Where Does Kellen Moore Rank All-Time?

Posted Dec 23, 2011

CFN thoughts and analysis on the Boise State win over Arizona State.

CFN Analysis   

Boise State 56, Arizona St 24

By Pete Fiutak

- Now that the Kellen Moore career is over, it's time to look back on everything he accomplished and wonder exactly where he ranks among the greatest college quarterbacks of all-time.

Would Miami's Ken Dorsey and Georgia's David Greene be ranked among the best ever simply because of wins? No. Is Colt McCoy among the legends because he won more games than any starting quarterback before Moore came along? No, but the wins were a part of McCoy's overall equation. So does Moore now get put among the all-time greats because of the 50 wins, the 6-0 record against BCS teams, and being five points away from finishing his career 53-0? In his case, maybe.

If he had a steadier kicker, he would've won the Nevada game last year and Boise State would've been in the Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, and this year he would've beaten TCU and would've played Michigan in the Sugar.

This isn't about who the most talented college quarterback of all-time was – by almost all scouting measures and reports, that's John Elway – it's about résumé. Dorsey, Greene, and McCoy were on some of the most talented teams in college football during their eras, while Moore was hardly surrounded by a who's who of NFL talent. Quick, name a 2011 Boise State receiver.

Titus Young and Austin Pettis left for the NFL and Moore still had a better year.

But Moore also got to light up some miserable defenses year after year. Playing in the WAC and the Mountain West wasn't like playing in the SEC or the Big 12, and while Moore and the Broncos rose to the occasion on the biggest stages, his body of work win-wise simply doesn't compare to the elite names in college football history.

Remember, college football was a running back game until recent years, and that's why the most accomplished statistical quarterbacks come from the last decade or so.

Matt Leinart had the greatest résumé of any college quarterback ever before being passed up by Tim Tebow's career. Tommie Frazier is up there because of the national titles, but he wasn't close to winning a Heisman and might have simply been along for the ride on some great Husker teams. Cam Newton had the greatest season of any college quarterback ever, but one season doesn't make for a career.

So when it comes to a combination of carrying a team, wins, stats, Heisman runs, and big game performances, a case could be made that Moore deserves to be in the top five, but he's probably more in the top ten – and not even close if this is about talent. Based on résumés and accomplishments – again, and NOT about talent - in no particular order, Sammy Baugh, Tebow, Leinart, Frazier, and Vince Young is probably the top five, with Charlie Ward, Davey O'Brien, McCoy, a combination of all the Mannings – who didn't win a thing – and Moore might round out the top ten.

- And that doesn't include Moore's best work in the role of Marcus in About A Boy.

- By the way, based on NFL talent and the scouting reports at the time, the top ten is Elway, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Jeff George, Vinny Testaverde, Troy Aikman, Eli Manning, Ryan Leaf, Art Schlichter, and Bert Jones.

- Yes, if Luck goes to Indianapolis, the Colt franchise will have drafted six of the ten most NFL-talented college quarterbacks of all-time.

- So what would've happened if Boise State didn't lose to TCU? There would've been a groundswell of support for the Broncos to play LSU for the national title, but they would've have gotten enough juice both human polls and the computers. They almost certainly would've finished No. 3.

- As college coaches go, Dennis Erickson is a good guy and a phenomenal interview. His career was better than the finished. He'll be in the College Football Hall of Fame.

- Vontaze Burfict belongs in the knucklehead Hall of Fame. He's as talented as any defender in college football, but he can't stop making dumb penalties and missing key tackles.

- Now that Erickson is done, how many current college football coaches have won multiple national titles? Two. Urban Meyer, and the winner of the 2011 BCS national championship.

- Give Arizona State credit for trying in the second half. Gerrell Robinson was a monster, catching 13 passes for 241 yards and a score, and the team kept pushing when it could've easily have given up.

- Boise State was doing everything possible to get the Sun Devils back in the game in the second half. ASU didn't take the opportunities, and it was blowout time.

By Richard Cirminiello 

It was a good night for incoming Arizona State head coach Todd Graham. Who needs to succeed a coach who just rallied the troops to an upset win in his swan song? Losers of five straight to close out this wretched season, the Sun Devils reached rock bottom in Las Vegas, which takes a little more heat off the new staff.

If you didn't believe Boise State got jobbed out of a BCS bowl game a few days ago, you might now. Okay, so Arizona State is not a very good football team, but the Broncos just dismantled a Pac-12 team for its worst loss of the year. Remember that even when the Sun Devils were plummeting, their six regular season losses were still by an average of only seven points.

Don't make the mistake of doubting Kellen Moore's potential at the next level. Prototypical measurables? No, but you don't start for four years, and win 50 career games without picking up a slew of good habits that are going to interest a handful of pro GMs.

With proper coaching and a little more consistency from the players around him, ASU QB Brock Osweiler is capable of delivering a solid NFL audition of his own in 2012. I see enormous potential from No. 17, even if he didn't quite reach it this fall. He possesses certain physical gifts, such as the height to see above linemen, a rifle for an arm and uncommon quickness for such a big man, to erupt before being done in Tempe.

As long as Chris Petersen remains in Boise, the Broncos are going to be just fine. Yeah, even now that Moore and a swath of really good seniors have exhausted their eligibility. When you can consistently coach up talent, a true rebuilding period is never really necessary, especially when your program has become a place where quality recruits want to spend their college careers.

Vontaze Burfict is like your pet pit bull. While you like having his tenacity around, you're also constantly looking over your shoulder to avoid any friendly fire. In all likelihood, he's done as an amateur, which is not such a bad thing for Graham.

By Matt Zemek

And so, one of the greatest yet least-read and most reviled chapters in the history of college football comes to an end. The Boise State senior class of 2011-2012 – Kellen Moore and the rest of his merry band – won 50 games while losing only three. They trailed at halftime only once; lost at home only once; lost in the regular season only twice; lost in regulation only twice; and stood within one relatively easy play (a short field goal against Nevada, a batted-down 2-point pass against TCU) of losing just one time over the past four years.

No, Boise State didn't play an SEC or Big 12 schedule. It didn't play four terrifically challenging non-conference teams each season. It should never have been seriously considered for the national championship game in any of the past four seasons, though it should have had the chance to play Alabama in a plus-one for the 2009 championship if college football had a better, more legitimate method for crowning national champions.

However, for all the ways in which Boise State was NOT challenged over the past four years, its willingness to play one big game away from home – 2008 against Oregon, 2010 against Virginia Tech, 2011 against Georgia (with a 2009 home opener against Oregon added into the mix) – is more than most teams' non-league schedules in major college football. The Broncos won all four of those games to prove their legitimacy in making-making motivational moments. A 50-3 mark against the WAC and Mountain West isn't 50-3 in the SEC, but Boise State's lack of scheduling heft in its 2006 season didn't lead to a blowout loss at the hands of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. After the 2006 season, it was clear that Boise State deserved a shot at a big game (not the title game, but a big game) if it delivered the goods in the regular season, especially since it took an opening-weekend risk few other programs in the sport are ever willing to match. Boise State's record of achievement inspired certain sportswriters to talk about a "BUS!", and it encouraged a certain cable network in Bristol, Connecticut, to devote a lot of talk to the world of Bronco football. Like Tim Tebow, Boise State became a source of hypersaturated coverage and incessant television chatter, things that a lot of sports fans in America rightfully loathe. That part of the Boise State story is understood and – moreover – agreed with.

However, as is the case with Tebow – a sincere and decent person, a not-unwholesome public figure who is the antithesis of Antonio Cromartie or Adam "Pac Man" Jones – Boise State should not be the hated entity. The media hype of Boise State should be hated. Boise State? What's wrong with this picture?

What was ever wrong with Kellen Moore, one of the most quiet superstars college football has ever seen? What was ever wrong with Boise State coach Chris Petersen, one of the most grounded, rooted, sane, thoughtful, and generally inoffensive men to coach major college football? What was ever wrong with Petersen expressly telling the Boise State community to not boo the United States Air Force Academy football team before the BSU-AFA Mountain West game this past season? What was ever wrong with Boise State's story? It should have been the pigskin portrait that would inspire a great deal of applause, this program working up from Division I-AA to become an instant – and steady – juggernaut. It should have been Butler in football cleats, a symbol of the underdog made good, the rags-to-riches, pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps life trajectory on which the American ideal is founded.

And yet this team, this program – led by one of the most authentic coaches in all of American sports – was consistently hated. It was also consistently shut out of BCS bowls. Moreover, when it was allowed back into the BCS party, it was made to play one of its gridiron brothers-in-arms, fellow non-AQ powerhouse TCU in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. Boise State was never given a BCS bowl shot against a member of the power structure. The Broncos were always locked outside the candy store by the bigwigs in college football.

And America largely approved of it.

Broncos, you know how special you were. So do your fans and admirers. The only thing you can do is allow the fullness of your legacy to speak for itself, even if most of the nation was – at best – reticent to give you credit and, in its not-so-charitable moments, was hostile to the idea of giving you a place at the big banquet table of major college football.

By Russ Mitchell

- Listless. No heart. Mailed it in.

- There is more than enough talent on this Arizona State team not to get ROLLED like this. And don't kid yourself, this game was an absolute disaster. Seven points came on a kickoff return for a touchdown, and much of the passing yards/points in the second half came as Boise State was either up by 20+ and playing a prevent defense, or up by 20+ and playing the bench.

- If ever there was a program that needed a change in leadership at the top, it is Arizona State.

- "The regular season matters." Which is why Boise State, the #7 team in America, is playing in a pre-Christmas bowl game against a 6-7 team.

- The senior class at Boise State won 50 games – a remarkable feat. Perhaps even more remarkable, they lost their three games by a combined five points, and along the way beat Georgia in Atlanta, Va Tech in Washington, Oregon State, Oregon at at home and at Autzen. In fact, they never lost to a BCS opponent.

- Back to ASU…in Dennis Erickson's Pac-10 Coach of the Year winning first season in Tempe (2007), the Sun Devils went 10-3. But even that was smoke and mirrors, and a sign of things to come. ASU only played four ranked teams and lost three of them, giving up 131 points in losses to then #5 ranked Oregon, #12 USC and #17 ranked Texas. ASU was the higher ranked team in all three of those losses. The only ranked team ASU beat in 2007 was #21 Cal, in Sun Devil Stadium, 31-20…a Cal team that ended that season 3-6 in conference play. Paper Devil.

- Now we get to see what Todd Graham will do…I'm not holding my breath.

Please follow me on Twitter @RussMitchellCFB

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

- Boise State removed all doubt that it belonged in a BCS bowl after annihilating Arizona State 56-24.

- Yes, the Broncos would demolish either of the teams playing in the Sugar Bowl.

- Of course, Boise will continue get shutout of a BCS bowl in the future if they lose a game during the regular season. The Big East could not possibly retain its automatic bid in 2013, when the Broncos join the conference.

- For all of the stellar numbers that Kellen Moore put throughout his career, one stands out above the rest. Moore went 5-0 against BCS conferences throughout his career including wins over Oregon (twice), Oregon State, Virginia Tech, and Georgia.

- The game ball belongs to ASU's Gerell Robinson, who accounted for roughly 60% of the Sun Devil offense, hauling in 13 receptions for 241 yards and a TD.

- With all of the talk centering on Boise's offense, the defense is what won the game for them. The Bronco front four produced three QB sacks, and limited Arizona State to just 17 yards rushing on 22 carries. More impressively, Boise played its best on crucial downs, allowing ASU to convert only 2 of 12 on third down. They also scored two defensive TDs.

- After watching tonight's game, it is clear that Todd Graham has a lot of work ahead of him. The Sun Devils have plenty of raw talent, but its very undisciplined. ASU was plagued all season by missed too assignments, and costly penalties.

- On the other hand, Graham has developed some excellent QB's in the past. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a player as talented as Brock Osweiler.