NCAAF - Quarterback Battles Settled at Major Programs
by DS WilliamsonBeyond Alabama, most college football teams have decided on their Week 1 settled their in-house quarterback battles. Nick Saban won’t say if Tua Tagovailoa or Jalen Hurts is going to lead his team, which might allow Alabama’s quarterback battle to bleed into the regular season. Alabama’s first 3 games are versus Louisville, Arkansas State, and Mississippi. Saban knows the Crimson Tide can beat all three of those opponents with either Tagovailoa or Hurts under center.
While we must wait for Saban to decide on Alabama’s starting quarterback, Clemson, Florida State, Florida, and USC know who their pivots are going to be.
Clemson Tigers – Kelly Bryant Odds makers got it wrong when they set +800 odds on Clemson freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence to win the Heisman Trophy. Dabo Sweeney said Kelly Bryant is Clemson’s Week 1 starter, settling one of the major quarterback battles in the country.
Last season, Bryant led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff, but Rivals.com ranked Trevor Lawrence the number 1 football player in the nation. During his high school career, Lawrence threw 160 touchdown passes to only 21 interceptions. Indications pointed to Sweeney choosing Lawrence over Bryant.
Sweeney must believe Bryant deserves the nod, with experience serving as the mitigating factor. Lawrence could still end up starting at some point this season. If Bryant can’t complete passes in Clemson’s vertical passing attack, Sweeney won’t hesitate to make a switch.
Next Game: Furman vs. Clemson (Saturday, Sept 1 at 12:20pm)
Florida State Seminoles – Deondre Francois Before an early season injury, many Florida State fans had talked up Francois as the next Jameis Winston. After the season, Jimbo Fisher jumped ship to coach Texas A&M and Willie Taggart became Florida State’s new coach. Taggart declared the quarterback position open.
Early in the spring, Taggart said he expected Francois to show leadership. Even though Francois didn’t participate in spring drills, he still won the quarterback battle by showing Taggart he had what it took to pilot the Florida State Seminoles. “I know he can play football. Can he lead this football team? That goes for anyone who’s quarterback, that’s more important than anything,” Taggart said. “I think we’ve all seen around here, when you have a quarterback that can lead this football team, great things happen.”
James Blackman was Francois' opponent in what was supposed to be one of the more intriguing quarterback battles, but
Next Game: #17 Virginia Tech vs. #19 FSU -7.5 (Monday, Sept 3 at 8pm)
Florida Gators – Feleipe Franks While Saban won’t mind if Alabama’s quarterback battle drags into the regular season, Florida coach Dan Mullen named his starting quarterback a week before the season started. Mullen declared Feleipe Franks the Gators’ starting quarterback.
Dual-threat quarterback Emory Jones had declared to Ohio State before switching to Florida specifically because the Gators hired Dan Mullen, who has a reputation for developing young quarterbacks. Part of Jones’ developments is to sit on the bench and watch Franks lead the Gators’ offense.
Next Game: Charleston Southern at Florida (Saturday, Sep 1 at 7:30pm)
USC Trojans – J.T. Daniels Rivals.com ranked J.T. Daniels the second best high school quarterback in the nation. They also ranked him the fourth best high school football player at any position. Although coach Clay Helton said the quarterback position was open, nobody believed Helton would declare any quarterback other than Daniels the starter.
From Day 1, Daniels showed immense football knowledge. At only 6-foot-1, he’s on the shorter side for a starting quarterback. But, he can read defenses, which should give him a head start in his college career.
USC faces UNLV this coming weekend. Daniels has a shot to get any kinks out of his game before the Trojan’s travel to Stanford on September 8th.
Next Game: UNLV vs. #15 USC -42.5 (Saturday, Sep 1 at 4pm ET)