Three-Point Stance: Starting QB decisions, Pac-12, Kentucky
Rivals National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with some thoughts on a few starting quarterback decisions, the non-QB MVP for every Pac-12 team and the Mount Rushmore of Kentucky football since 1980.
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1. BREAKING DOWN RECENT STARTING QB DECISIONS
As we head into Week 1 of the college football season, big decisions have been made regarding starting quarterbacks for several Power Five teams. While some of these choices appear to be good, others are downright puzzling.
Joe Milton, Tennessee — This one puzzles me a bit as we saw how much Milton struggled at Michigan and big-time recruit Harrison Bailey had shown flashes last season. Hendon Hooker is also here, so someone is leaving, right?
Hudson Card, Texas — Card won a close battle with Casey Thompson and both could see time but based on what I heard early from Texas sources, Card was a fit in Steve Sarkisian’s offense immediately.
Cade McNamara, Michigan — His experience from last year helps and he did show some good signs but a quick hook could be there if he struggles.
Haynes King, Texas A&M — This is the right choice to me as he can extend the play better than Zach Calzada and that could be needed early.
CJ Stroud, Ohio State — No suspense here as I think he won the job in the spring and will have a season that could push for the Heisman.
Will Levis, Kentucky — The arm talent is there and he could put up solid numbers in the new offensive system. Beating out Joey Gatewood wasn’t that hard.
Hunter Johnson, Northwestern — Ryan Hilinski was thought to be the favorite so Johnson must have really impressed and is looking to live up to that one-time five-star status.
Jack Coan, Notre Dame — Coan isn’t a surprise as he’s the most experienced choice but he’s not a guy that will make big plays when his team is behind.
Charlie Brewer, Utah — I love Brewer and his toughness and leadership, but I worry about another concussion.
Anthony Brown, Oregon — He’s much, much better than people think and he could have a monster season.
2. NON-QB MVPS IN THE PAC-12
I wrap up my non-QB MVP series with the Pac-12 teams.
Arizona - Isaiah Mays - Mays is going to have to do an awful lot for the Wildcats from the safety position, as there's not a ton of talent in front of him. He's one of the top in the conference at that position, and should be able to thrive in Don Brown's defensive scheme that has seen guys such as Jabrill Peppers become stars.
Arizona State - Rachaad White - An absolute burner at running back, White is a big play waiting to happen. The Sun Devils would be smart to find a way to get the ball in his hands more often.
Cal - Cameron Goode - Historically, Justin Wilcox's defenses have had outstanding linebackers as the leaders of the unit, and this year it's Goode's turn to be the guy. He'll be the No. 1 edge rusher for the Golden Bears, but also is athletic to drop back in coverage and not give up a ton.
Colorado - Mekhi Blackmon - A corner who can play outside or in the slot, Blackmon is the embodiment of the versatility that more teams are coveting in their DB's. He's outstanding in press-man, earning PFF's second-highest grade in CFB last season.
Oregon - Kayvon Thibodeaux - Arguably the top defensive player in the country, Thibodeaux is a threat to make a TFL or sack on every down. He's the cornerstone of the Ducks defense, and if he plays up to his potential, Oregon could be headed for the playoff.
Oregon State - Avery Roberts - The off-ball linebacker has great range and playmaking ability, and will be among the top in the conference in total tackles this season.
Stanford - Thomas Booker - An unappreciated true nose tackle, Booker is one of the best run defenders in the conference. He plugs all the holes to allow Stanford's linebackers to clean up the mess.
UCLA - Quentin Lake - Arguably the top safety in the conference, Lake is able to play center field with the best of them, and cover up for mistakes in front of them. The Bruins' offense is going to rack up yards and points this year, and it's going to be up to Lake and that defense to take them to the next level.
USC - Tuli Tuipolotu - A disruptor on the inside of the defensive line, Tuipolotu will help suck up blockers so that Drake Jackson, Nick Figueroa and Korey Foreman can wreak havoc in opposing backfields.
Utah - Devin Lloyd - One of the top linebackers in the conference, Lloyd excels equally in pass coverage, against the run, and as a blitzer. He'll be among the top 'backers in the country by year's end.
Washington - Trent McDuffie - The next great Huskies DB, McDuffie has solidified himself as the top corner in the conference. He's a phenomenal tackler at the position, with only two missed tackles in two seasons, and is equally excellent in both man and zone coverages. An All-American nod isn't out of the question for him this season.
Washington State - Max Borghi - One of the top running backs in the conference, Borghi is supremely talented as both a runner and a pass catcher. If the Cougars' offense is going to get going this season, it's because Borghi touches the ball a lot.
3. THE MOUNT RUSHMORE OF KENTUCKY FOOTBALL
Finally, we have the Mount Rushmore since 1980 for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Tim Couch - The first pick in the 1999 NFL draft may have gone down as a bust in the league, but he was an awfully special player at the collegiate level. In two seasons as a starter, he racked up more than 8,000 yards through the air and 73 touchdowns, becoming a first-team All-American as a junior in 1998. When he finished at Kentucky, he held NCAA records for most completions in a season and career completion percentage, as well as the SEC record for total offense and passing yards in a season (4,275), which was not broken until Joe Burrow's 2019 season (and he needed four more games to do so).
Lynn Bowden, Jr. - A first-team All-American in 2019, Bowden was the most versatile offensive player. Leading the Wildcats in passing, rushing, and receiving, Bowden accomplished a feat that no one else ever had. An All-SEC performer at wide receiver as a sophomore before that breakout junior season, Bowden was also a dynamic kick and punt returner.
Josh Allen - The 2018 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Allen was an absolute menace as a pass rusher. During his time in Lexington, he set school records in sacks and tackles for a loss. A unanimous All-American, Bednarik and Nagurski Trophy Winner as a senior, he was the best defensive player to ever put on the Wildcats uniform.
Randall Cobb - A guy whose numbers don't quite tell the full story, Cobb was one of the most electric offensive players of the last 20 years. A two-time first-team All-SEC selection, Cobb also garnered a first-team All-American nod in 2010, after he had more than 1,400 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns, to go along with three touchdown passes, and 955 total return yards and another touchdown. Initially a quarterback, once Cobb made the move to generic offensive weapon, his skills became completely unlocked, and he was able to make a weekly impact like few other players before or since.