Making the case for Tajh Boyd

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is good, but when it comes to passing yards, he’s nowhere near Clemson’s Tajh Boyd.

Braxton Miller? Puh-lease. Six picks and 15 touchdowns to Boyd’s 13 interceptions and 36 touchdowns. (Yeah, yeah, Boyd can run, too).

OK, OK, AJ McCarron led the nation in passing efficiency last year, but ask him how the game against A&M went.

Speaking of the Aggies, not even Johnny Manziel threw for as many yards (3,706) as Boyd did last season (3,896) -- and Manziel played two FCS teams.

Oh, don’t worry, I know all about Teddy Bridgewater, but let’s look at who’s doing the scoring: Boyd was No. 2 in the country last year in points responsible for, averaging 21.54 -- right behind the Heisman Trophy winner, who averaged 21.69. Bridgewater? He averaged 12.92.

There’s no argument here that plenty of talented quarterbacks return throughout the country in 2013, but the best of the bunch is in the ACC. Look at the numbers from a year ago: Boyd ranked among the nation’s best in every major statistical category, and he should be even better this fall with four starters returning on the offensive line and the invaluable experience he has gained in two previous seasons as a starter. Boyd has a strong arm, and even stronger leadership qualities.

You want numbers? He’s got ‘em.

In fact, the argument for Boyd as the best quarterback in the country might be best made by lining up those numbers against Manziel’s. Both faced similarly difficult schedules last season against teams ranked high nationally in defense. When comparing the opponents’ total defense and scoring defense rankings, though, Boyd faced a slightly tougher schedule.

Manziel faced three top-10 and three top-20 defenses, but also faced two FCS teams. Boyd played three top-11 defenses and five teams that were ranked among the nation’s top 21.

Boyd, who is 21-6 as a starter, enters 2013 having completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 73 touchdowns and 28 interceptions. He also has scored 16 rushing touchdowns and totaled 765 rushing yards. Overall, he has accounted for 89 touchdowns.

You want records? He has broken ‘em -- including his own.

He ranks first in school history in passing yards, passing yards per game, total offense, total offense per game, passing touchdowns, first in passing efficiency and first in touchdown responsibility. He holds nine of the top 11 single-game passing yardage totals in school history.

It’s probably safe to say he’s one of the best quarterbacks Clemson has ever seen.

Boyd last year was the ACC’s overall and offensive player of the year after he threw for an ACC-record 36 touchdowns. He also was responsible for another ACC-record 46 touchdowns. And he’s not done yet. Boyd enters this fall within reach of most of the major career offensive records in the ACC, including touchdown passes, touchdown responsibility, total offense and passing yardage.

If Boyd repeats or improves upon last year’s performances -- more specifically, if he goes at least 2-1 against Georgia, South Carolina and Florida State -- he shouldn’t just earn a trip to the Heisman ceremony, he should win the trophy.