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Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Position U: Quarterbacks

By David Ching


Who really deserves to claim the title of "Quarterback U" for the 2000s?

That's what we set out to determine by ranking every program in the five biggest conferences (plus independents Notre Dame and BYU) with a point system based on accomplishments between the 2000-01 season and 2013-14.

We awarded points for the following: winning one of 20 major college football awards, consensus All-Americans, NFL draft picks and coaches' first-team all-conference selections -- or in the case of the ACC, the media's first-team picks that the conference recognized until its coaches began picking their own team in 2012.


1. Oklahoma (142 points)


Winning major awards is the most effective way to place your team near the top of these rankings, so Oklahoma's eight awards since 2000 -- including a pair of Heisman Trophies (by Jason White and Sam Bradford) -- helped the Sooners claim the "Quarterback U" label. Other schools might have a better record of placing quarterbacks in the pros, but the Sooners have been one of the nation's most consistent programs in the 2000s thanks in part to solid quarterback play from the likes of White, Bradford, Josh Heupel and Landry Jones.

Award winners: Josh Heupel, Camp (2000); Jason White, Heisman (2003), Maxwell (2004), O'Brien (2003, 2004), Unitas (2004); Sam Bradford, Heisman (2008), O'Brien (2008).
Consensus All-Americans: Heupel (2000), White (2003), Bradford (2008).
First-team all-conference: Heupel (2000), White (2003, 2004), Bradford (2008).
NFL first-round draft picks: Bradford (2009).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Landry Jones (Round 4, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Heupel (Round 6, 2001).


2. USC (134 points)


USC didn't win as many national awards as Oklahoma -- the Trojans had five compared to the Sooners' eight -- but the program's three first-round draft picks (Heisman winners Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, plus Mark Sanchez in 2009) helped make up some ground. Leinart was a points-earning machine in our standings thanks to his three national award wins, a consensus All-America season and winning all-conference honors three times prior to becoming a first-round pick in 2006.

Award winners: Palmer, Heisman (2002), Unitas (2002); Leinart, Heisman (2004), Camp (2004), Unitas (2005).
Consensus All-Americans: Palmer (2002), Leinart (2004).
First-team all-conference: Palmer (2002), Leinart (2003, 2004, 2005), John David Booty (2006), Sanchez (2008).
NFL first-round draft picks: Palmer (2003), Leinart (2006), Sanchez (2009).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Matt Barkley (Round 4, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Booty (Round 5, 2008), Matt Cassel (Round 7, 2005).


3. Texas (122 points)


Texas' standing is built almost exclusively on the backs of Vince Young and Colt McCoy, who combined to win seven national award wins in their distinguished careers. McCoy accounted for five awards, two All-America nods and an all-conference selection before becoming a third-round NFL pick in 2010. The only other Texas quarterback to earn a point in those 14 seasons was Chris Simms for his becoming a third-round NFL draft pick in 2003.

Award winners: Young, Maxwell (2005), O'Brien (2005); McCoy, Camp (2008, 2009), Maxwell (2009), Unitas (2009), O'Brien (2009).
Consensus All-Americans: Young (2005), McCoy (2008, 2009).
First-team all-conference: Young (2005), McCoy (2009).
NFL first-round draft picks: Young (2006).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: McCoy (Round 3, 2010), Simms (Round 3, 2003).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: None.


4. Florida State (102 points)

Jameis Winston didn't just help put Florida State's program back on top of the national rankings, he helped return the Seminoles to their place among the nation's top quarterback factories. Sure, EJ Manuel and Christian Ponder had both become NFL first-round picks within the past few years, but a Seminoles quarterback hadn't won a national award since 2000 until Winston took home three last season. Winston also became the first FSU quarterback since fellow Heisman winner Chris Weinke in 2000 to win first-team all-conference honors.

Award winners: Weinke, Heisman (2000), Unitas (2000), O'Brien (2000); Winston, Heisman (2013), Camp (2013), O'Brien (2013).
Consensus All-Americans: Winston (2013).
First-team all-conference: Weinke (2000), Winston (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Ponder (2011), Manuel (2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Weinke (Round 4, 2001).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Adrian McPherson (Round 5, 2005).


5. Florida (100 points)

Tim Tebow is one of the best examples of how one spectacular player can impact on our rankings. Not only did he play a part in Florida winning a pair of BCS crowns, Tebow also cleaned up on the awards circuit by claiming all four of the Gators' national awards in the 2000s. There are some other names worth mentioning -- let's start with Rex Grossman -- but Florida ranks so high on this list largely because of Tebow's lengthy list of accomplishments.

Award winners: Tebow, Heisman (2007), Maxwell (2007, 2008), O'Brien (2007).
Consensus All-Americans: Grossman (2001), Tebow (2007).
First-team all-conference: Grossman (2001), Tebow (2007, 2008, 2009).
NFL first-round draft picks: Grossman (2003), Tebow (2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Jesse Palmer (Round 4, 2001).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: None.


6. Auburn (76 points)


Auburn has experienced some lean times at quarterback since 2000, but when the Tigers have been good at the position, they've often been REALLY good. The greatest example, of course, was in 2010 when Cam Newton turned college football on its ear. He led Auburn to the BCS championship and claimed four national awards -- the Heisman, Camp, Maxwell and O'Brien -- before becoming the top overall pick in the 2011 draft. Jason Campbell, who also led the Tigers to an undefeated season in 2004, deserves a nod here as well for winning all-conference honors and becoming a first-round draft pick.

Award winners: Newton, Heisman (2010), Camp (2010), Maxwell (2010), O'Brien (2010).
Consensus All-Americans: Newton (2010).
First-team all-conference: Campbell (2004), Newton (2010).
NFL first-round draft picks: Campbell (2005), Newton (2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: None.


7. Ohio State (70 points)

Troy Smith's standout 2006 season produced more than two-thirds of the points that helped the Buckeyes claim seventh place in the quarterback rankings. He claimed three major awards, including the Heisman, and won All-America and all-conference honors that season. Braxton Miller has already been named to the All-Big Ten first team twice and has a good chance to make it a three-peat this fall.

Award winners: Smith, Heisman (2006), Camp (2006), O'Brien (2006).
Consensus All-Americans: Smith (2006).
First-team all-conference: Smith (2006), Todd Boeckman (2007), Miller (2012, 2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Terrelle Pryor (Supplemental draft, Round 3, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Craig Krenzel (Round 5, 2004), Smith (Round 5, 2007).


8. Louisville (62 points)


Major-conference loyalists might gripe over this one, and they'd have a valid point since new ACC member Louisville racked up most of its points while competing in Conference USA. Cardinals quarterbacks won first-team all-conference honors each season between 2000 and 2005 (Louisville was a member of Conference USA through 2004 and joined the Big East in 2005), but Teddy Bridgewater's first-team all-conference designation in 2012 was the first for a Louisville quarterback since that streak ended with Brian Brohm in 2005.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: None.
First-team all-conference: Dave Ragone (2000, 2001, 2002), Stefan LeFors (2003, 2004), Brohm (2005), Bridgewater (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: Bridgewater (2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Ragone (Round 3, 2003), LeFors (Round 4, 2005), Brohm (Round 2, 2008).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: None.


9. Texas A&M (60 points)

Johnny Manziel was a one-man wrecking crew in college, running circles around hapless defenders as Texas A&M generated huge offensive totals over the past two seasons. Johnny Football accounted for 48 of Texas A&M's 60 points in our quarterback standings, and he's one of two Aggies first-round picks along with Ryan Tannehill.

Award winners: Manziel, Heisman (2012), O'Brien (2012).
Consensus All-Americans: Manziel (2012).
First-team all-conference: Manziel (2012, 2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Tannehill (2012), Manziel (2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Stephen McGee (Round 4, 2009).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: None.


10. Stanford (56 points)


Former No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck racked up 50 points on his own, including three national awards in 2011 and a pair of all-conference selections before he jumped to the pros. Kevin Hogan might add to the Cardinal's point total this season, but it was almost entirely the Andrew Luck Show that helped Stanford crack the top 10.

Award winners: Luck, Camp (2011), Maxwell (2011), Unitas (2011).
Consensus All-Americans: None.
First-team all-conference: Luck (2010, 2011).
NFL first-round draft picks: Luck (2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Trent Edwards (Round 3, 2007).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Randy Fasani (Round 5, 2002).

REST OF "QUARTERBACK U" RANKINGS

52 -- Nebraska; 48 -- Baylor; 40 -- Oregon; 38 -- West Virginia; 34 -- Ole Miss; 32 -- Boston College, LSU, Notre Dame, Purdue, Virginia Tech; 30 -- BYU, Miami; 28 -- Alabama, Michigan; 26 -- Georgia; 24 -- Clemson, Iowa, Kansas State, NC State, Wisconsin; 22 -- Arkansas, California; 20 -- Texas Tech, Utah, Washington; 18 -- Missouri; 16 -- Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh, TCU; 14 -- Vanderbilt; 12 -- Indiana, Penn State; 10 -- Michigan State, Oregon State, Virginia; 8 -- Arizona State, Iowa State, Washington State; 6 -- Georgia Tech; 4 -- Arizona, North Carolina, Rutgers, Syracuse, Tennessee; 2 -- Duke, Illinois, Kentucky; 0 -- Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi State, South Carolina, UCLA, Wake Forest