Ranking Top 10 College Football QBs Heading into Week 5

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IISeptember 23, 2013

Ranking Top 10 College Football QBs Heading into Week 5

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    The best college football quarterbacks aren't always the best passers. When ranking the field, you have to factor in rushing ability. After all, that one element defines the collegiate game as much as anything else.

    But being able to run the ball doesn't mean a quarterback belongs among the nation's elite. Having the ability to perform well in both regards is what distances the truly great signal-callers from the rest.

    Playing for a top contender doesn't hurt. With expectations as big as they are, these are the quarterbacks with the most pressure to succeed.

    We'll take a look at the best quarterbacks as we head into the fifth week of the season. This could change as the competition gets tougher, but this is where things sit as of now.

The Next 5

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    15. Sean Mannion, Oregon State

    2013 Stats: 71.5 percent completion rate, 15 total touchdowns, 1,556 total yards, one interception, 169.5 rating

    Team Record: 3-1 

    Sean Mannion has had an extra game on many QBs to pile up stats, but he has gotten it done for the Oregon State Beavers. The Beavs are a surprising 3-1 to start the 2013 season, thanks largely to the arm of their star quarterback.


    14. Keith Price, Washington

    2013 Stats: 77 percent completion rate, eight total touchdowns, 896 total yards, one interception, 186.1 rating

    Team Record: 3-0

    Keith Price doesn't have video-game stats like some of the other quarterbacks in this ranking, but he does have the Washington Huskies ranked in the Top 25 and an impressive showing to boast about to this point.


    13. C.J. Brown, Maryland

    2013 Stats: 66.3 percent completion rate, 13 total touchdowns, 1,333 total yards, one interception, 177.9 rating

    Team Record: 4-0

    C.J. Brown has the Maryland Terrapins undefeated after their first four games. His threat as a passer is only equaled by his explosive ability in the team’s rushing game.

    12. Bryce Petty, Baylor

    2013 Stats: 74.6 percent completion rate, 10 total touchdowns, 1,038 total yards, no interceptions, 239.5 rating

    Team Record: 3-0

    The Baylor Bears haven't played anyone of note yet, but quarterback Bryce Petty has led them to three consecutive wins of more than 55 points. That's impressive no matter who you're playing.


    11. Braxton Miller/Kenny Guiton, Ohio State

    Miller’s 2013 Stats: 70.8 percent completion rate, two total touchdowns, 290 total yards, one interception, 162.8 rating

    Guiton’s 2013 Stats: 68.4 percent completion rate, 14 total touchdowns, 850 total yards, two interceptions, 168.1 rating

    Team Record: 4-0

    It was tempting to leave both of these Ohio State quarterbacks off the list altogether. If not for Braxton Miller's injury, he might be much higher on the rankings, but it's impossible to know for sure. What's not impossible to realize is that Kenny Guiton has been on a tear in two starts he's had, leading the Buckeyes to easy wins in Miller's absence.

10. Zach Mettenberger, LSU

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    2013 Stats: 64.8 percent completion rate, 10 total touchdowns, 1,025 total yards, one interception, 193.6 rating

    Team Record: 4-0


    The LSU Tigers have continued to be dominant at rushing the football down the throats of their opponents. They have run the ball for 220.8 yards per game and averaged 5.4 yards per carry.

    Operating under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, Zach Mettenberger has risen to the occasion. He's throwing the ball much more efficiently than the 58.8 percent mark he achieved a season ago.

    His coaching staff's increased trust in him is apparent. After throwing for just over 2,600 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, Mettenberger already has over 1,000 yards passing and 10 touchdowns through just three games.

9. AJ McCarron, Alabama

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    2013 Stats: 64.1 percent completion rate, six total touchdowns, 672 total yards, two interceptions, 160 rating

    Team Record: 3-0


    Calling AJ McCarron a "game manager" is a tricky endeavor. The quarterback has continually made big plays when the Alabama Crimson Tide need him most, dispelling some of that idea in the process.

    His stat line might not be as impressive as the rest of the quarterbacks in this ranking—some below him on the list—but McCarron operates the Crimson Tide's offense perfectly.

    After all, he's the quarterback of the defending back-to-back national champs and has the team in position to make another run this winter.

8. Jameis Winston, Florida State

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    2013 Stats: 78.1 percent completion rate, 10 total touchdowns, 762 total yards, one interception, 210.5 rating

    Team Record: 3-0


    Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston exploded onto the national scene after recording one of the best first starts in recent memory. His 92.6 completion percentage in that win over Pittsburgh was the highest in Florida State history.

    That's quite an accomplishment for a young quarterback seeing his first action at the next level. While he has come back down to earth some over the past two weeks, Winston is still proving why pundits were raving about his potential prior to the season.

    The Florida State Seminoles won't live or die by Winston's performance due to their stout rushing game, but he has helped them seamlessly bridge the gap after EJ Manuel's departure.

7. Brett Hundley, UCLA

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    2013 Stats: 66.3 percent completion rate, 10 total touchdowns, 1,005 total yards, three interceptions, 165.9 rating

    Team Record: 3-0


    Brett Hundley has started out right where he left off at the end of 2012. The UCLA Bruins are rolling with their star signal-caller, putting up 52.7 points per game through three contests, third-best in the nation.

    Trailing Nebraska by 18 points two weeks ago, Hundley brought his team back with three touchdown throws and continual clutch plays to keep the Bruins undefeated heading into conference play.

    He's a threat to take off and run at any moment, but his ability to play pocket passer has him in a good position to lead UCLA to a top finish in the Pac-12 this year.

6. Derek Carr, Fresno State

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    2013 Stats: 68.9 percent completion rate, 12 total touchdowns, 1,164 total yards, one interception, 149.2 rating

    Team Record: 3-0


    The Fresno State Bulldogs boast the nation's sixth-best passing attack with 374.7 passing yards per game. Credit that to standout quarterback Derek Carr's incredible start to the season.

    Carr has the Bulldogs rolling after his heroics helped the team defeat Boise State to take control of the Mountain West Conference's top spot. Trailing in the fourth quarter, Carr engineered a 13-play, 87-yard drive to give his team a late advantage. He passed for 460 yards and threw four touchdowns in the win.

    If Carr can keep up this level of play, the Bulldogs will undoubtedly be in position for an at-large BCS bowl bid at the end of the season.

5. Tajh Boyd, Clemson

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    2013 Stats: 62.2 percent completion rate, nine total touchdowns, 773 total yards, no interceptions, 148 rating

    Team Record: 3-0


    Stats can be deceiving sometimes. When judging quarterbacks, you have to take into account other factors as well. Tajh Boyd is one of those exceptions.

    The Clemson Tigers are sitting in the Top Five of the AP and USA Today polls thanks to Boyd and a rushing attack that is blossoming. Boyd's been a part of that to an extent, but the real damage he's capable of doing comes in the passing game.

    He's missed a bit of action due to an injury, but Boyd is among the best in the land and has yet to throw an interception. That's a big improvement after he was picked off 13 times a season ago.

4. Aaron Murray, Georgia

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    2013 Stats: 72 percent completion rate, nine total touchdowns, 1,051 total yards, two interceptions, 201.8 rating

    Team Record: 2-1


    Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs could have rolled over and checked out of their 2013 season after losing their opener to Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers. Instead, quarterback Aaron Murray exploded to help them knock off SEC rival South Carolina in their second matchup.

    Now, Murray is piling up the stats and bolstering his NFL draft resume despite losing star receiver Malcolm Mitchell for the season.

    It's possible the Dawgs will end up in a BCS bowl if Murray continues to play at the high level he's currently at. Then again, the road to the BCS goes through a tough SEC schedule. We'll see if he can get them through that gauntlet.

3. Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

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    2013 Stats: 71.8 percent completion rate, 14 total touchdowns, 1,250 total yards, one interception, 204.7 rating

    Team Record: 4-0


    Don't blame Teddy Bridgewater for playing the schedule the Louisville Cardinals have been dealt. On their remaining slate, they have no opponents currently in the Top 25.

    You can't take away the things he does on the football field, no matter how you evaluate the competition he's playing against. It wouldn't be fair.

    Bridgewater has been surgical to this point while leading the Cards to a 4-0 start. His accuracy and ball placement are visions of beauty, only matched by his poise in the pocket. You won't find a better pocket passer in the nation than Teddy B.

2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon

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    2013 Stats: 59.8 percent completion rate, 11 total touchdowns, 1,151 total yards, no interceptions, 179 rating

    Team Record: 3-0


    Marcus Mariota has a pretty strong argument for the top spot in these rankings. The Oregon quarterback is an electric athlete who has the Ducks in the national title conversation.

    But the Ducks' high-powered offense could use a better passing effort from its quarterback. Mariota struggled early on with his completion rate, but he's beginning to come around to become more of a threat as a passer.

    With those concerns likely gone, Mariota may very well end up in the top spot before all is said and done this year.

1. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

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    2013 Stats: 70 percent completion rate, 15 total touchdowns, 1,483 total yards, four interceptions, 192.5 rating

    Team Record: 3-1


    If there's anyone who might have an objection to Marcus Mariota's rise to the top, it's Johnny Football. Despite losing to Alabama, Johnny Manziel has been terrific through three-and-a-half games.

    Drama aside, Manziel is the total package at quarterback at the college level. His uncanny ability to evade pressure and extend plays—through the air or on the ground—gives the Texas A&M Aggies a shot to contend with any team in the land.

    His 11.2 yards per attempt is fifth-best as a passer, and his 6.5 yards per carry when on the run ranks 11th among quarterbacks.

    Manziel is a front-runner to become a two-time Heisman winner, but he'll have stiffer competition this year, especially from this list of excellent quarterbacks.