We've seen a little bit of shift of power in the quarterback position, specifically the Big Ten now making some waves. But can that league and others surpass the West Coast?
Let's rank the Power 5 conference by the quarterback position.
5th Best: SEC
Top: Dak Prescott (Miss State)
Middle: Jeremy Johnson (Auburn), Josh Dobbs (Tennessee), Kyle Allen (Texas A&M), Maty Mauk (Missouri), Brandon Allen (Arkansas), Jake Coker (Alabama)
Bottom: Brice Ramsey (Georgia), Anthony Jennings (LSU), Ryan Buchanan (Ole Miss), Will Grier (Florida), Connor Mitch (South Carolina), Patrick Towles (Kentucky), Johnny McCrary (Vanderbilt)
If you're a believer in the QB position being the driving force for a team it might be time to accept that the SEC won't put together several dynamic teams in 2015. Prescott returns as the obvious Heisman favorite within the league--after him who is the 2nd best guy?
Kyle Allen has the talent to explode in A&M's system but the Aggies still have to shake off the post-Manziel funk.
Johnson brings back some memories of Cam Newton and could be a solid bet to move up to the top of the rankings. Still, he has a lot to prove.
Dobbs should be fun to watch, Brandon Allen is solid without doing too much in the Hogs' run-heavy scheme, and Coker will probably be above-average at best with what he has to work with at Alabama.
This bottom list is bad, though. Particularly with the young question marks at high profile programs like Georgia and Florida, plus a giant ball of terrible at LSU. With 5 of the 7 bottom listed coming out of the East that division is bound to drag down the SEC.
The flip side to that is the West division could be the best QB position in the country, but that still would mean a few guys taking significant steps forward.
4th Best: BIG 12
Top: Trevone Boykin (TCU)
Middle: Seth Russell (Baylor), Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State), Trevor Knight (Oklahoma), Skyler Howard (West Virginia), Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), Sam Richardson (Iowa State), Tyrone Swoopes (Texas)
Bottom: Joe Hubener (Kansas State), Carter Stanley (Kansas)
I expected to rank the Big 12 higher before starting some research but afterwards I don't know if that's possible. Boykin went bonkers last year and is the lone proven star of the league. Even still, could he take a small step back now that everyone had a full year to scout that new TCU offense?
The middle group has the potential to be pretty darn good (I felt kind moving Swoopes up as he at least has shown some flashes and has a pretty good skill-set, but he's at the most extreme bottom of the middle) as most expect Baylor's Seth Russell to put up huge numbers.
This league will put up the numbers pretty much no matter what. I just don't know if there's enough star power. Knight might not even win the job in Norman and I'm not even sure who would be the 3rd best quarterback right now.
3rd Best: Big Ten
Top: J.T. Barrett (Ohio State), Cardale Jones (Ohio State), Connor Cook (Michigan State)
Middle: Christian Hackenberg (Penn State), Tommy Armstrong Jr (Nebraska), Nate Sudfeld (Indiana), Wes Lunt (Illinois)
Bottom: Joel Stave (Wisconsin), Shane Morris (Michigan), C.J. Beathard (Iowa), Mitch Leidner (Minnesota), Chris Laviano (Rutgers), Caleb Rowe (Maryland), Zack Oliver (Northwestern), Austin Appleby (Purdue)
You could probably bump Hackenberg into the top group but talented as he may be he is coming off a 12 TD-15 INT season at 6.2 YPA, so whatever. I don't think it's a given he'll have a huge Heisman-level season.
The Big Ten has been getting a lot of good publicity lately for quarterbacking but it's a really top-heavy conference. Cook and one of the Ohio State players might be Heisman finalists which is a huge boost. The middle group is solid actually with a few proven players with good past production.
The bottom is quite large and lacking in hope. Kind of sums up the Big Ten, really.
2nd Best: ACC
Top: Deshaun Watson (Clemson), Justin Thomas (Georgia Tech), Everett Golson (FSU), Jacoby Brissett (NC State)
Middle: Marquise Williams (North Carolina), Chad Voytik (Pitt), Brad Kaaya (Miami)
Bottom: Michael Brewer (Virginia Tech), Reggie Bonnafon (Louisville), Thomas Sirk (Duke), Darius Wade (Boston College), Matt Johns (Virginia), Terrel Hunt (Syracuse), John Wolford (Wake Forest)
If we're ranking the Top 7 quarterbacks in each league the ACC has to take the cake. Brissett is my one big projection to have a huge year and is bound to get a lot of darkhorse Heisman love. Plus, I'm putting Golson in the top, deal with it.
Someone like Williams could put up huge numbers (even kind of did last year) and might not beat a few others for all-league honors. Plus, Voytik and Kaaya are quietly strong young quarterbacks on good trajectories.
The bottom offers more hope than the Big Ten, too. Brewer and Bonnafon could surprise although maybe not quite as likely given their programs' schemes.
1st Place: Pac-12
Top: Cody Kessler (USC)
Middle: Anu Solomon (Arizona), Mike Bercovici (Arizona State), Jared Goff (Cal), Vernon Adams (Oregon), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Travis Wilson (Utah), Sefo Liufau (Colorado)
Bottom: Jeff Lindquist (Washington), Luke Falk (Washington State), Seth Collins (Oregon State)
Now that Mariota is gone from Eugene the star power took a hit but the Pac-12 average rankings throughout the entire league is still very, very high.
That middle group is insanely strong and offers a little bit of everything. Adams looks to continue the Oregon production, Solomon taking the next step under Rich Rod, Bercovici quietly might have been better than Taylor Kelly, Hogan a solid veteran, and Rosen the hot-shot freshman destined for greatness.
Best of all, there isn't a large list of bottom feeders. All three on the bottom are going to be new starters which hurts but things could be worse than being coached by Leach or Petersen.