SB Nation's SEC blogs have been ranking the units of each football team via the SEC Power Poll since early July. Today marks the final ranking, and it is for the SEC's quarterbacks. The comprehensive results will be published over at For Whom The Cowbell Tolls in the near future. It was not easy to come up with this ranking due to so much quarterback turnover (I wrote a bit about this at TSK recently). How do you rank a litany of inexperienced quarterbacks and flat unknowns? Turns out with a red ale and cleromancy.
Below are the rankings submitted by A Sea of Blue. Teams within the second and third tiers are interchangeable.
1. Auburn. This one is pretty easy. Nick Marshall originally started out at Georgia as a defensive back, but in two years transitioned into Auburn's starting quarterback. By this point we know how he helped to lead Auburn to the National Championship game. He was a certified threat running the ball, but reportedly has improved his passing game. Look out world.
2. Ole Miss. Bo Wallace returns for his redshirt senior season. He's had a solid career so far, and should be able to capitalize on the offensive weapons around him. I'm going to presume he cuts down on his interceptions this season.
3. Florida. Jeff Driskel will sport the most wins of any active SEC QB this fall. I'm betting that he stays healthy (not assured), and flourishes under a new OC. He's always had the wheels, and if he can take advantage of a Roper system that has had success elsewhere, he could put up big numbers this season.
4. Alabama. I don't know anything about Jacob Coker, but he received high praise from Florida State insiders and coaches last season while backing up Jameis Winston. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher says Coker will be Nick Saban's best quarterback since he's been at 'Bama. Or it could be largely unknown Blake Sims. I'll guess Coker will get the nod, and place him this high based on blind faith in Fisher's opinion of QBs and his history developing them. Watery, I know.
5. Georgia. Aaron Murray has graduated and will be replaced by senior Hutson Mason who has patiently waited his turn. Mason will have arguably the SEC's best receivers and running backs at his finger tips. He's probably going to know the playbook better than the coaches too.
6. MSU. I admit this may be too low of a ranking for some in the media's Heisman dark horse Dak Prescott. He seems like a smart, tough, leader but he wasn't great statistically last season. I'm sure Prescott will be improved this season, but his junior season in 2015 is when people should be on the look out.
7. South Carolina. Dylan Thompson has won some big games for South Carolina while backing up Connor Shaw. It's the senior's turn to shine, and he will be effective for the Gamecocks.
8. Missouri. Last year's back-up quarterback Maty Mauk saw quite a bit of action last season when Mizzou's starting QB went down. The freshman had a QB PR of 143 while throwing for 11 TDs and 2 INTs. Impressive for a freshman coming off the bench. Mizzou lost quite a bit of firepower, but I suspect Mauk will improve on last season even if it's not necessarily reflected in his stats. Mauk is a good QB, and it's a razor thin margin between him and the three or four quarterbacks above him.
9. Texas A&M. Kenny Hill will be the starter after beating out former five star freshman Kyle Allen. I don't know much if anything about Hill, but he played pretty well in mop-up time last season. He apparently has been groomed for this moment. The offense's style and skill players will do him favors.
10. Tennessee. The selection of Justin Worley as UT's starting QB appears...controversial. He'll have a lot of weapons around him, and with another season of experience will probably be better than last season. I'm tempted to rank him higher than Hill, but can't quite pull the trigger.
11. UK. Patrick Towles will be the starter after a QB competition that probably began the last week or two last season. Towles should be fine, but will probably be inconsistent at the beginning of the season. He has high upside though, and I suspect his play will improve as the season progresses.
12. LSU. Still no starting quarterback named in Baton Rouge. Last season Anthony Jennings helped LSU beat Arkansas coming off the bench, but his stats in the bowl game when Iowa had time to prepare weren't good. LSU's QB's will be able to mask any deficiencies by handing the ball off to their stable of excellent RBs.
13. Vanderbilt. There's yet to be a starting quarterback named in Nashville. Sounds like there are several solid candidates though, but only one has any experience. He also wasn't great last season. I would agree this ranking is too low for Vandy what with their potential in Johnny McCray, and former NFL coaches running the offense. Yet, there are too many unknowns to rank them higher at the moment.
14. Arkansas. Brandon Allen was injured most of last season, and I'll freely admit this ranking probably isn't fair to him. If I were to "buy low" in these rankings Allen would definitely be it. Being able to hand off to Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams may prevent us from ever accurately judging his abilities.