We all wish we could figure out who will be the best quarterback of 2015.
My ratings are strictly looking at how these particular quarterbacks will play as collegians with no regard to their pro potential at all. These are my projections.
1. Trevon Boykin, TCU: Last year as a junior he blossomed with 33 TDs and 10 interceptions. He averaged 7.9 yards per attempt, with a 72.5 adjusted QBR and 145.9 rating. If I were a betting man (cough), he would be my choice to win the Heisman Trophy.
2. Cardale Jones/JT Barrett, Ohio State: I sure don’t pity Urban Meyer, but it sure will be tough picking a starter between these two. Both can run, pass and appear to be good leaders. Both can run the offense near perfect. Jones: 7 TDs/2 ints, 9.4 ypa, 70.6 adj QBR and 160.2 rating. Barrett: 34 TDs/10 ints, 9.0 ypa, 86.7 adj QBR and 169.8 rating. I’ll trust Meyer to make the right choice.
3. DeShaun Watson, Clemson: Watson has big expectations coming into this season. I can see why, he has looked fantastic in his brief playing time. Evidently others saw what I did. The kid is fantastic. He has some truly gaudy numbers, albeit with limited action. 14 TDs/2 Ints, 10.7 ypa, 90.8 adj QBR and 188.6 rating.
4. Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky: Doughty isn’t featured on television very often, which is too bad. He really came into his own last year and has been granted a sixth year of eligibility. His injuries will probably keep him out of the NFL. However, the NFL’s loss is Western Kentucky’s gain. With Jeff Brohm, a young offensive minded coach, Doughty should have another terrific season. If he can match last season’s 49 TDs/10 ints, 8.8 ypa, 78.9 adj QBR and 167.1 rating, he’ll be just fine.
5. Cody Kessler, USC: Kessler improved greatly in his junior season, although he was pretty darn good as sophomore, too. If nothing else, he had a stable situation with USC’s head coaching position. That couldn’t hurt. I’m not as high on USC as many others are, but that won’t be Kessler’s fault. Last year he had 39 TDs/5 ints, 8.5 ypa, 78.9 adj QBR and 167.1 rating.
6. Jared Goff, California: Goff wasn’t too bad as a freshman, even though Cal won only one game under Sonny Dykes. In Dykes and Goff’s second season, things drastically improved for both of them and the team. Goff lit it up right away with 22 TDs in his first five games. He finished with 35 TDs/7 ints, 7.8 ypa, 75.2 adj QBR and 147.6 rating.
7. Connor Cook, Michigan State: Cook’s raw numbers aren’t quite as striking as the others, but Michigan State would still be slugging it out trying to win 17-14 without this guy. He was exceptionally consistent, too, even at the toughest times. He put up over 700 yards in the Spartans’ two losses last season (to Ohio State and Oregon, the top two teams in the country). He finished with 24 TDs/8 ints, 8.8 ypa, 81.2 adj QBR and 149.4 rating.
8. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State: Prescott was the frontrunner to win the Heisman Trophy for a time last season. Miss State was also number 1 in the rankings for six weeks. He is still the same player, but he has a lot less help around him this season. His Bulldogs are picked to finish last in the SEC West and that figures to hurt him. He finished with 27 TD/11 ints, 8.7 ypa, 74.1 adj QBR and 151.7 rating.
9. Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati: Kiel came to Cincy with a lot of publicity and high expectations. He did not disappoint Bearcat fans in his sophomore season. The team went 9-4 and Kiel lit it up. He had 31TDs/13 ints, 8.3 ypa, 70.0 adj QBR, and 149.4 rating. Expect even bigger things this season.
10. Anu Solomon, Arizona: Rich Rodriguez found a gem in Solomon. He could never find his guy at Michigan, but he has made up for it at Arizona. Solomon was a star right from the start of his freshman season. He and the Wildcats beat his former hometown UNLV, 58-13, with Solomon throwing for 425 yards, with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. For the season, he had 28 TDs/9 ints, 7.0 ypa, 58.5 adj QBR and 130.7 rating.
Notables: Brad Kaaya, Miami-Florida; Zach Terrell, Western Michigan; Jacoby Brissett, NC State; Taylor Lamb, Appalachian State; Brandon Allen, Arkansas; Maty Mauk, Missouri; Driphus Jackson, Rice; Joe Licata, Buffalo; Blake Frohnapfel, Massachusetts; Marquis Williams, North Carolina
Top QBs off injury or disappointing seasons: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State; Nat Sudfeld, Indiana; Mason Rudolph/JW Walsh, Oklahoma State; Davis Webb/Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech; Taysom Hill, BYU; Matt Johnson, Bowling Green; Chuckie Keeton, Utah State; Will Garner, Louisville.
Top transfers: Everett Golson, Florida State; Vernon Adams, Oregon; Jake Ruddock, Michigan Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech.
Top new starters: Jeremy Johnson, Auburn; Seth Russell, Baylor; Skyler Howard, West Virginia Malik Zaire, Notre Dame.
Top run/pass QBs: Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech; Fredi Knighton, Arkansas State; Drew Hare, Northern Illinois; Keenan Reynolds, Navy; Kevin Ellison, Georgia Southern.
Top sleepers: Sam Richardson, Iowa State; Sefo Liufau, Colorado; Chad Voytik, Pitt; Paxton Lynch, Memphis; Cooper Rush, Central Michigan; Nick Arbuckle, Georgia State; Tyler Jones, Texas State; Justin Holmes, Central Florida; Logan Woodside, Toledo; Dane Evans, Tulsa.
Reno/Northern Nevada Notes: Coming up is The Greek Festival, Aug. 21-23, at Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church (775-825-5365 renogreekfest.com); Burning Man from Aug. 30 thru Sept. 7 in Black Rock City, on the Nevada Playa (burningman.org); The Best In The West Nugget Rib Cook-Off from Sept. 2-7 at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks (775-356-3300 nuggetribcookoff.com).
Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. Check out his new website at www.againstthenumber.com and www.sharpssports.com.&n bsp;You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Contact Chris at [email protected].