Take 2: Ranking the Pac-12 QBs

April, 20, 2012
4/20/12
12:00
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Earlier in the week, we noted that Athon Sports ranked Pac-12 QBs 1-12.

Here's the Athlon ranking again:

  1. Matt Barkley, USC
  2. Keith Price, Washington
  3. Jeff Tuel, Washington State
  4. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
  5. Bryan Bennett, Oregon
  6. Zach Maynard, Cal
  7. Brett Nottingham, Stanford
  8. Kevin Prince, UCLA
  9. Jordan Wynn, Utah
  10. Matt Scott, Arizona
  11. Mike Bercovici, Arizona State
  12. Connor Wood, Colorado

For one, Athlon went ahead and named QBs for teams with on-going QB competitions. Obviously, many of you had thoughts on the pecking order. It should come as no surprise that we did, too. So here's what we think.

Kevin Gemmell: Here are my thoughts.
    [+] EnlargeMatt Barkley
    Kirby Lee/US PresswireNot many would argue with USC's Matt Barkley being ranked as the Pac-12's top QB.

  • I don't think there is any debate about Nos. 1 and 2. That's where I'd put them.
  • Whoever wins the Stanford job is way too high for No. 7 -- considering neither Nottingham nor Josh Nunes have even started a game. Until proven, Stanford's QBs belong in double-digit country.
  • Jordan Wynn is ranked too low. As the Athlon folks admit, he's a tough one to gauge simply because of his past injury problems. But when he's healthy, he's one of the top five quarterbacks in the conference. And right now he's 100 percent healthy. I'd put him in the Nos. 4 to 5 range.
  • I like Jeff Tuel and I like his potential. And I think that's what these rankings are banking on -- what he'll be able to do in Mike Leach's system. But he's still a first-year player in the system and he'll still have Connor Halliday clawing for the job in the fall so I'm not sold on the No. 3 spot. Probably 6 or 7.
  • I think Mannion is poised for a big year. If the offensive line can get squared away and he has the time to throw in relative comfort, he'll have a big season. The 4 spot seems about right, give or take.
  • Due to the media blackout at Oregon, we don't have much of an idea of what's happening with Bennett or Marcus Mariota. I can only go on what I saw from Bennett last year and he was very capable of running the offense. And anyone capable of running Oregon's offense is going to be good. If it's Mariota, that means he's played better than Bennett and that's impressive. I'd bump Oregon to No. 3.
  • Maynard has a good running back, good receivers and he ended the year on a decent clip. Middle of the pack seems about right.
  • Like Tuel, I think Scott is loaded with potential. Plus he's a veteran guy with some experience under his belt. Doesn't belong in double digits.
  • UCLA just escapes double digits in my opinion because at least there is some experience within the three-way competition. If it ends up being Brett Hundley, it's because he beat out two guys with starting experience. And we all know what Noel Mazzone can do with an offense.
  • ASU is another major question mark. Inexperience plus a new system equals potential quarterback struggles. But whoever gets the job at least has some good weapons around him and an offense that is potentially explosive.
  • Colorado's quarterback to be has a tough road, no matter who wins the job. I've read mixed reports about Wood, but had the chance to speak with him and he comes across as confident and poised. Unfortunately, confidence and poise doesn't equal receivers.

So, with that said, here's my list as of right now.

  1. Matt Barkley, USC
  2. Keith Price, Washington
  3. Oregon quarterback to be named
  4. Jordan Wynn, Utah
  5. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
  6. Jeff Tuel, Washington State
  7. Zach Maynard, Cal
  8. Matt Scott, Arizona
  9. UCLA to be named
  10. ASU to be named
  11. Stanford to be named
  12. Colorado to be named

The floor is yours, Mr. Miller. Have at it.

Ted Miller: I can't wait for this: "Miller, you're an idiot. Our TBA QB is way better than their TBA QB! DO THEY PAY YOU FOR THIS!!! I HATE YOU!!!! ARRRRRR!"

I ditto Kevin on Nos. 1 and 2. Barkley is the No. 1 QB in the nation and Price is in the preseason top 10. After that, well, things are pretty fluid.

Here's my ranking:

1. Matt Barkley, USC
2. Keith Price, Washington
3. Jeff Tuel, Washington State
4. Jordan Wynn, Utah
5. Oregon QB to be named
6. Matt Scott, Arizona
7. Sean Mannion, Oregon State
8. Zach Maynard, California
9. UCLA QB to be named
10. Stanford QB to be named
11. Arizona State QB to be named
12. Colorado QB to be named

[+] EnlargeJeff Tuel
AP Photo/Dean HareA strong spring game helped Jeff Tuel in his bid to be Washington State's starting QB.
I've typed this before, but folks forget how good Tuel is when healthy. He's passed for 3,845 yards in his career with 25 TDs. I think he will get drafted in 2013.

Wynn is a lot like Tuel: When healthy, he's good. He's passed for 4,390 yards in his career with 31 TDs and 16 interceptions.

Not a big fan of giving a high ranking to a TBA, but Oregon's TBA gets special consideration at No. 5 because Chip Kelly has yet to fail when it comes to breaking in a new QB. We know Bryan Bennett is capable based on what he did when Darron Thomas was hurt last year, so if he gets beaten out by Marcus Mariota, well, Mariota will have to be pretty good, too. Still, this is an unknown with two ultimately unproven players.

Scott, with just five career starts, at No. 6 might surprise some folks. Here's my thinking. In 2009, Scott initially beat out Nick Foles for the starting job. In 2010, he came off the bench for an injured Foles and won a pair of starts, playing just short of brilliantly. His 150.95 efficiency rating would have finished fifth in the Pac-12 this season. He threw for a career-best 319 yards against UCLA, and won Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week with a near-flawless performance against Washington (just ask Huskies fans). Finally, he's a great fit for Rich Rodriguez's spread-option offense.

Mannion and Maynard were a toss-up. Maynard had better numbers overall and surged late in the regular season, but Mannion has better upside. What tipped my rating to Mannion is his better receivers. They should help Mannion put up big numbers in 2012.

Then we come to the TBAs, non-Oregon. UCLA is tops among them because you have two veterans with plenty of starting experience in Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut. If redshirt freshman Brett Hundley is good enough to beat out both, well, then he'll be pretty promising.

I think, at worst, Brett Nottingham or Josh Nunes, both once top recruits for Stanford, will be at least adequate. But neither has started a game or even seen meaningful action.

I also don't think Arizona State is in a jam at QB. Mike Bercovici, Michael Eubank and Taylor Kelly all have their pluses. But each is inexperienced.

As for Colorado, the job was Texas transfer Connor Wood's to win this spring, and it appears he was not consistent enough to do that. He remains the favorite though, and there's no question about his potential. Still, as Kevin noted, the Buffaloes have receiver issues.

Ted Miller | email

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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Monday, 12/22
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