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Mythbusters: The College Quarterback Narrative Edition

  • Kyle Crabbs
  • September 18, 2019
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There's a whole bunch of BS out there about quarterbacks. A lot of it comes from the complexity of the position -- when there's so much to digest and learn it is easy to have things fall through the cracks. But that's not an excuse, really -- so many of the narratives involved with quarterbacks making the jump to the pro level come down to just one thing: laziness.

And that's what we hope to eliminate today: any excuse for the lazy narratives that plague the common fan.

Myth: "School X" has never put out a good quarterback! ______ will stink!

I see this one all the time -- this year mostly centered around Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa. "Well, Alabama has put out a bunch of scrub quarterbacks in recent years." Uh, yeah. Why the hell do you think everyone is so wound up about Tua?

Here's the thing. If you really wanted to play by this rule, then I fully expect you to be stanning for quarterbacks like Alan Bowman, Chase Garbers, Tommy Stevens and Jawon Pass. Nothing? Well they're the quarterbacks at Texas Tech (Mahomes), Cal (Goff), Mississippi State (Prescott) and Louisville (Jackson) -- the college stops of some of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL! And helmet scouters, no. You absolutely cannot claim Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts. Why? Because Hurts started at Alabama -- the same school you're knocking Tagovailoa for playing at.

Take a moment and appreciate just how silly this sounds, please.

Let's extend this a little further, shall we? Here are the schools who have put out Super Bowl winning quarterbacks:

  • Alabama (Stabler, Namath, Starr)
  • Arizona (Foles)
  • Brigham Young (McMahon, Young)
  • California (Rodgers)
  • Delaware (Flacco)
  • Florida State (Brad Johnson)
  • Grambling (Doug Williams)
  • Louisiana Tech (Bradshaw)
  • Louisville (Unitas)
  • Miami OH (Roethlisberger)
  • Michigan (Brady)
  • Navy (Staubach)
  • Northern Iowa (Warner)
  • Notre Dame (Theismann, Montana)
  • Ole Miss (E Manning)
  • Purdue (Dawson, Griese, Brees)
  • Southern Mississippi (Favre)
  • Stanford (Plunkett, Elway)
  • Tennessee (P Manning)
  • UCLA (Aikman)
  • Washington State (Rypien)
  • West Virginia (Hostetler)
  • Wisconsin (Wilson)

Only two schools in all of college football can lay claim to more than two individuals winning a Lombardi Trophy: Purdue and Alabama.

Call me crazy, but it's almost like the school has absolutely nothing to do with a player's success rate in the NFL.

Myth: Busted

Myth: _______ never wins any big games! He can't cut it in the NFL.

Let's start from the top here, shall we? The NFL's all-time leading passer in yardage is Drew Brees. Brees played at Purdue as was a three year starter from 1998 to 2000. You want to know what Drew Brees' record was in games against ranked teams at Purdue? 6-10. In games against top 10 ranked opponents, Drew Brees was 3-5. Brees was winless on New Years Day Bowls (0-2).

Next in line on the all-time yardage list? Peyton Manning. Manning never beat the University of Florida in four years at Tennessee. Manning's record against top 10 ranked opponents in college? 2-6.

Third on the list? Brett Favre. An all-time legend! And, drumroll please, Favre's record against ranked teams at Southern Miss? A whopping 3-7.

It's winning big games at a high level is secondary to, you know, the things that matter.

For the record, here's the W/L record against top-10 teams of some of the best 2020 QB prospects:

  • Tua Tagovailoa: 3-1
  • Justin Herbert: 2-2
  • Jake Fromm: 3-4
  • Jordan Love: 0-1

Myth: Busted

Myth: There's too much talent around ________. Life won't be that easy in the NFL!

Life is never easy in the NFL relative to college football. Can this one hold some water? Yes -- I do think the drop off of the cast around a player relative to the competition is something to make a note of. But at the same time, transcendent talents come from all kinds of environments. We've seen Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson come out of loaded programs that were filled with NFL players. And on the other side of the coin, we've seen Carson Wentz come from North Dakota State and play at an MVP level (when he's healthy).

If you think any one of those three quarterbacks stinks, please get yourself checked out.

But here's the fun part. No matter how good a quarterback's supporting cast is in college, he's going to have a better supporting in the NFL. Because an NFL roster all around is better than a college roster. The difference is the speed of the defenders and the precision needed to still operate at a high level. So look for accuracy and timing. If that exists within the construct of the player's film -- odds are he's going to be just fine.

So whether you're watching Jordan Love at Utah State, Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma or Justin Herbert at Oregon -- ask yourself if the efficiency and the operation on a play by play basis works at a consistent level.

Myth: Meh-sted

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Kyle Crabbs