The hype surrounding Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder is getting to the point where it is borderline insane and all the way questionable. How can a guy who has had only two winning seasons with no BCS bowl appearances and no clear cut shot at a title game be talked about so much?
It's easy; it's all in the numbers.
Before a shoulder injury halted Ponder's stellar season a year ago forcing him to sit out the last four games, he had already thrown for 2,717 yards with 14 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 147.7. Pretty good numbers for someone that didn't even finish the season.
To date Ponder has thrown for 4,828 yards and 29 touchdown passes, which still doesn't even amount to a single season worth of numbers that Houston quarterback Case Keenum is producing.
So what is it exactly about this guy that makes him so special?
One word: leadership.
Florida State has been searching for a quarterback ever since Chris Weinke departed in 2001. Nearly a 10-year drought of disappointing recruits and starters that never reached their full potential. The full list is Chris Rix, Wyatt Sexton, Drew Weatherford, and Xavier Lee. Before he dethroned Weatherford back in 2008, Ponder was virtually a nobody.
Back to the case in point, if Ponder can live up to the hype and give Florida State a successful season that fans and alumni alike can be proud of, who's to say that he shouldn't be put into the same sentence as Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke?
Before I jump the gun and stir up plenty of arguments, it's important to say that Ward and Weinke were both national championship quarterbacks and Heisman trophy winners, but we also have to take a look at the talent that surrounded them.
Ward, for instance, had Warrick Dunn and Sean Jackson at running back along with Kez McCorvey at receiver. He was also blessed with a terrorizing defense led by Derrick Brooks, Derrick Alexander, Ken Alexander, Corey Sawyer, and Todd Rebol.
Weinke on the other hand had Peter Warrick, Travis Minor, Snoop Minnis, and Laveraneus Coles on offense and Brian Allen, Corey Simon, Chris Hope, Tommy Polley, and Jamal Reynolds.
Another key factor that both of these great quarterbacks had was a Bobby Bowden in his prime. Back then Bobby Bowden was unstoppable. Not to downsize him by any means, but the Bowden that Ponder had isn't exactly the same as the Bowden of old.
If Ponder can have a Heisman-like season and bring the 'Noles back to a BCS game, should he be considered as one of the great quarterbacks that graced the field at Florida State?
I think so.