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December 23, 2005

Bulls in the Ring: Leinart or Quinn in the pros?

This week's Bulls in the Ring asks a simple question about two of the top quarterbacks in the country, a senior and a junior who will lead their teams into BCS bowls in the first week of January.

The question is: Who will be the better pro quarterback, USC's Matt Leinart or Notre Dame's Brady Quinn?

Rivals.com college football columnist Bob McClellan writes: I'm not saying Brady Quinn won't make a nice pro. Kind of like the way Felicity Huffman is the interesting one on Desperate Housewives, but hardly Eva Longoria.

But why do I think Matt Leinart will be the better pro QB? I could give you his record as a starter (36-1). I could tell you he has never once failed to complete at least 50 percent of his passes. I could tell you that his passes leave his hand like darts and land like pillows. I could tell you about the Pac-10 record 95 touchdown passes, the QB efficiency ranking of fifth all time, blah, blah, proverbial blah.

Instead all I have to say is this: Fourth-and-nine from the Notre Dame 36. Audible to go route. Greatest pass ever thrown in a college football game. First down. Game over.

Rivals.com college football analyst Bobby Burton writes: Quinn has better physical tools. Better fastball, better feet, and he has had more ups and downs. That makes him more battle-tested.

Quinn has had to learn to throw in the face of pressure and deal with the bad and the good, not just sit back in the pocket, toss the ball to first-round draft picks at every position and get his jersey dirty maybe once every four games like Leinart.

Notice I didn't use the "Charlie Weis tutored him" line that has become so popular. Weis is borderline amazing, but no matter who tutors you in college, the pros are all about performance combined with overall ability --- and ability, though only slightly, is where I believe Quinn edges Leinart.



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