Cimino: Ranking College Football’s Best 15 Quarterbacks

A lot goes into the ranking of quarterbacks in college football. These rankings are based off of talent, experience, winning, and some gut feelings. Here we go.

T-15. Charlie Brewer (Baylor)

T-15. Spencer Sanders (Oklahoma State)

14. Mac Jones (Alabama)

13. Bo Nix (Auburn)

12. Kyle Trask (Florida)

11. Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)

10. Sam Elingher (Texas)

9. Kedon Slovis (Southern California)

8. Brock Purdy (Iowa State)

7. KJ Costello (Mississippi State)

6. Sam Howell (North Carolina)

5. Tanner Morgan (Minnesota)

If I saw this name in a top 5 at the beginning of last season, I would’ve thought it was a joke. PJ Fleck gets a lot of credit for the Gophers recent success, but Morgan has been a key component. He put up big numbers in a conference that is built on defense. Morgan is just a junior, and he will be back in full force this season.

4. Ian Book (Notre Dame)

Ian Book catches a lot of heat, but really only because he plays for Notre Dame. The Irish are a very hated team, and that comes with major scrutiny for the quarterback. Book led the Irish to the playoff in his sophomore season and he threw for over 3000 yards, 34 TDs, and 6 picks last year. Book is a very good quarterback, and it is about time he gets some respect.

3. Jayden Daniels (Arizona State)

I might be a year early on Daniels in some people’s minds, but this kid is a stud. I don’t like to make long term predictions, but I’ll take Daniels as the next Russell Wilson at the next level. This kid has a big arm, he is quick, and he is CLUTCH. Daniels is only a sophomore, and at some point in the next couple years, he could have a Heisman in his trophy case.

2. Justin Fields (Ohio State)

I was a little hesitant before the beginning of last year when it came to Fields. I wanted to see more of his arm in action before buying in. After a year at Ohio State, Fields proved everyone wrong. He has tremendous arm talent and showed he knows how to win big games. The only reason he is behind Lawrence? Lawrence outplayed him when they faced off, but the gap is slim.

1. Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)

This seems like a no-brainer to me. Lawrence is a proven winner, has tremendous arm talent, and knows how to run his system. Lawrence continues to prove why he is one of the best QB prospects ever. He will be nothing short of spectacular this season.

Cimino: 2020 B1G Ten Football Power Rankings

The Big Ten is in for another great year of football, but is it just another year for Ohio State to run through and win? Here are the rankings:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes: The short answer to the question above is yes. Ohio State comes off a very impressive season ending with a heartbreaking loss to Clemson. It appears that, with star QB Justin Fields and many other elite players returning, that the Buckeyes are the top team once again.

The Prediction: 12-0 (9-0) Big Ten Champions, National Runner-Up

2. Penn State Nittany Lions: Penn State is always a team that seems to be in the conversation for the playoff each year… until they play Ohio State. The case was no different last year, and I don’t expect it will be this year. The Lions have a tough schedule, but they are a top 10 team with a lot of returning talent.

The Prediction: 10-2 (7-2)

3. Minnesota Golden Gophers: The Gophers over blue blood Michigan? Yup, that’s right. Minnesota comes off a tremendous 2019 under coach PJ Fleck. No one is really sure how long Fleck is going to be hanging around in St. Paul, but this year will be another great one for his team. The Gophers return a lot and should be a contender in the conference.

The Prediction: 10-2 (7-2) Conference Runner-Up

4. Wisconsin Badgers: Still waiting on Michigan? You won’t find them here. Wisconsin is a wildcard of a team. The Badgers had a very nice season last year, and return some offensive talent, but they do lose second round draft pick Jonathan Taylor. However, the Badgers do return 81% of production on defense, which will keep them in games. A tough schedule keeps them away from 10 wins, but this is a very good team.

The Prediction: 9-3 (6-3)

5. Michigan Wolverines: Michigan is a tough team to gauge this season. The Wolverines lose a decent amount of talent on the offensive line and on defense, but they seem to pump in NFL talent year after year. It will all depend on quarterback play, and that position is still a complete unknown. The problem once again will be poor coaching and Ohio State, but outside of that, the Wolverines have a full slate of very tough opponents coming to Ann Arbor.

The Prediction: 10-2 (7-2)

6. Iowa Hawkeyes: After the top 5, the conference takes a bit of a dip. Iowa had a great year last year, but they do lose quite a bit. For one, reliable QB Nate Stanley is gone, as is stud defensive end AJ Epenesa. That said, Kirk Ferentz will get this team to be respectable and competitive as they usually are. Expect the Hawkeyes to grind out some wins and stay relevant in 2020.

The Prediction: 8-4 (5-4)

7. Indiana Hoosiers: Tom Allen! The Hoosiers return a lot from a team that had a great year by their standards. Tom Allen’s biggest issue has been games against top teams, but there’s only so much to be done at Indiana. The Hoosiers will be going bowling again.

The Prediction: 7-5 (4-5)

8. Purdue Boilermakers: Purdue had a tough year last season, but the Boilermakers are in for a very nice bounce back campaign. Jeff Brohm has proven he can get his team ready to play when he needs to, and I expect them to be bowling this year. Rondale Moore is back, of course, and he will be tough for any defense to stop. This team has some good skill players all around.

The Prediction: 7-5 (5-4)

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers: The last of the Big Ten teams going to a bowl will be Nebraska. The Huskers had an extremely underwhelming first year under Scott Frost. Adrian Martinez battled injuries last season, and I expect him to be a little better this year. The Huskers will make a bowl, but I don’t see much more.

The Prediction: 6-6 (3-6)

10. Northwestern Wildcats: This is actually an interesting team with a lot of potential. Pat Fitzgerald has proven to be a top level coach, and he brings in Peyton Ramsey to man the quarterback position. Watch out for the Wildcats to pull a couple of upsets.

The Prediction: 5-7 (2-7)

11. Michigan State Spartans: Some may be a little surprised to see the Spartans this low, but this ranking might even be a little generous. The Spartans do not return much from a tough 2019 season, and they also lose their legendary head coach Mark Dantonio. Mel Tucker is going to need a few years to get this program up and running again. They’ll be a little worse than their record.

The Prediction: 5-7 (4-5)

12. Maryland Terrapins: Maryland is always one of those teams who makes a big splash in the offseason that doesn’t pay off. This year, the splash was landing Alabama transfer Taulia Tagovailoa. I don’t even think he will start. Josh Jackson had a great career at Virginia Tech and although he wasn’t great last year, I believe he is the best option. This is just not a team anyone can trust.

The Prediction: 4-8 (2-7)

13. Illinois Fighting Illini: Lovie Smith pretty much hit the ceiling at Illinois last year. He returns QB Brandon Peters, but not much else. The Illini get some scheduling breaks, but don’t expect much.

The Prediction: 5-7 (2-7)

14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Do I need to explain?

The Prediction: 1-11 (0-9)

Herm Edwards and Jayden Daniels: A Duo No One is Talking About

When Herm Edwards left his job as ESPN to become the next head coach at Arizona State, it seemed like a move that wouldn’t greatly effect the college football world. Now, after just two years in Tempe, Edwards has the Sun Devils in position to compete for a PAC-12 championship.

In 2018, when the Sun Devils hired Edwards to be their next coach, Todd Graham had just been fired after finishing two of his last three seasons under .500. Now, after 2 years, ASU is on the come up. They’ve been 15-11 over the last two years and have grabbed some statement wins, with two victories over Michigan State and an upset of top-10 Oregon on Saturday Night Football last year.

Edwards has also made a large impact on the recruiting trail. He has brought in two top-30 classes (according to 247 Sports) – an accomplishment Graham failed to achieve in his last two years with the Sun Devils. One of Edwards’ first recruits was a 4 star quarterback out of San Bernardino, California. His name? Jayden Daniels. Daniels was inserted as the starter last year after senior star Manny Wilkins graduated. Daniels looked a little timid at first , managing only 19 points in an early season win over Sacramento State, but he became the man in week 3 in East Lansing.

Michigan State was the #18 team in the nation and boasted an elite defense, and ASU looked like just a young team. It was 7-3 in the 4th quarter, but true freshman Jayden Daniels led his team down the field to win the game 10-7. ASU then matched up against #6 Oregon on a Saturday Night in November. Daniels threw for 408 yards and 3 TDs, including an iconic 3rd & 16 connection with Brandon Aiyuk.

This all occurred while his counterpart Justin Herbert, the supposed “best QB in the PAC 12”, Justin Herbert, completely disappeared in the 2nd half. So what’s my point? This team and this quarterback were underestimated all last year, and they beat some nationally relevant teams that took them for granted.

Next year, the Sun Devils return 76% of their 2019 production on defense, and they have an offense led by Jayden Daniels. Herm Edwards and Jayden Daniels have turned this program around. Ladies and gentlemen, assuming there is a season, the Arizona State Sun Devils are going to win the PAC-12 in 2020.