After a thrilling National Championship Game on Monday night, where stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Alabama won another title by defeating Georgia in overtime by the score of 26-23. It was a great way to end the college football season, but unfortunately, that means that we don’t get to watch college football for another 200+ days, and boy does that suck. With that being said, it doesn’t mean that we don’t get a chance to take a look at the upcoming 2018 season.
Now I will admit that I am a HUGE SEC guy, I went to an SEC school, and it’s the conference that I follow most closely. Not that I don’t watch teams in other conferences, because I love college football and can’t get enough of it, but for the sake of writing about every conference, I’m just going to focus on the SEC, and in particular the quarterback position.
I’m going to guess that there are going to be a lot of discrepancies with my list, because SEC fans live and die with their teams and will defend them to the death, which is why they’re the best fans and why the SEC is the best conference (suck one Big Ten), so if I upset you, well then I don’t know what to tell you. Now with making this list, I took into account their record as a starter, and numbers, like most people, do when they rank quarterbacks.
5. Jake Bentley – Sophomore, South Carolina
“That’s my quarterback (Terrell Owens voice)!” Sure this may be a homer pick because I went to South Carolina, and unfortunately, live and die by Gamecock football, but as an SEC fan, I do think Bentley belongs on the list. Since taking over as the starter last year when the Gamecocks were coming off of a 3-win season, and struggling at 2-4, Bentley went 4-3 the rest of the season and threw for 9 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. With expectations raised this year, Bentley definitely has his struggles down the stretch run, but he led South Carolina to a 9-4 record, including a big win in the Outback Bowl over Michigan, which was the only loss for the Big Ten during bowl season (LOL), and threw for 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and also had 6 touchdowns on the ground. So for those keeping score at home, Bentley is 13-7 as a starter, with 27 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and 6 rushing touchdowns. As much as I love Bentley and the emotion and passion he plays with every Saturday, he needs to work on cutting down on the turnovers, and I don’t want, I NEED him to beat both Georgia and Clemson. Yes, the Outback Bowl victory was huge for the South Carolina program, but to take the next step, he needs to win the big games during the regular season. The future looks very bright for my Gamecocks.
4. Nick Fitzgerald – Senior, Mississippi State
The last time we saw Fitzgerald play, he suffered an absolutely gruesome ankle injury in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss (sneaky great rivalry game) in the last regular season game of the season. To make matters worse, his head coach Dan Mullen left him to go to be the coach at Florida. With a lot of things not going in his favor, I am very interested to see how Fitzgerald does next year, but I think he’ll be just fine. His new coach, former Penn State offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead and him should get along just fine because he was able to work wonders with Trace McSorley. As far as his skill set as a quarterback goes, I absolutely love watching Fitzgerald play. His numbers dropped a little bit from his sophomore to his junior season when it came to throwing the ball (21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions to 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions), but he is absolutely lethal when it comes to running the ball. In 32 career games, Fitzgerald has rushed for 2,486 yards and 33 touchdowns. He is your ideal dual-threat quarterback, with great size at 6’5″ 230 lbs. He could have his early struggles coming back from such a severe injury, but once he gets his groove back, I think he should be in for a big year.
3. Whoever Alabama is Starting at Quarterback
I may be in the minority on this, but I am a Jalen Hurts fan. I think he’s a tough kid, who’s a great leader, and a tremendous athlete. He’s 27-2 as a starter and has led the Crimson Tide to two straight national championship appearances since he’s been the starter, and was the first freshman since Hershel Walker to win SEC Offensive Player of the Year. HOWEVER, Hurts struggled in his last few games of the season and was pulled in the second half of the National Championship game, for the Flyin’ Hawaiian himself, Tua Tagovailoa, who sparked the comeback for the Tide, where they eventually won the title. A lot of Alabama fans were calling for Tua to start during the regular because he is a better thrower than Hurts, but Hurts kept leading the Tide to wins. You have to think that Tua is going to be the starter going into next season, and Hurts may switch positions or transfer, but I think there’s still a chance that he sticks around and tries to play quarterback. Both kids are very talented so it will be interesting to see which direction Nick Saban goes next year.
2. Jarrett Stidham – Junior, Auburn
The Baylor transfer made a huge splash in his first season as the Auburn starter, as he led the Tigers to the SEC West title, and defeated both Georgia and Auburn during the regular season, while putting up good numbers with 3,158 passing yards, 18 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions, to go along with 4 rushing touchdowns. Auburn stumbled in their last two games, losing the SEC Championship game to Georgia, and then the Peach Bowl to fake national champs UCF, but Stidham has the Tigers in the right direction. Auburn’s offense hasn’t been this dynamic since Nick Marshall was starting for them, and he is far superior a thrower of the football than Marshall ever could have dreamed of being. Although they will have a tough schedule next year with playing in the SEC West, Stidham has Auburn fans dreaming big, like National Championship big so it will be interesting to see how he comes back for an encore, as he recently just passed up on a chance to enter the NFL Draft.
1. Jake Fromm – Sophomore, Georgia
Having a Georgia player number one in anything just proves how objective I am because I hate the Bulldogs with every ounce of my being, sorry had to pat myself on the back there. Let me say this about Fromm, this kid kind of has the world by the balls right now. I had my doubts about him going up against Alabama in the title game, but that kid played his ass off against them and was almost the first true freshman starting quarterback to ever lead his team to a National Championship. Since he took over for quarterback Jacob Eason who was injured in the first game of the season, Fromm played great all season by throwing for 2,615 yards with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. His first start of the year was at Notre Dame, where he led the Bulldogs to a huge victory, and from there he never really looked back and was able to fend off Eason from getting his job back and even forced Eason to transfer back to Washington. Now this good is a prisoner of the moment pick for me, but Fromm is a gamer, as he proved in the thrilling Rose Bowl game against Oklahoma, and seems to have that “it factor”. It sucks for me as a Gamecock fan, because I think the Bulldogs are about to go on a run over the next decade of being a championship contender, and I would be shocked if Fromm didn’t lead the Dawgs to a title over the next few years.