9 College Football QBs Guaranteed to Disappoint in Week 6
The cupcake games that lead to ridiculous scores and padded offensive stats are over for the most part this college football season. That is, unless you're in the SEC, where the tradition of dotting the back end of the schedule with pointless laughers still holds true.
The first month of this season saw a lot of the usual suspects rise to the top of the statistical charts, along with a handful of newcomers or relative unknowns who may have gotten there thanks to easy opposition.
This week's schedule provides opportunities for some of those unexpected upstarts to make the leap from anomaly to legitimacy—or to fall flat on their faces.
Click through the following slides to see which quarterbacks are most likely to be a disappointment during Week 6.
Travis Wilson, Utah
Nationally televised Thursday night games bring an extra level of the spotlight to the teams and players in it, often exposing those previously considered as contenders to actually being pretenders. Just ask Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee.
Travis Wilson, on the other hand, has been solid for Utah this year, though he made some bad throws in Utah's only loss, an overtime setback to Oregon State. In that game, Wilson had to be a runner as much as a thrower, and for the most part, he shined.
UCLA, which has only allowed four passing touchdowns in its first three games, will come into this week's game with the expectation to dominate Utah if the Bruins are to truly be a contender for the Pac-12 title. That could mean laying waste to Wilson in front of the home crowd.
Keith Price, Washington
Keith Price dropped from the stratospheric levels of his first three games with a subpar performance in Washington's 31-13 win over Arizona last week, but the senior is apt to fall even further back to earth in Saturday's game at Stanford.
The Cardinal have held opposing teams to just 3.45 rushing yards per carry, which means Price won't be able to lean heavily on Bishop Sankey like Price did in Sankey's school-record 40-carry effort against Arizona.
Even with Sankey running well, Price was errant with many of his throws last week when faced with pressure. Stanford only has nine sacks on the year, but its front seven is much more talented than anything Price has had to face so far in 2013.
C.J. Brown, Maryland
C.J. Brown has completed 66 percent of his throws and has a passing efficiency north of 176, as Maryland has run out to a 4-0 record.
But who couldn't do that against a schedule that includes two of the worst FBS programs in the country in Connecticut and Florida International and a transitional program in Old Dominion that doesn't appear interested in playing defense?
Yes, Brown did well against West Virginia two weeks ago, but none of the Terrapins' opponents has been anywhere near as talented on defense as Florida State, this week's opponent.
FSU is allowing a scant 136 passing yards per game, fourth-best in FBS play, and has intercepted six passes. Brown will probably have to run more than he'd like, and though he's scored six rushing touchdowns this season, he needs to be able to do both in order for Maryland to win.
Zach Mettenberger, LSU
If there was a Most Improved Player version of the Heisman Trophy, Zach Mettenberger would probably be a frontrunner for whatever hardware such an award garners. He's looked great this season after a shaky and uneven junior year, and he was nothing short of spectacular in last week's 44-41 loss at Georgia.
But Mississippi State, the Tigers' opponent on Saturday, will be the first team that Mettenberger faces in 2013 that has any semblance of a stout defense. The Bulldogs have already showed they can limit talented quarterbacks, slowing down Oklahoma State's J.W. Walsh in a season-opening loss, and last week, holding FBS active career passing leader Corey Robinson of Troy to just 105 yards through the air.
LSU is still probably going to win this game, but Mettenberger is due for a letdown performance after the Georgia game.
Jake Rudock, Iowa
With a strong running game as Iowa's pacesetter, Jake Rudock hasn't been asked to do much more than be a game manager at most times.
It's also because Rudock has struggled in pressure situations, such as late in the Hawkeyes' season-opening home loss to Northern Illinois. The sophomore completed only 57 percent of his passes and was intercepted twice, including with 1:17 left that set up Northern Illinois' game-winning field goal.
Enter Michigan State, owner of the top defense in terms of passing yards allowed and team passing efficiency by opposing QBs. The Spartans have forced opponents to complete less than 40 percent of their throws, which will add to the pressure on Rudock in this key Big Ten Legends Division matchup.
Bryn Renner, North Carolina
Bryn Renner is not the most mobile of quarterbacks, having been sacked nine teams this season. That's music to the ears of the vicious front line of Virginia Tech, which hosts Renner and North Carolina a week after besmirching the reputation of Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee.
Virginia Tech is also allowing only 138 passing yards a game, about half of what Renner has averaged this season. Defense usually wins out in a battle of a big arm versus a tough defense, so this won't be a good day for the struggling Tar Heels.
Whoever plays quarterback for South Florida
It just keeps getting worse for South Florida, which is struggling far worse than anyone could have been expected in Willie Taggart's first season.
Having already faced three consecutive stellar defenses, the Bulls get another tough defensive opponent this week in Cincinnati, which is allowing 158 passing yards per game.
It probably doesn't matter who USF is facing, considering how bad its two quarterbacks have fared. Senior Bobby Eveld completed only 16-of-45 passes in his two starts while sophomore Steven Bench (21-of-50) has only been slightly less bad.
If you're in a NCAA fantasy football league, and the defense that South Florida is facing each week is available, pick it up.
Keith Wenning, Ball State
With 300-plus passing yards in each of Ball State's five games this season, Keith Wenning might be the latest in an impressive line of MAC quarterbacks who turn a strong senior year into a shot in the NFL.
Or he could just be the benefactor of having not faced any decent defensive opposition.
Saturday will be Wenning first real test when he leads the Cardinals into Charlottesville, Va., to face a Virginia team that is allowing under 153 passing yards per game and only four touchdowns while holding opponents to less than a 40 percent completion percentage.
Wenning's worst game came in Ball State's only loss, when he failed to complete 60 percent of his throws and was picked off twice by North Texas. How the Cardinals far against Virginia will rest heavily on how Wenning fares.
Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
Taylor Kelly has had only one bad half of football in 2013, and it's the reason why Arizona State isn't undefeated. He was subpar in the first half of the Sun Devils' 42-28 loss at Stanford, a game they trailed, 29-0, at the half.
It's part of a trend that has followed Kelly throughout his career as ASU's starter. He does great in Tempe and only so-so on the road. Although Kelly had a lights-out second half against Stanford, it was too little, too late.
Now come the ultra-bright lights in the big city of Dallas (actually, suburban Dallas), as ASU faces Notre Dame at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
This game, like almost any not played on a team's home field, is a glorified home game for Notre Dame, and even though the Fighting Irish aren't anything to write home about defensively, the scenario just reeks of Kelly struggling.