The Top 20 NCAA Quarterbacks (1978-2008)

Michael OleszekAnalyst IJanuary 12, 2009

No offense or disrespect to my friend BabyTate, who has probably forgotten as much about college football as I know, but his list of the Top 20 NCAA quarterbacks is lacking. Again, no offense.

So, to further along the debate, here is my own list, and the reasons behind the selections.

1. Joe Montana, Notre Dame

The king of comebacks capped off a stellar Notre Dame career with the "chicken soup game" against Houston in the 1979 Cotton Bowl, when down by 22 points with only 7:37 left to go in the game, Montana rallied the Irish to a 35-34 victory on the last play of the game.

2. Tim Tebow, Florida

What will he do for an encore after two National Titles, two SEC Titles, and a Heisman Trophy?

3. Pat White, West Virginia

WVU was 46-9 in his four years there. Four bowl game wins (only college QB to do so), including the Sugar Bowl win over Georgia that validated the Big East after ACC defections.

4. Danny Wuerffel, Florida

Four straight SEC titles (not done before or since), 1996 Heisman Trophy, and National Championship.

5. Charlie Ward, Florida State

The master of the fast-break offense; won a National Championship and Heisman in 1993.

6. Vince Young, Texas

Singlehandedly defeated USC in 2006 Rose Bowl with 467 total yards, 30-2 as a starter, No. 1 all time for UT quarterbacks in wins.

7. Peyton Manning, Tennessee

39-6 as a starter, Tennessee's all-time leading passer. Set then-record for SEC wins as QB.

8. Tony Rice, Notre Dame

Last Notre Dame QB to win a national championship, 1989 Johnny Unitas winner.

9. Doug Flutie, Boston College

Most famous for the Hail Mary to beat Miami, Flutie left Boston College with a Heisman Trophy and the then-NCAA record for career passing yards.

10. Don McPherson, Syracuse

Davey O'Brien Winner, College Football Hall of Famer, led Syracuse to unbeaten 11-0-1 season in 1987, runner-up for Heisman Trophy, returned Syracuse football to national prominence.

11. Matt Leinart, USC

Two National Championships, Heisman Trophy winner, USC's all-time leader in touchdown passes.

12. Willie Totten, Mississippi Valley State

Leader of the famed "Satellite Express" offense, set more than 50 FCS passing records, College Football Hall of Famer.

13. Steve McNair, Alcorn State

FCS All-American, Walter Payton Award Winner, third in Heisman voting in 1994. Once completed 52 passes in FCS playoff game.

14. Vinny Testaverde, Miami

1986 Heisman Trophy winner, was Miami's all-time leader in passing touchdowns despite only playing in two seasons.

15. Tommie Frazier, Nebraska

Arguably the greatest option quarterback of all time, 33-3 as a starter, two National Championships and narrowly missed a third, Heisman runner-up in 1995.

16. Jamelle Holieway, Oklahoma

Won the 1985 National Championship as a true freshman, the only one to do so.

17. Jay Barker, Alabama

35-2-1 as a starter at Alabama, the best in Alabama history, including 13-0 National Championship season in 1992.

18. David Greene, Georgia

42 wins as a starter.

19. Major Harris, West Virginia

Twice in top five for Heisman Trophy, led WVU to its first undefeated, untied regular season. Literally ran around defenses ("The Play" vs. Penn State).

20. Philip Rivers, NC State

13,484 passing yards and 95 touchdowns, NCAA-record 51 games started in four years (34 wins).


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