upset against a team like Kent State.
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
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Unless you willing to take a leap of faith and make a bold prediction, there is no way you see Northern Illinois beating Florida State in the Discover Orange Bowl. However, if the Huskies do have a slight chance, it will come down to quarterback Jordan Lynch playing out of his mind.
The junior quarterback leads his team in passing and rushing yards. He has thrown for 2,962 yards and 24 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,771 yards and 19 touchdowns. You don't need to hear anymore to know that he is the heart of this offense.
Lynch is also a motivated quarterback that will be playing the bowl game with a chip on his shoulder.
Will any of this help?
I have no idea.
I do know that he is capable of making plays and could be a tough cover for the Seminoles. He also gives college football fans a reason to watch what could turn into the most lopsided BCS bowl game of recent memory.