College Football Power Rankings: The Pac-10 Quarterbacks
Over the past 20 years, there have been many great quarterbacks who have cycled through an excellent conference in the Pac-10. The likes of Aaron Rodgers, Joey Harrington, Carson Palmer, Drew Bledose, Matt Leinart, and Troy Aikman have dominated their way through the conference.
While very few quarterbacks will ever reach this elite status, I'll rank where today's Pac-10 quarterback's stack up with each other.
No. 10: Kevin Prince, UCLA
To say the very least, it has been a huge struggle for Prince. Something is to be said that a team that he leads could beat a top 10 team in the nation, Texas. However, the Bruins did that only allowing him to throw the ball eight times.
Prince, who is a sophomore, is completing a dismal 46 percent of his passes, and the UCLA coaching staff has taken more and more pressure off of him. Prince has only thrown two touchdown passes all year, as opposed to the four interceptions he has thrown through four games.
While Prince does have an upside, through four games he is easily the worst Quarterback in the PAC-10.
No. 9: Jeff Tuel, Washington State
Jeff Tuel and the Washington State Cougars have had a rough year early on. Tuel is coming off of a three-interception week against USC in a game in which the Cougars got blown out.
While part of Tuel's problem might be the offensive line, he has been sacked 13 times, he has to prove he can make better decisions. When a quarterback throws three interceptions in a single game, the blame will always find its way back around to him.
Tuel and the Cougars are in for a long season in a competitive PAC-10, and I don't expect Tuel's numbers to get much better.
No. 8: Ryan Katz, Oregon St.
Katz has played just about the toughest non-conference schedule of any quarterback in the nation, with games against TCU and Boise State. Unfortunately for him, he hasn't been able to lead the Beavers to a win in either of those games, resulting in a 1-2 record through three games.
While Katz has played against two great teams, it still is a bad sign that he has completed just 46.8 percent of his passes.There is something to be said about the fact that he hasn't thrown a single interception, but all that means is his bad passes haven't found the opponents hands.
I expect Katz numbers to improve throughout the year and for him to lead the Beavers to a bowl game. However, through 3 games, the sophomore hasn't quite gotten the job done.
No. 7: Kevin Riley, California
Kevin Riley had a hot start to his season, but if you look at the competition you'll know why. Once Riley got into playing talented teams in Nevada and Arizona, he has fallen apart.
After throwing seven touchdowns and zero interceptions through two games, Riley proceeded to throw just one touchdown as opposed to four interceptions over the next two. Riley has shown flashes of brilliance, but now needs to start to perform in the big game.
If Riley wants to move up on this list, he'll have to do more than pick on the little guys. He'll have to pass well through PAC-10 play against teams like Oregon and Stanford.
No. 6: Jake Locker, Washington
Locker, the Washington senior, has been a huge letdown from the preseason hype. Some experts had him as the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, but his stock has surely slipped.
Locker is completing just 51 percent of his passes, his fewest since freshman year, and is struggling to get the Huskies' offense going. While Locker has thrown six TDs as opposed to two interceptions, he got absolutely rocked by the Nebraska defense, completing only four of his twenty passes.
While Locker might not face a defense as good as Nebraska for the rest of the year, he isn't performing like the nation has expected. He'll have to pick up his play to lead the Huskies to a bowl and raise his draft stock.
No. 5: Stephen Threet, Arizona State
Stephen Threet has done a fairly good job for the Sun Devils this season, winning the games he is supposed to and keeping them in the games against very talented teams.
Threet's biggest problem through four games this year is how turnover prone he is. Even against Portland St. (who?) and Northern Arizona, Threet threw interceptions which is something he can't do. Threet has thrown for just over 300 yards per game including eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.
For Threet to climb up this list, he'll have to start taking care of the football. Throwing four interceptions in an 11-point loss to Oregon is one of the things that cost the Sun Devils the game, so look for him to improve in that area.
No. 4: Darron Thomas, Oregon
Darron Thomas, yet another sophomore quarterback, has put up some huge numbers thus far for the Oregon Ducks as they have marched out to a 4-0 start. However, he faced no resistance up until last weeks matchup with Arizona State, which is why he is No. 4 on this list.
Thomas is completing nearly 55 percent of his passes, and has thrown 10 touchdowns as opposed to only three interceptions. Thomas has led his Ducks to a No. 4 overall ranking, but their toughest test will come Saturday against No. 9 Stanford.
With LaMichael James in his backfield to keep the opposing defense honest, Thomas should have plenty of time to pass throughout the year. Look for him to lead the Ducks to the top of the PAC-10.
No. 3: Nick Foles, Arizona
Nick Foles has shown great maturity in the way he has played this year leading the Wildcats to a 4-0 start with tough wins over Iowa and Cal. Foles who is a junior is transforming into the leader of Arizona right in front of our eyes.
Foles is completing an amazing 74.5 percent of his passes and has a passer rating nearly at 150. Foles has thrown six touchdowns, but has struggled with turnovers throwing one interception in each of the Wildcats four games.
Foles has morphed into one of the elite QB's in the PAC-10 this year, but he needs to work on taking care of the ball before he can make the leap into the territory of the all-time greats.
No. 2: Matt Barkley, USC
Matt Barkley has been very impressive, especially since he is leading a team playing for nothing short of pride. The Trojans have jumped out to a 4-0 start, however they haven't played the most strenuous of schedules.
Barkley has completed 65 percent of his passes, throwing for 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Barkley has been sacked only four times all season, give some credit to the offensive line, but Barkley still has to get the ball out quickly to his receivers.
It will be interesting to see how Barkley performs as the Trojans face some tougher opponents in PAC-10 powers Stanford and Oregon later in the season.
No. 1: Andrew Luck, Stanford
Andrew Luck has been nothing short of incredible, leading the Cardinal into the top 10 after starting the season unranked. Luck has dominated whomever he has played, managing the game well and getting in done with his arm and his legs.
Luck has thrown for 11 touchdowns and thrown only two interceptions, but more importantly hasn't let another team even stay in the game with Stanford. They have big wins over Wake Forrest, UCLA, and now Notre Dame. Against Wake, Luck led Stanford on touchdown drives the first eight times he got his hands on the ball, in the most impressive display of dominance I've seen all season.
If Luck continues at this pace, his name will surely be placed near the top of many Heisman ballots. However the question remains, are Stanford and Andrew Luck for real?