The 10 Greatest College Quarterbacks of the 2000's
As the first decade of the 21st century comes to a close, I wanted to take a look back at the quarterbacks who had the greatest impact on college football over the last ten years.
In what is clearly the most visible position in all of sports, the great quarterback debate can be endless.
What are the credentials of a great quarterback? The answers you may get to this simple question can be endless, as well.
The greatest measure by any standard is wins. You better be able to lead your team to victories. Stats are just boring numbers if they don't lead to bowl wins and championships.
Passing yards, completion percentages, touchdowns...these are all important, but can end up as no more than window dressing on a bad team.
Here's a top 10 look at the players who did it all.
10. Matthew Stafford, Georgia
The 6'3" 230lb quarterback from Highland Park, Texas began his career at Georgia with considerable hype.
In fact, Mel Kiper said Stafford would "eventually become the number one pick in the NFL draft."
Stafford didn't disappoint.
He won 35 games, including three bowl wins in his three-year career, after becoming the first true freshman to start at Georgia since Quincy Carter in 1998.
He also set the Georgia record for touchdown passes in 2008 with 25 and is second in school history in passing yards in a season, with 3,459.
Stafford also lived up to all the expectations as the 2008 Capital One Bowl MVP did go on to become the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
9. Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
As strange as this may sound in reference to one of only two sophomores to ever win a Heisman Trophy, Sam Bradford's story is more of what could have been than anything else.
The talented quarterback from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma never got to finish what he started at Oklahoma after suffering a shoulder injury in the first game of his junior—and last—season.
However, when he was healthy Bradford put up amazing numbers.
In his redshirt-freshman season at OU, Bradford set a school record for consecutive pass completions (22) and broke the NCAA mark for touchdown passes (32.)
All Bradford did to follow up his freshman season was win the Heisman Trophy in a sophomore campaign that saw him throw for 4,721 yards and 50 touchdowns while leading the Sooners to their second consecutive Big XII Championship.
8. Chase Daniel, Missouri
This diminutive Texan could not have been any larger on the field. Daniel replaced a Missouri legend in Brad Smith and did it in impressive fashion.
After earning the starting position as a sophomore in 2006, Daniel set a school record for touchdowns in a single game (5) and finished the season with 3,527 yards and 28 touchdowns.
In 2007, Daniel became the first Missouri quarterback to lead the Tigers to a 12-win season and the first UM quarterback to be named the Big XII Offensive Player of the Year.
His senior season was even more impressive, as he completed 72.9 percent of his throws for 4,335 yards and 39 touchdowns.
He also passed his predecessor, Smith, as the Tigers' career leader in total offense with 13,256 yards.
7. Philip Rivers, NC State
Rivers has been so good as an NFL quarterback; it has overshadowed how great he was at NC State.
He was a four-year starter for the Wolfpack and finished his career as the second (now fourth) leading passer in NCAA history with 13,484 yards.
Also, his 95 touchdown throws still ranks him eighth all-time in college football.
Rivers was also a winner. NC State went 3-1 in bowl games during his career and the 6'5" 230lb quarterback was named the MVP in three of them.
6. Graham Harrell, Texas Tech
From 2006-2008, no record was too big for the crafty quarterback from Ennis, Texas to break.
Harrell ended his career with the Red Raiders as the NCAA leader in touchdown passes (134), total touchdowns (147), and was also the only quarterback in NCAA history to throw for over 5,000 yards in multiple seasons throwing for 5,111 yards in 2008.
He also holds the Texas Tech career passing yardage record with 12,707 yards.
Winning was also something Harrell could do. At the end of the 2006 season, he led Tech to the largest comeback victory (34 points) in NCAA history in the Insight.com Bowl, and after outperforming Texas' Colt McCoy in a head to head match up in 2008, he led the Red Raiders to their highest national ranking in school history at No. 2.
5. Pat White, West Virginia
I hear the groans already at this selection. Well, let me dispel any argument for you.
Pat White is the single greatest running quarterback of all-time.
He set the Big East and West Virginia records for rushing yards as a freshman in 2005, with 952. He broke them in 2006, with 1,219. He broke them again in 2007, with 1,335, and ended his career as the most prolific runner in NCAA history at the quarterback position, with 4,480 yards and 47 touchdowns.
And in case you're wondering, he could throw it a little bit as well. White had a career completion percentage of 64.8 percent and threw for 6,049 yards and 56 touchdowns.
Oh, by the way, White is also the only quarterback in NCAA history to win four consecutive bowl games, and was 2-0 in BCS bowls.
4. Colt McCoy, Texas
Uh...talk about replacing a legend.
When Longhorn fans got their first look at this skinny kid from a 2A high school in West Texas they were not impressed.
All he's done since he stepped on the field as a redshirt freshman in 2006, however, is prove that you do get second chances to make first impressions.
In McCoy's four years as the starting quarterback at UT he's done the unthinkable.
He's made you wonder what all the fuss about Vince Young was about.
That's assuming one minor detail, of course. He needs to beat Alabama on Jan. 7. He's done everything else imaginable.
The 6'2" 210lb quarterback has won more games than any other quarterback in NCAA history (44).
He also owns 10 school records and three other NCAA marks: single season completion percentage (77.6), career completion percentage (70.9), and is tied for the lead in touchdown passes as a freshman (29).
If he completes the job in the BCS title game he could become one of the greatest college football quarterbacks of all-time.
As Mel Kiper might say, "Write it down."