The 10 Worst Quarterbacks in the BCS Conferences
I'm typically much more comfortable singing the praises of every college football player, even the ones that barely deserve it. Stanzi for Heisman 2010: Love It or Leave It, Baby!
But with spring practice about to kick off, I'm reminded just how many BCS quarterbacks should never be allowed near the field.
Some have ghostly pocket presence; others a feeble arm; most can't complete better than 55% of their passes. All told, these 10 quarterbacks should, literally, be buried alive underneath a huge depth chart.
I was careful to not include true freshman starters, and instead piled heavily on the juniors and seniors. They should know better by now.
Here are the 10 worst quarterbacks in the BCS.
No. 10: T.J. Yates, North Carolina
As someone who might bet good money on a UNC national title run, I'm doing myself a great disservice in doubting T.J. Yates.
The Tar Heels' QB was a multi-interception liability in more than a few losses last year, and threw more picks than touchdowns despite a strong showing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
I buy that the offensive line wasn't gelling and that UNC's wide receiving corps was overhauled after losing Hakeem Nicks and Brooks Foster.
But with Eric Little coming on strong and Yates entering his senior year, there's no more room for excuses. 2010 will be when we find out where the buck stops.
No. 9: Cody Hawkins, Colorado
I really hope Dan Hawkins is sincere about starting Tyler Hansen almost unequivocally, because watching his son Cody try and play quarterback was a seriously depressing experience.
Cody averaged just barely above a 50 percent completion percentage, and threw for 68 total yards against Texas.
He's too short to play quarterback. Can we just say that and have it be enough?
No. 8: Nick Stephens, Tennessee
Fact: Nick Stephens and Jonathon Crompton have never been seen in the same room at the same time.
Fact: Stephens threw for more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (5) in the Clawfense of 2008, the same one that got Phil Fulmer fired.
Fact: Tennessee signed four quarterbacks in its most recent class, two of which (Matt Simms and Tyler Bray) have a better than average chance of taking over immediately.
Conclusion: We will never have to see how bad Nick Stephens is ever again.
No. 7: Stephen Garcia, South Carolina
I'm all about relativity, and relative to his recruiting hype, his coaching and the talent around him, Stephen Garcia should be fielding better than a 55.3 percent completion percentage and a 79.3 career QB rating.
Can Steve Spurrier coach quarterbacks anymore? Was Danny Wuerffel made of promises and unicorns and puppy dog tails?
Garcia's inconsistency and more than occasional incompetency suggests Spurrier's schemes have either been figured out, or that Garcia's fringe-five star ranking and "time in the system" were grossly inflated.
The interception against Florida this year was a gut-wrenching moment, possibly the worst of the year.
I expect at least a few more for the Gamecocks as they raise their expectations. Just hand it off to Lattimore, baby!
No. 6: Austen Arnaud, Iowa State
Watching Adam Weber and Austen Arnaud "duke" it out in the Insight Bowl was a nauseating experience even without the Indian buffet I'd visited earlier in the evening.
Arnaud threw terrific arcing balls directly to Minnesota's defender, Kyle Theret. His bold, baffling decision to fire at will reminded me of his zero touchdown, four interception performance against rival Iowa earlier in the year.
Arnaud closed the season on a four-game multiple interception tear, but still managed to beat Colorado off of a 12/25, 105-yard performance with a long completion of 20 yards.
Paul Rhoads is loading up on JUCO talent for next year, but after watching Arnaud last year, its hard not to see why. Arnaud doesn't know where he's going with the ball, and he goes there anyway.
No. 5: Adam Weber, Minnesota
Weber has one of the worst quarterback ratings in the country and has been grossly inconsistent throughout his career.
He's also never won a game against a winning team in the Big Ten (last year's Spartans don't count—they went 6-7).
Some mitigating factors: he lost Eric Decker early last year, and has suffered through numerous offensive coordinators that failed to instill any confidence in him. And he holds a bunch of Minnesota passing records that are too depressing to reiterate.
But when you throw for 91 yards and a pick and struggle to put away South Dakota State until the fourth quarter, you're worse than bad. You're practically good.
No. 4: Zac Lee, Nebraska
Lee had one of the most atrocious completion percentages of a D-1 quarterback last year, and seemed happiest attempting under 10 passes a game for the ailing Huskers.
His best game was probably a 5/9, 35-yard performance against Oklahoma that the Huskers won 10-3. Minimize the liability.
The Broad Side of a Barn could play wide receiver for Nebraska and not get more than three catches per game with Lee at the helm.
Quarterback controversy? What's the controversy? He's awful. Bring on Brion Carnes!
No. 3: Jarrett Lee, LSU
I don't think we stand any risk of seeing Jarrett Lee this fall. Hopefully that's the case, because he was by far one of the most mistake-prone quarterbacks I've ever watched play the game.
Pick-Six Lee destroyed LSU's 2008 season game by game, and, in limited time last year, looked completely overwhelmed. Even against Louisiana Tech, Lee completed 7 of his 22 passes for just over 105 yards in a narrow 24-16 win.
The Tigers moved Russell Shepard to wide receiver full time, so I don't know how much separates Jordan Jefferson and a guaranteed 9/32, 45-yard performance.
Here's hoping Zach Lee comes in game-ready. Zach, don't listen to Jarrett, the guys in purple are the ones on your team.
No. 2: Larry Smith, Vanderbilt
The Commodores have been bottom dwellers in the passing game for two straight years, prompting coach Chris Johnson to shake up his offensive staff this offseason.
His quarterback, Larry Smith, never threw for more than one touchdown in a game, and didn't throw any TDs in five games during Vanderbilt's truly disappointing 2-10 season.
His completion percentage was the third-lowest among QBs who threw more than 100 passes in 2009, behind only Georgia Tech's Josh Nesbitt and another QB on this list.
The sophomore QB got above 150 yards only twice—once against Western Carolina, the worst team in the country last year, when he threw for 153 yards; and once against Rice, the country's 114th passing defense, when he threw for 268.
Even with a reshuffled coaching staff, Smith would have to at least double his output on offense to come close to an average quarterback's stats.
The more likely outcome would be that Vandy leans on Smith's dual-threat abilities. If he struggles again, the Commodores could also take a chance on true freshman Jordan Rogers.
No. 1: Marshall Lobbestael, Washington State
It's painful to pick on Wazzu, so unlike most Pac-10 defenses, I'll keep my Marshall Lobbestael bashing to a minimum.
Situated in the middle of a vast statistical wasteland is a 24/52, 239-yard, two-touchdown win over Southern Methodist.
Venture in any direction from that game, and all you'll find is dust, confusion, salty tears, and 2/6, three interception games.
Actually, the vibe from Wazzu's spring practice is optimistic, but so were the Titanic's engineers.
Instead of plays and formations, Lobbestael has T.S. Eliot's "The Hollow Men" printed on his armband. Reading it actually lifts morale in the huddle.