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Dynamic Dozen: Top QBs for 2012

Despite all of the difference between college football and professional football in terms of styles of play, speed, formations and a major difference in talent between two teams, one thing remains the same no matter what: the best quarterback usually wins. Sure, there are a few examples where the quarterback is not necessarily the reason, like last year when Alabama won because of a dominant running game and tremendous defense, but there are few great quarterbacks in the NCAA that don’t get wins for their teams. Last season it was Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson who gave their team hope for a victory every single week all of those guys are in the NFL now so things are opened up for new stars to shine and below is a list of the top 12 in 2012.

12. Landry Jones – Oklahoma

2011 Stats: 4,463 passing yards, 15 INTs, 63.2 comp%, 141.6 PR, 31 total TDs

Last year at this time Jones was one of the best quarterbacks in college but after a very disappointing 2011 campaign his flaws showed and he slipped down the rankings. After wide receiver Ryan Broyles went down with an injury Jones really struggled to make big plays without top-end talent to work with. There is no denying that Jones is a good quarterback and will get a chance at the next level but he will need to bounce back this year.

11. Denard Robinson – Michigan

2011 Stats: 2,173 passing yards, 15 INTs, 55.0 comp%, 139.7 PR, 1,176 rushing yards, 36 total TDs

You could be hard-pressed to find a quarterback in college football more electrifying that Dennard Robinson. He is not your prototypical quarterback and probably won’t have a great NFL career but for the college game his athleticism and play-making ability make him one of the best around. He is not a superior passer but his ability to shred a defense with his legs certainly makes up for it. The transition from Rich Rodriguez’ system to Al Borges’ last year had its bumps but with a year of experience in it should make things better.

10. Tajh Boyd – Clemson

2011 Stats: 3,828 passing yards, 2 INTs, 59.7 comp%, 141.2 PR, 218 rushing yards, 38 total TDs

There is little doubting Boyd’s natural ability. Last season he led one of the best offenses and earned a BCS bowl berth. The only thing keeping Boyd from being higher on the list is that after an incredibly impressive start he tried to force too many things and threw nine interceptions in his final six games. However, if Boyd can stick to the play and not force being superman then he will be a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate by the end of the year.

9. Mike Glennon – North Carolina State

2011 Stats: 3,054 passing yards, 12 INTs, 62.5 comp%, 136.4 PR, 32 total TDs

After Russell Wilson decided to transfer to Wisconsin one of the top-rated quarterback prospects from 2008 finally got his opportunity and he was quietly good, leading the Wolfpack to an 8-6 record. Before he can be seen in a high class, though, he has to cut down on the interceptions and get more wins but with that year of experience under his belt that is very possible.

8. Keith Price – Washington

2011 Stats: 3,063 passing yards, 11 INTs, 66.9 comp%, 161.9 PR, 36 total TDs

After a 5-1 start last year Price was on top of the world and really showed everybody what he was made of as he replaced Jake Locker but it did not last long. After the hot start Washington went just 2-5 in the second half of the year and part of was because of problems he had. In the 5-1 stretch Price threw 22 touchdowns and just four interceptions but then had a five game stretch in which the team went 1-4 and he threw five touchdowns and seven picks. Price rebounded the last two games where he had seven scores and no interceptions but he has to perform better against the top teams in the Pac-12.

7. Aaron Murray – Georgia

2011 Stats: 3,149 passing yards, 14 INTs, 59.1 comp%, 146.4 PR, 37 total TDs

An 0-2 start with back-to-back losses to Boise State and South Carolina things were looking bad for the Bulldogs but Murray stepped his game up in a big way and led Georgia to 10-straight victories for their first double-digit win season since 2008 and an SEC East division title. Murray had moments last season where he looked like a super star, particularly when he went on a run in the middle of the season with 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions in four weeks. Murray seems poised to take that next step into the nation’s elite and may even be able to put his name in the Heisman discussion if he continues to progress the way he has.

6. Casey Pachall – TCU

2011 Stats: 2,921 passing yards, 7 INTs, 66.5 comp%, 158.0 PR, 27 total TDs

Having the pressure of replacing Andy Dalton first-year starter Casey Pachall did a great job and led the Horned Frogs to their fourth-straight double-digit win season. On his way to that record Pachall completed a remarkable 66.5-percent of his passes. While he will not put up the huge number of yards that other quarterbacks will throw in pass happy offenses, Pachall gets the most important stat and that is victories. He will be tested even more in 2012 with TCU joining a much tougher Big 12 conference.

5. James Franklin – Missouri

2011 Stats: 1,865 passing yards, 11 INTs, 63.3 comp%, 139.9 PR, 981 rushing yards, 36 total TDs

Going from the Big 12 to the SEC will definitely challenge Missouri but it may also be a great chance to show off just how good James Franklin is. Franklin is one of the best, if not the best, dual-threat quarterbacks in college football with big arm, great accuracy and 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame with superior athleticism. Franklin has a lot of success in the slower Big-12 that was based more on power but in a much faster and athletic SEC, success will show that Franklin is as good as anybody.

4. Tyler Bray – Tennessee

2011 Stats: 1,983 passing yards, 6 INTs, 59.5 comp%, 144.8 PR, 18 total TDs

It if weren’t for a broken thumb Bray that sidelined him for five games in the middle of last season we may be talking about Bray as a top two quarterback in college football this season. Bray is the prototypical pocket-passer that has NFL teams drooling all over him already and has the poise and ability to read coverage that has made the Volunteers a major threat to do some damage this season. In the games we got to see Bray play last year he was remarkable, averaging over 280 yards and two touchdowns per game. With his talent and some nice receivers around him he will have every opportunity to light up the score sheet this year.

3. Geno Smith – West Virginia

2011 Stats: 4,385 passing yards, 7 INTs, 65.8 comp%, 152.6 PR, 33 total TDs

Standing at 6-foot-3, 214-pounds the big-armed quarterback was the perfect person to run the pass-happy Mountaineer offense and it resulted in West Virginia’s first Big East Championships and trip to a BCS bowl game in four years. But last year was easy because he and his team flew under the radar. This year will be different. After thrashing Clemson with a 70-point performance in the Orange Bowl the spotlight will be on Smith and his team but if he can handle the pressure he could end up as a Heisman Trophy finalist.

2. Tyler Wilson – Arkansas

2011 Stats: 3,638 passing yards, 6 INTs, 63.2 comp%, 148.4 PR, 28 total TDs

In his first season as a starter Wilson proved to be one of the top passers in college football and led Arkansas to 11 victories, a top-five ranking and a victory in the Cotton Bowl. Wilson fit perfectly in Bobby Petrino’s offense but now it is time to show what he is truly made of with Petrino no longer calling the offense. If Wilson can keep up the pace and continue to play incredibly well like he did last season he and his strong arm may be in the Heisman discussion.

1. Matt Barkley – USC

2011 Stats: 3,528 passing yards, 7 INTs, 69.1 comp%, 161.2 PR, 41 total TDs

There is no question who the best quarterback in college football is. Matt Barkley would have been a top draft pick in the NFL draft but he decided to return to USC with hopes of winning a Heisman Trophy and the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft and he is the favorite for both. Barkley has the arm, the poise in the pocket, the ability to make quick decisions and a great knowledge of the game but his biggest strength is his accuracy and any time a quarterback can complete nearly 70-percent of his passes he can pick apart any defense he faces to get a victory. Now his goals are to go what he has not done, like win the Heisman a Pac-12 title and a BCS Championship.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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