The 10 Best Pac-10 Quarterbacks of All Time
The Pacific-10 conference has always been a quarterback conference.
The NFL's ranks are dotted with former first round picks and several prominent Hall of Famers who all called a Pac-10 university home during their collegiate careers.
Naturally, a conference that produces more quarterbacks than any other is bound to have some controversy in the debate of the best ever.
Many great quarterbacks will be left off the list, adding to the debate and controversy, but with so many great quarterbacks coming from the Pac-10 schools, it's difficult for any argument to be wrong.
Honorable Mention: Joey Harrington
Joey Harrington led the Oregon Ducks to a 25-3 record during his three years as the starting quarterback. Harrington passed for just shy of 7,000 yards and 59 touchdowns during his collegiate career.
He was a first team All-American in 2002 and finished fourth in the Heisman voting.
10. Marques Tuiasosopo, University of Washington
Marques Tuiasosopo became the first true freshman quarterback to start a game for the Washington Huskies in 1997. Tuiasosopo also had the honor of being the first quarterback to pass for more than 300 yards and run for over 200 yards in a single game.
Tuiasosopo wasn't so much famous for winning games as much as he was famous for how he won games. Just as dangerous with his legs as he was with his arms, Tuiasosopo rushed for 1,279 yards and totaled 4,335 yards of offense as a Washington Husky.
9. Sonny Sixkiller, University of Washington
Sonny Sixkiller took over the starting quarterback role for the Washington Huskies in 1970 and immediately turned the 1-9 team from 1969 into a pass-happy contender.
Sixkiller threw for 5,496 yards while at Washington and still holds passing records for the Huskies. He is third all-time in passing yards and tops the lists for passing yards per completion and passing attempts per game.
8. Rodney Peete, University of Southern California
Rodney Peete was the first USC quarterback to win the Johnny Unitas Award for the nation's best quarterback. He led USC to back-to-back Rose Bowl games in 1988 and 1999.
Peete bested UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman in the legendary rivalry matchups despite a case of measles in 1988. Peete was 27-13 as the Trojans' starting quarterback.
7. Warren Moon, University of Washington
In 1974, Warren Moon passed over scholarship offers from several universities for an opportunity to play quarterback at West Los Angeles College.
Many schools recruiting Moon wanted to convert him to another position, much like other black players playing quarterback in the 1970s.
Moon got his chance and transferred to the University of Washington in 1975, where he had a breakout season as a senior in 1977. Moon led the Huskies to the 1978 Rose Bowl and won the game's MVP award in a 27-20 win over the Michigan Wolverines.
6. Carson Palmer, University of Southern California
Carson Palmer eventually won the starting role at USC in 1998, becoming only the second true freshman to do so. Palmer had a breakout year during his senior year, winning the Heisman Trophy, the first USC quarterback to win the award.
Palmer left college as the all-time leader in passing yards, completions, and total offense. Palmer's 72 touchdowns also set a school record at the time.
5. Jake Plummer, Arizona State University
Jake "The Snake" Plummer rose to Pac-10 glory on a famed 1996 season in which he led a ragtag Arizona State Sun Devil team to a Pac-10 championship and the university's second ever Rose Bowl berth.
Plummer could win with his arm and with his feet and didn't have nearly as many offensive weapons as some of the other greatest Pac-10 quarterbacks.
Plummer may not have the stats and win totals of some of the other best quarterbacks, but for the 1996 season he was the best in the country and very nearly unbeatable.
4. John Elway, Stanford University
John Elway never appeared in a bowl game at Stanford, but his career accomplishments are simply staggering.
Elway finished his career at Stanford with nearly every Stanford and Pac-10 passing record. He threw for 9,349 yards and 77 touchdowns and led the nation in touchdown passes in 1982 with 24.
Elway was the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1980 and 1982 and was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1982.
John Elway was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
3. Troy Aikman, UCLA
Troy Aikman started his collegiate career with the Oklahoma Sooners but transferred to UCLA in 1986 after an ankle injury caused him to lose his starting job. After redshirting a year, Aikman led the Bruins to a 20-4 record in his two years as a starter.
Aikman threw for 5,298 yards and 41 touchdowns and was a consensus All-American in 1988. Aikman also was the first UCLA quarterback to win the nation's top quarterback award when he received the 1988 Davey O'Brien Award.
Aikman finished his career at UCLA as the second career passing leader and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
2. Matt Leinart, University of Southern California
Matt Leinart's first career pass was for a touchdown, and he never looked back.
Leinart was 37-2 as a starter at USC and completed 64.8 percent off his passes. He threw for 10,693 yards and 99 touchdowns with just 23 interceptions and is the all-time leader for touchdowns and completion percentage at USC.
Leinart won a national championship and Heisman Trophy in 2004 and finished as runner-up in both those categories in 2005.
1. Jim Plunkett, Stanford University
Okay, so he technically played for Stanford when it was a member of the Pacific-8 conference, but the modern reputation of the Pac-10 being a passing-dominated conference got its foundation from Jim Plunkett.
During his junior season in 1969, Plunkett set conference records for touchdown passes (20), passing yards (2,673), and total offense (2,786). Plunkett won the Voit Memorial Trophy in 1969 and 1970, becoming the second multiple recipient of the award.
He won the Heisman Trophy in 1970, beating out Joe Theismann and Archie Manning. He was the first Latino to win the Heisman Trophy.