Quarterback Turnover & Predicting the 4 Teams in the 2014 College Football Playoffs

Christian Petersen

Attempting to narrow down the pool of teams who will make the playoff next year based on the QB's returning across the country.

The BCS system is finished and we're entering a 4-team playoff next year. I know I'm excited but it's still a long ways away. In thinking about some very early contenders for those 4 spots I realized how much 'name' talent college football is losing at quarterback. Not only name talent (ahem, Logan Thomas) but a lot of quarterbacks who had long and/or prosperous careers in college are now moving on with life.

Let's take a look at the major conferences and where things stand heading into 2014.

ACC

COMING BACK

FSU- Jameis Winston

Syracuse- Terrel Hunt

NC State- Pete Thomas

Duke- Anthony Boone

Virginia- David Watford

***

LOSING

Clemson- Tajh Boyd

Boston College- Chase Rettig

Maryland- C.J. Brown

Wake Forest- Tanner Price

Virgina Tech- Logan Thomas

Miami- Stephen Morris

Georgia Tech- Vad Lee (left school)

North Carolina- Bryn Renner*

Pitt- Tom Savage

Florida State looks like as big of a shoe-in for the playoff as any team in the country. Clemson losing Boyd is a big blow to the top-end talent for the conference and a shocking 9 teams total are going to be breaking in new quarterbacks next season. The only exception would be North Carolina who adjusted well to the career-ending injury of Renner and have Marquise Williams coming back with a good amount of experience.

Big Ten

COMING BACK

MSU- Connor Cook

Iowa- Jake Rudock

Minnesota- Philip Nelson & Mitch Leidner

Michigan- Devin Gardner

Northwestern- Trevor Siemian

Ohio State- Braxton Miller

Wisconsin- Joel Stave

Penn State- Christian Hackenberg

Indiana- Tre Roberson & Nate Sudfeld

Purdue- Danny Etling

***

LOSING

Nebraska- Taylor Martinez*

Illinois- Nathan Scheelhaase

Does this mean the B1G is going to have a really solid season across the board? They've got a lot of quarterbacks coming back and even Nebraska played the majority of last season without Taylor Martinez so they're bringing back experience as well. I don't know if this means an elite team is coming out of the Big Ten, though. They are more likely to beat up on each other if anything.

Big 12

COMING BACK

Baylor- Bryce Petty

Oklahoma- Trevor Knight & Blake Bell

Texas- David Ash

Kansas State- Jake Waters & Daniel Sams

Texas Tech- Davis Webb

West Virginia- Clint Trickett

Iowa State- Sam Richardson & Grant Rohach

Kansas- Jake Heaps

***

LOSING

Oklahoma State- Clint Chelf

TCU- Casey Pachall

The Big 12 is poised to have a really strong year if the quarterbacks are a major indicator. Even Oklahoma State has J.W. Walsh (353 career attempts) and TCU has Trevone Boykin (468 career attempts) coming back and both of them have seen extensive time over the past two seasons.

Pac-12

COMING BACK

Stanford- Kevin Hogan

Oregon- Marcus Mariota

Oregon State- Sean Mannion

Washington State- Connor Halliday

Cal- Jared Goff

Arizona State- Taylor Kelly

UCLA- Brett Hundley

USC- Cody Kessler

Colorado- Sefo Liufau & Connor Wood

***

LOSING

Washington- Keith Price

Arizona- B.J. Denker

Utah- Travis Wilson (injury)

Mariota, Kelly, and Hundley coming back really gives the Pac-12 perhaps the best collection of quarterback talent in the country. It shouldn't be a surprise if this is the best conference in the country in 2014 from top to bottom. Rich Rod will have to start over with a new QB again, Petersen will begin his career in Seattle with a new QB, but Utah got some experience out of Adam Schulz once Wilson (who is believed to be retiring due to concussions) went down with injury.

SEC

COMING BACK

Florida- Jeff Driskel & Tyler Murphy

Tennessee- Justin Worley

Kentucky- Maxwell Smith & Jalen Whitlow

Auburn- Nick Marshall

Miss State- Dak Prescott

Ole Miss- Bo Wallace

Arkansas- Brandon Allen

***

LOSING

Missouri- James Franklin

South Carolina- Connor Shaw

Georgia- Aaron Murray

Vanderbilt- Austyn Carta-Samuels

Alabama- A.J. McCarron

LSU- Zach Mettenberger

Texas A&M- Johnny Manziel

This is what you call a talent drain! The SEC might still have the best talent across the board but having 7 of your top 8 teams from last year replace quarterbacks is insane. Missouri might be the best off heading into the fall with Maty Mauk playing well when Franklin missed some time but the SEC could be a major crap shoot in 2014 if these offenses don't find a rhythm.

Names to Watch:

2014 class: Kyle Allen (A&M)

2013 class: Cooper Bateman (Alabama), Kevin Olsen (Miami), Brice Ramsey (Georgia)

2012 class: Cyler Miles (Washington) and Chad Voytik (Pitt)

Texas A&M has been hit by attrition over the past year and Allen should have a solid opportunity to start as a true freshman. He's not even close to Manziel as an athlete (who is, though?) but he's talented enough to do some good things in Sumlin's system.

Bateman, Olsen, and Ramsey are a trio of rising redshirt freshmen who should get an opportunity to step into reasonably good situations surrounded by a lot of talent on offense.

Miles played a little bit in 2013 and looked quite good too. He went 37 for 61 (60.7%) for 418 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions while running for 200 yards on just 23 carries. He's a great athlete who should work really well with Chris Petersen.

Voytik nearly won the starting job at Pitt back in August and should have the job on lock down for the next 3 years. He was rated quite high coming out of the prep ranks and offers a nice combination of pro-style skills with mobility.

So who are the 4 playoff teams in 50-some weeks from now?

I'm putting in FSU for sure. Out of the Pac-12 I want to take one of Stanford, Oregon, or UCLA but I think that conference is going to be real tough and the league champ might have 2 losses. It's tough to think that with Meyer's recruiting and Miller coming back that OSU won't be in there but there should be plenty of good teams to offer up an upset.

Is it really conceivable that the SEC doesn't get a team into the playoff? I really like what Oklahoma is bringing back and the mojo they built this past season. Ahh, this is so hard!

Okay, my picks are:

No. 1 seed- Florida State

No. 2 seed- Ohio State

No. 3 seed- LSU

No. 4 seed- Oregon

...with Oklahoma, Alabama, and Baylor the top 3 teams left out.

Let us look back on this in a year and see how wrong it is because that's how crazy college football works.

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