Power Ranking the Top 10 QBs in College Football Heading into Fall Camp
Who is the best college football quarterback heading into 2013?
Most would answer Johnny Manziel. Alabama fans would tell you that A.J. McCarron is the best quarterback to set foot on a football field ever, and the second-best quarterback in 2013 will be whoever backs up McCarron. Ohio State fans would put in their two cents regarding Braxton Miller.
So who is it? Its all about the stats for this one; numbers don't lie, and the 10 players listed have been ranked utilizing five criteria: accuracy, total yards, scoring, ball security and wins.
Some of them will be a surprise, but all of the players on this list have a shot at putting up monster numbers in 2013.
Eleven of the last 13 Heisman Trophy winners have been quarterbacks.
Someone from this list will make it 12 of the last 14.
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska—After three seasons and plenty of struggles at the head of the Nebraska offense, Martinez returns with an improved throwing motion and a need to win a big game.
Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois—Lynch's trash talk before the Orange Bowl was not enough to help NIU to a win against Florida State, but the man is talented. He rushed for 19 touchdowns on top of his 25 passing touchdowns.
Derek Carr, Fresno State—Carr is the first man out of the top 10. He's big, accurate and boasted a 37-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season.
Stephen Morris, Miami—Morris is entering his senior season at the head of an offense loaded with talent.
Connor Shaw, South Carolina—Shaw is a tricky one to read. He has immense talent, and put up decent numbers in limited time last season.
10. Rakeem Cato, Marshall
2012 Stats: 38 total touchdowns, 4,232 total yards, 69.5 percent completion rate, 11 interceptions
Team Record: 5-7
Rakeem Cato is not one of the first quarterbacks that comes to mind when entering a discussion of the best quarterbacks to take the field in 2013.
In spite of being overlooked, Cato has the tools to put up monster numbers in 2013.
Among the players on this list, only Johnny Manziel and Tajh Boyd threw for more yards, and Cato ties for fourth on this list in touchdowns, while coming in second to only San Jose State's David Fales in completion percentage.
On the downside, his 11 interceptions is too many and drags him down the list, while his teams' 5-7 record drops him even further.
Cato's big 2012 was no surprise to anyone who kept an eye on him during limited playing time in 2011, the kid can make all the throws and has a cannon.
To see him on this list is surprising, but with numbers like that, it is difficult to leave him off.
9. Braxton Miller, Ohio State
2012 Stats: 3,310 total yards, 28 total touchdowns, 58.3 percent completion rate, six interceptions
Team Record: 12-0
Ohio State fans can scream and yell all they want that Miller is too low on this list, but his stats are not the greatest.
He has the lowest completion percentage and touchdown total on this list, and the second-lowest yardage total.
If this list were based on highlight reel plays that induced drooling in college football fans across the nation, Miller would be at the top.
But it is not, so Miller sits comfortably at No. 9. While a huge season would lead to a legitimate bid for the Heisman in 2013, his numbers from 2012 leave him where he is right now.
The gripes heard about Miller's accuracy are somewhat justified, as none of the other top 10 has a lower completion percentage than 64.5.
8. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville
2012 Stats: 28 total touchdowns, 3,744 total yards, 68.5 percent completion rate, eight interceptions
Team Record: 11-2
Bridgewater is a guy who can make all the throws, has incredible downfield accuracy and has great pocket presence.
With a little luck, he could lead Louisville to an undefeated 2013, and in that scenario, he would have a legit shot at the Heisman.
Bridgewater's biggest roadblock is the weakness of his 2013 schedule.
The Cardinals are in their last season with the conference formerly known as the Big East, and their conference slate in the American Athletic Conference is less than stellar. Memphis, Houston and UCF highlight the schedule.
Out of conference, Bridgewater and his team will at least face an SEC opponent, Kentucky.
Bridgewater is going to have a difficult time making the short list of Heisman candidates with that schedule, unless he puts up otherworldly numbers.
7. Brett Hundley, UCLA
2012 Stats: 38 total touchdowns, 4,100 total yards, 66.6 percent completion rate, 11 interceptions
Team Record: 9-5
Taking into account that Brett Hundley was a freshman last season, his numbers were fantastic.
Of returning quarterbacks, Hundley was fifth in the nation in total yards last season. UCLA will have had another season to adjust to the new system and will put up solid numbers again on offense.
The Bruins, led by Hundley, have a shot at the Pac-12 South title, especially if he continues his high level of performance. His 38 total touchdowns in 2012 tie him for fourth on this list.
6. A.J. McCarron, Alabama
2012 Stats: 31 total touchdowns, 2,937 total yards, 67.2 percent completion rate, three interceptions
Team Record: 13-1
McCarron earned a spot on this list by virtue of his teams' record and his lack of interceptions.
Ball security is key to winning games, and McCarron threw only three all season, which helped lead his team to an SEC title, BCS title and 11 other wins.
Alabama fans will freak out that he is not higher on the list, but he is the only guy on this list to not accumulate more than 3,000 total yards, and guys like Johnny Manziel and Tajh Boyd gained almost 2,000 more through the course of last season.
Now, McCarron, with another good season, will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time, simply because his team continues to win, but right now, based on last season's numbers, he's not even top five.
5. David Fales, SJSU
2012 Stats: 33 total touchdowns, 4,054 total yards, 72.5 percent completion rate, nine interceptions
Team Record: 11-2
Never heard of David Fales? Not surprising, as he plays for San Jose State, and not a team with the cachet of Oklahoma, Florida or Notre Dame.
This guy is legit.
He put up the best completion percentage in the nation in 2012, while making all the throws, and leading his team to an 11-2 record.
The Spartans lost to eventual Pac-12 champion Stanford by only three points, and Fales' ability to read and react to defenses was a key component of the team's success.
In 2013, Fales and the Spartans have a shot at becoming the next "BCS Buster."
4. Marcus Mariota, Oregon
2012 Stats: 37 total touchdowns, 3,429 total yards, 68.5 percent completion rate, six interceptions
Team Record: 12-1
Mariota and his teammates were one loss to Stanford away from playing in the BCS title game in 2013.
His stats are not as high as some on this list, but he has the potential to be the best quarterback in football next season.
Consider that Mariota had 98 fewer passing attempts than Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, and whereas Manziel rushed the ball 201 times, Mariota did so 106 times.
It leads one to wonder what Mariota could do if able to play for an entire four quarters every game, something he did only twice in 2012.
Heading into the fall, Mariota sits at No. 4 but will finish the season as a Heisman finalist.
3. Aaron Murray, Georgia
2012 Stats: 39 total touchdowns, 3,825 total yards, 64.5 percent completion rate, 10 interceptions
Team Record: 12-2
Somehow, Aaron Murray and Georgia were left out of a BCS bowl game last season, in spite of their appearance in the SEC title game and a 12-2 record.
That was no fault of Murray's; his stats are tremendous. The argument could be made that Murray is the best pure passer in the nation, and Mark Richt's offense is absolutely stacked for the 2013 season.
Murray's arm strength and accuracy led to huge numbers last year, in spite of the fact that Georgia featured one of the best rushing attacks in football.
He will put up huge numbers in 2013, leading the SEC in passing yards.
2. Tajh Boyd, Clemson
2012 Stats: 46 total touchdowns, 4,410 total yards, 67.2 percent completion rate, 13 interceptions
Team Record: 11-2
Boyd's higher interception total in 2012 was completely outweighed by his touchdown and yardage totals.
His numbers are second to only Johnny Manziel of the guys on this list, and if wide receiver Sammy Watkins returns to 2011 form, he's going to have another great season in 2013.
Boyd's strength and athletic ability allow him to escape the pass rush and also to make throws that the average college football quarterback cannot.
That same strength and laser arm is what sometimes gets him into trouble with interceptions, forcing passes into coverage, but when Boyd keeps it under control, he is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.
1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
2012 Stats: 47 total touchdowns, 5,115 total yards, 68 percent completion rate, nine interceptions
Team Record: 11-2
Talk all you want about how SEC defenses have had a year to figure him out, Manziel is the best quarterback in the nation heading into 2013.
His Heisman-winning numbers will be difficult to duplicate, but his talent isn't going away.
The man is mobile, makes good reads, and is entering his second season in Kevin Sumlin's system, which will lead to a better understanding of the offense and massive production again in 2013.
Although TAMU will not beat Alabama again this season, the Aggies will win every other game by virtue of Manziel's tremendous talent.