Mitchell: SEC Year of the Quarterback
The Rebels' Bo Wallace
The Rebels' Bo Wallace
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 10, 2012


So far this season a quarter of the nation’s elite quarterbacks call the SEC home


By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb

In the past decade, Southeastern conference fans have grown wearisomely accustomed to the steady chants from outsiders that the SEC is where good quarterbacks go to die. Not literally at that hands of the SEC’s stout defenses, but rather that the south is devoid of talented single callers.

For the most part, SEC fans simply ignored these truculent insults…perhaps given they are too busy buffing their six consecutive BCS national championships.

However, if early season stats are to be considered, 2012 might just go down as the Year of the Quarterback for the conference of defensive excellence.

With only two games from which to weigh the results, the SEC sports four of the top eight most efficient passers in the nation in Alabama’s A.J. McCarron (3), Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson (4), Tennessee’s Tyler Bray (5) and Mississippi’s Bo Wallace (8).

Moreover, State’s Tyler Russell squeaks into the top 25 (23), and Georgia’s Aaron Murray (27), Kentucky’s Maxwell Smith (32), LSU’s Zach Mettenberger (33) and Florida’s Jeff Driskel (34) give the SEC nine of CFB’s roughly top 25% quarterbacks.

Put another way, so far this season a quarter of the nation’s elite quarterbacks call the SEC home.

McCarron’s development has been impressive. After average play for much of the 2011 season, his performance in the rematch vs. LSU was exemplary, and appears to have set a new baseline from which McCarron’s started out 2012 just where he left off last year.

The Bama signal caller is 2-0 on the young season, 25/40 (63%) for 418 yards, with six touchdowns to zero interceptions. All the more remarkable given his oft-praised offensive line has so far done a poor job of protecting him (currently ranked 113 in sacks allowed, including allowing six to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers last Saturday).

Wilson and Bray close out the nation’s top five quarterbacks. While knocked out of his last game with an “injury above the shoulders” (which is fabulous – let’s be intentionally dodgy about brain trauma now), Wilson is still 30/47 (64%) for 563 yards, with five touchdowns and one interception.

With an offensive line that finally seems able to protect him, Bray has a very impressive stat line of his own (even without talented receiver Da'Rick Rogers): 45/61 (74%) for 643 yards, with six touchdowns to zero interceptions.

Most surprising has been the play of SEC newcomer, Bo Wallace. The Ole Miss Juco transfer has stepped comfortably into his role as the starter in Oxford. While the Rebels might have the toughest schedule in the nation going forward, Wallace’s performance to date has been very good: 35/46 (76%) for 438 yards, with five touchdowns to one interception.

It is true that outside of Alabama, none of these four have yet to play a particularly dangerous opponent – and the jury’s still out on just how tough Michigan really is. Nevertheless, the same can be said about most of the nation’s quarterbacks at this point in the season, and McCarron, Wilson, Bray and Wallace still stand where they do.

You can see their reflections in those shiny crystal trophies. All buffed. And all six of ‘em.


Russ Mitchell is CFN's lead SEC Columnist. Follow Russ for SEC and CFB analysis @russmitchellcfb

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