Ryan Mallett Is the Best Quarterback in the SEC, Not Tim Tebow

Blake StansberyCorrespondent INovember 20, 2009

Across the nation you will be hard-pressed to find anyone who is not familiar with Tim Tebow.

Tebow has been part of two national championships for the Florida Gators and has won a Heisman Trophy. He has already been immortalized by the University of Florida with his motivational speech plaque at the entrance to the new football facility.

Tebow is a missionary and an all-around great person.

What would you say if I was to tell you with all that success that Tim Tebow is not the best quarterback in the nation—not even the best quarterback in the SEC?

I am sure you will call me crazy, but by the numbers there is another quarterback in the SEC who has stood out as the best in the 2009 season.

That quarterback is Ryan Mallett.

Mallett leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation in quarterback rating, with a 165 rating. His offense leads the SEC in scoring offense (37.6 ppg), total offense (450.1 ypg), passing offense (310 ypg), and pass efficiency (160).

Mallett has done all of this in his first year as a starter and with the ninth-ranked rush offense in the conference. The weight of this team has been squarely on his shoulders all year.

Mallett's numbers tell the same story. He has connected on 23 touchdown passes, while only throwing four interceptions. Two regular season games remain, and he has already broken or tied 10 Arkansas passing records and has more in his sights. The most notable came in the win over Troy when he became the Arkansas single-season passing record holder.

He has thrown for 2,885 yards, more than 1,000 yards greater than Tebow. He has 11 more touchdown passes thrown and the same number of interceptions (four) as Tebow as well.

Arkansas' schedule has been ranked as one of the toughest in the nation, and to put up the numbers Mallett has during this season is remarkable. He is on track to be the first ever single-season 3,000-yard passer in Arkansas school history to go along with his other broken records.

Mallett already projects ahead of Tebow in the NFL Draft according to many mock draft boards if he were to enter the Draft after this season. There will be no decision on that until after the season, and Mallett has told the media he has not even thought about it yet.

Mallett is a redshirt sophomore in his first season as a starting quarterback and leads a team that is the youngest in the SEC. More than a dozen freshmen and sophomores have started for the Razorbacks, and they all play a significant role on the team. With youth comes mistakes, and the Razorbacks have sputtered in some games, leading to Mallett's numbers not being even greater than where they stand now.

Pro-Tebow arguers will point to Mallett's poor games as why Tebow is better and make every argument imaginable. I have one thing to say to that...the numbers don't lie. A season is a collection of all your games, not one or two here or there.

Pro-Tebow arguers will also claim that Heisman Trophies, national championships, and other various awards make a player a better quarterback. That argument is an entirely different discussion.

The way the BCS operates and the way Heisman Trophies are awarded in this new day and age is more than just a bit of a controversial topic. That argument would be entirely separate from who currently is the best quarterback in the SEC.

The other Pro-Tebow argument sure to come up will be that of wins and losses. To that the answer is simple: The best quarterback does not have to play for the best team.

Florida ranks in the top five nationally in recruiting every single year. The talent surrounding Tebow according to all accounts should be far greater than that surrounding Mallett. That argument would make what Mallett has done even more convincing.

Mallett fans surely will have more stats and arguments to stand behind this assertion, and Tebow fans will likewise for their stance. Both groups will stand behind their No. 15 firmly, but in the end, numbers just don't lie.

Ryan Mallett is the best quarterback in the SEC.


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