Here's a not-so hypothetical question;
Your team has a starting quarterback playing his final season of eligibility. Your team also has a highly touted true freshman quarterback waiting in the wings. Your team is virtually out of the running for a conference championship. do you take the red-shirt off the freshman and play him now to get him experience for next year?
Two SEC teams are having these talks behind closed doors I would suspect. Auburn and Georgia. Two teams mired in similarities at this juncture of the season. Both teams are reeling with recent losses where poor quarterback play was a major factor in their respective teams demise. Both have essentially played themselves out of their divisional races and neither are even sniffing the top 25.
Is the season a wash at this point? No, not by a long shot! Should we hang Chris Todd (who was just named to the Manning List), and Joe Cox out to dry? Nope, again. And if either of these guys were sophomores or juniors we wouldn't be asking these questions.
Speaking of questions, I think the underlying question in all this is; What's left to win? In Auburn's case, they will be favored in one game out of the next five. They will be favored over Furman even if Lee Ziemba takes over at QB. That begs the question, do you want one win with the possibility of two and a long shot of three wins over the next five games with Todd or do you want one win with no guarantees with Rollison? The kicker is that you would have a QB with some game experience next season...assuming that Rollison wins the job.
Georgia finds themselves with a more favorable situation in regards to their schedule. They will be favored over Tennessee Tech and most likely over Auburn and Kentucky. To me this sets up nicely for a freshman to come in and take over the reigns. But again, with a freshman QB it will be tough to win games against Auburn and Kentucky.
So what is the downside to taking the red-shirt off of a freshman QB? The eligibility issue isn't really an issue if you ask me. If they are THAT good, you'll more than likely only have them there three years anyways, regardless of whether or not they are a red-shirt sophomore or a bonafide junior. However, there are three major downsides that I want to touch on.
1. Confidence. It can go a long way in developing a great quarterback. A few bumps in the road now can have a lasting negative effect.
2. Injury. This is pretty much self-explanatory.
3. Team moral. If a coach were to pull a move like this it would probably resonate that the coach had given up on this years team...and that's HUGE!
So while the idea may look good on the surface I wholeheartedly believe that unless Mark Richt or Gene Chizik are faced with no other options but to pull Joe Cox or Chris Todd then they should ride out the season with the QB that wins them the most games, now.