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September 1, 2009

Ranking the QB tandems: Experience matters

This ranking is not meant to be just a comparison of talent levels. Rather, there are numerous variables:

The experience level of the starting quarterback.

An objective opinion of how these guys will produce in their offense.

The experience level of the backup. (All things considered, a team with an experienced backup is going to rank higher than a team without an experienced quarterback.)

How the quarterbacks fit their offense.

How comfortable coaches should be entering the season with their quarterbacks.

Think of this ranking as a sort of quarterback "comfort zone." Fans of teams ranking near the top should expect good things from their quarterbacks this season. Fans of teams in the middle should have questions. And fans of teams near the bottom need to hope their quarterback play is vastly better than anticipated.

Here are the rankings (* - returning starter):

1. Florida
STARTER/BACKUP: Tim Tebow*/John Brantley
BUZZ: Tebow has thrown 67 career TD passes and run for another 43 scores. He has thrown for 6,390 yards, with just 11 picks. He has two national title rings and a Heisman. He could win his third and his second, respectively, this season. Brantley is a better pure passer than Tebow, and coaches have said he will see a lot of time this season.

2. Oklahoma
STARTER/BACKUP: Sam Bradford*/Landry Jones
BUZZ: Bradford threw 50 TD passes last season, when he won the Heisman and the Sooners set an NCAA scoring record. Jones is a touted redshirt freshman.

3. Texas
STARTER/BACKUP: Colt McCoy*/Garrett Gilbert
BUZZ: McCoy is heading into his fourth season as the starter. He bounced back from a so-so 2007 with a huge 2008 season, throwing for 3,859 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also was the Longhorns' leading rusher. Gilbert is a true freshman from Austin, Texas.

4. Kansas
STARTER/BACKUP: Todd Reesing*/Kale Pick
BUZZ: Reesing, who's also an Austin, Texas, native, is a great fit for the Jayhawks' version of the spread. He threw for 3,888 yards and 32 touchdowns last season and has 65 TD passes in the past two seasons.

5. Oklahoma State
STARTER/BACKUP: Zac Robinson*/Alex Cate
BUZZ: Robinson is overshadowed in his own division, the Big 12 South, but he is one of the nation's most productive quarterbacks. He has 48 TD passes and 17 touchdown runs the past two seasons.

6. Ole Miss
STARTER/BACKUP: Jevan Snead*/Nathan Stanley
BUZZ: Snead, who began his career at Texas, struggled early last season, then turned it on down the stretch. After seven games last season, Ole Miss was 3-4 and Snead had 10 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. The Rebels finished 9-4 and Snead finished with 26 touchdown passes and 13 picks. He has good mobility and at least poses a threat to run.

7. Houston
STARTER/BACKUP: Case Keenum*/Cotton Turner
BUZZ: Keenum averaged 403.2 yards of total offense a game last season, which led the nation. He threw for 5,020 yards and 44 TDs and ran for another 221 with seven scores. He had six games with at least four TD passes last season.

8. Central Michigan
STARTER/BACKUP: Dan LeFevour*/Derek Rifenbury
BUZZ: LeFevour battled through some injuries last season, but he still accounted for 3,376 yards of total offense. He is heading into his fourth season as the starter and has 74 touchdown passes and 32 touchdown runs in his career.

9. Oregon
STARTER/BACKUP: Jeremiah Masoli*/Nate Costa
BUZZ: Masoli, a former junior college transfer, is another quarterback who started slow but finished fast last season. Seven of his 13 TD passes came in the last four games, when he also ran for seven TDs. Costa is a great athlete who has had surgery on both knees. Had he been healthy, he would've started last season.

10. BYU
STARTER/BACKUP: Max Hall*/Riley Nelson
BUZZ: Hall, who began his career at Arizona State, has thrown 61 TD passes in the past two seasons. He threw for 3,957 yards last season, when he completed 69.2 percent of his 477 passing attempts. Nelson, a transfer from Utah State, is a good athlete who likely will have some special packages designed for him.

11. Nevada
STARTER/BACKUP: Colin Kaepernick*/Tyler Lantrip
BUZZ: Kaepernick is a big guy (6 feet 6) who eats up huge chunks of yardage when he runs. He ran for 1,130 yards and 17 touchdowns last season; he also threw for 2,849 yards and 22 scores. He has 41 passing TDs and 23 scoring runs in his two seasons.

12. Western Michigan
STARTER/BACKUP: Tim Hiller*/Alex Carder
BUZZ: Hiller has prototypical size for a drop-back passer (6-5/234) and threw for 3,725 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. He started for half his true freshman season in 2005, sat out as a redshirt in 2006, then has started the past two seasons.

13. Penn State
STARTER/BACKUP: Daryll Clark*/Kevin Newsome
BUZZ: Clark did a nice job in his first season as a starter in 2008, guiding the Nittany Lions to 11 victories, throwing for 19 touchdowns and running for another 10. He's a good fit for the Nittany Lions' offense. Newsome is a touted true freshman.

14. Notre Dame
STARTER/BACKUP: Jimmy Clausen*/Dayne Crist
BUZZ: Clausen struggled away from home last season before lighting it up in the Hawaii Bowl. He threw for 3,172 yards and 25 touchdowns last season, but a point of emphasis this season has to be cutting down on his 17 interceptions. He has an excellent receiving crew.

15. Cincinnati
STARTER/BACKUP: Tony Pike*/Chazz Anderson
BUZZ: Pike was banged-up last season, yet still led the Bearcats to the Big East title and an Orange Bowl berth. A healthy full season should mean 3,000 yards and 25-plus touchdown passes. Anderson is a good athlete who has starting experienced.

16. Ohio State
STARTER/BACKUP: Terrelle Pryor*/Joe Bauserman
BUZZ: Expect Pryor to be turned loose this season. Last season, coaches wanted to make sure he didn't make many mistakes, so they cut down the playbook. This season, the Buckeyes need Pryor to make plays, and he is equipped to do so. He has good speed and a strong arm. Bauserman is a former minor league baseball player.

17. Illinois
STARTER/BACKUP: Juice Williams*/Eddie McGee
BUZZ: Illini coaches hope new coordinator Mike Schultz can rev up the running game and take some pressure off Williams. He threw 22 touchdowns but also 16 interceptions last season. Williams is physically gifted but needs to cut down on mistakes.

18. Baylor
STARTER/BACKUP: Robert Griffin*/Blake Szymanski
BUZZ: Griffin played well as a true freshman on a team that needed him to make plays. Griffin, a great athlete, threw 15 TD passes and ran for another 13 scores. As he becomes better acclimated to coach Art Briles' offense, big numbers should follow. Szymanski is a former starter who holds some school passing records.

19. UTEP
STARTER/BACKUP: Trevor Vittatoe*/Kyle Wright
BUZZ: Vittatoe might be the most underrated quarterback in the nation. He has thrown for 6,375 yards and 58 touchdowns in the past two seasons, against 16 interceptions. He threw for 3,274 yards last season and a 3,500-yard, 35-TD performance seems likely this season.

20. Boise State
STARTER/BACKUP: Kellen Moore*/Mike Coughlin
BUZZ: Moore is coming off a great season as a redshirt freshman; he threw for 3,486 yards and 25 touchdowns. He should reach the 30-TD plateau this season.

21. Texas Tech
STARTER/BACKUP: Taylor Potts/Steven Sheffield
BUZZ: Potts, a junior, has thrown for 669 yards in his career. It's a good bet he has that by the third quarter of the second game this season. He's the latest to come off coach Mike Leach's quarterback assembly line. He will finish in the top three in the nation in passing yards this season, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he finishes first.

22. N.C. State
STARTER/BACKUP: Russell Wilson*/Mike Glennon
BUZZ: Wilson, who is also a star baseball player, threw for 1,955 yards, with 17 touchdowns and just one interception in an injury-marred 2008 season. His mobility makes him dangerous and adds an extra dimension to the Wolfpack's offense.

23. Minnesota
STARTER/BACKUP: Adam Weber*/MarQueis Gray
BUZZ: Weber battled injuries last season, but he still threw for 2,761 yards and 15 touchdowns. His injuries curtailed his running ability last season, one season after he ran for 617 yards. Gray is a good athlete with notable running skills.

24. Georgia Tech
STARTER/BACKUP: Josh Nesbitt*/Tevin Washington
BUZZ: Nesbitt isn't much of a passer, but he runs the option with aplomb, making him a perfect fit for coach Paul Johnson's triple-option attack. Nesbitt is a physical runner who has OK speed; he ran for 693 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Backup Jaybo Shaw broke his collarbone recently and could miss the season.

25. USF
STARTER/BACKUP: Matt Grothe*/B.J. Daniels
BUZZ: Grothe is heading into his fourth season as the starter, and he has been the Bulls' offensive focal point the past few seasons. The problem; he has been asked to do too much. He has 47 career TD passes - but also 42 picks. He can make plays with his legs as well as his arm, but will he have enough help this season? Daniels is a big-time athlete who should get some playing time.

26. Florida Atlantic
STARTER/BACKUP: Rusty Smith*/Jeff VanCamp
BUZZ: Smith, a senior, threw for 3,224 yards and 24 TDs last season - and it was considered a mediocre performance. He completed just 53.8 percent of his passes, but has the potential to complete 60 percent. If he meshes well with new quarterback coach Jeff Brohm, expect a repeat of his 2007 season - 3,688 yards, 32 TDs, just nine picks.

27. Arkansas
STARTER/BACKUP: Ryan Mallett/Tyler Wilson
BUZZ: Mallett, a transfer who began his career at Michigan, looks to be a perfect fit for coach Bobby Petrino's offense. While he lacks mobility, Mallett has a strong arm that will be featured in Petrino's attack. Look for the Hogs to attack downfield far more often than they did last season.

28. Bowling Green
STARTER/BACKUP: Tyler Sheehan*/Aaron Pankratz
BUZZ: Sheehan has thrown for 5,874 yards the past two seasons, with 43 TD passes. He also has some running skills that should be put to good use in new coach Dave Clawson's spread attack.

29. Southern Miss
STARTER/BACKUP: Austin Davis*/Martevious Young
BUZZ: Davis, a sophomore who began his career as a walk-on, was a great fit for new coach Larry Fedora's offense last season. He threw for 3,128 yards, 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He's also Southern Miss' No. 2 returning rusher with 508 yards.

30. Duke
STARTER/BACKUP: Thaddeus Lewis*/Sean Renfree
BUZZ: Lewis is heading into his fourth season as the starter, and he has solid career numbers (6,735 yards, 47 touchdowns) considering how bad Duke has been. He had some injury problems last season, but he generally played well in his first season under coach David Cutcliffe. A 20-TD season is a legit goal.

31. California
STARTER/BACKUP: Kevin Riley*/Brock Mansion
BUZZ: Riley, a junior, was wildly inconsistent last season and didn't nail down the starting job this season until last week. He has the physical tools but has been unable to develop any consistency. Mansion is a big (6-5/237) redshirt freshman.

32. UAB
STARTER/BACKUP: Joe Webb*/David Isabelle
BUZZ: Webb might be the nation's best running quarterback (1,021 yards, 11 TDs last season). He's a big guy (6-4/220) who covers a lot of ground with two or three strides. But his decision-making must improve: He threw 16 picks last season.

33. USC
STARTER/BACKUP: Matt Barkley/Aaron Corp
BUZZ: Barkley will be the first true freshman quarterback to start a game for the Trojans. Corp, a sophomore, had won the starting job during spring drills, but he suffered a cracked kneecap and missed important time the past few weeks. He eventually may wrest the job away from Barkley, who was the No. 1 quarterback in the 2009 recruiting class.

34. Texas A&M
STARTER/BACKUP: Jerrod Johnson*/Ryan Tannehill
BUZZ: Johnson, a junior, is overshadowed in his own division, but he had a solid season in '08, his first as a starter. He threw for 2,435 yards, with 21 TDs and 10 interceptions. But one of his favorite targets was Tannehill, who will be a full-time quarterback this season.

35. SMU
STARTER/BACKUP: Bo Levi Mitchell*/Braden Smith
BUZZ: Mitchell had his moments as a true freshman starter last season for pass-happy coach June Jones. Mitchell threw for 2,865 yards and 24 TDs. But he also threw 23 picks. In his second season under Jones, Mitchell now knows what to expect and should put up better numbers.

36. Wake Forest
STARTER/BACKUP: Riley Skinner*/Ryan McManus
BUZZ: Skinner is heading into his fourth season as the starter. He's a steady guy who doesn't usually make plays that will get the Demon Deacons beaten.

37. East Carolina
STARTER/BACKUP: Patrick Pinkney*/Rob Kass
BUZZ: Pinkney is the ultimate game manager; he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA because of past injuries. He's not a big-play machine, but he can be counted on to be a steady hand at the wheel. Kass, a senior, has started some in the past and would've been the starter this season if not for Pinkney's return.

38. LSU
STARTER/BACKUP: Jordan Jefferson/Jarrett Lee*
BUZZ: A lot is expected of Jefferson, a sophomore who threw 73 passes and completed less than 50 percent of them last season. He had a solid performance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (142 yards and a TD) and needs to build on that game. He's a big, physical guy with a lot of tools. Lee started last season but threw 16 picks.

39. San Diego State
STARTER/BACKUP: Ryan Lindley*/Drew Westling
BUZZ: Lindley had a solid redshirt freshman season in 2008, throwing for 2,653 yards. He should thrive under new coach Brady Hoke, who made a star of QB Nate Davis at Ball State. Westling was the backup last season, as well.

40. Iowa State
STARTER/BACKUP: Austen Arnaud*/Jerome Tiller
BUZZ: Arnaud is coming off a solid season, especially when you consider how bad the Cyclones performed in 2008. He should be a good fit in new coordinator Tom Herman's offense. Herman had been at Rice and made QB Chase Clement a star. The question is whether Arnaud has enough weapons.

41. Iowa
STARTER/BACKUP: Ricky Stanzi*/James Vandenberg
BUZZ: Stanzi did a steady job in his first season as the starter last season. He has some running skills and is an OK passer.

42. Oregon State
STARTER/BACKUP: Lyle Moevao*/Sean Canfield
BUZZ: Both have starting experience. But both also are limited. The Beavers' rushing attack should be strong, which will help these guys.

43. TCU
STARTER/BACKUP: Andy Dalton*/Marcus Jackson
BUZZ: Dalton is a strong runner who still has some room for improvement as a passer. Jackson ran for 384 yards as a backup last season.

44. Air Force
STARTER/BACKUP: Tim Jefferson*/Asher Clark
BUZZ: Assuming he keeps his grades in order, Jefferson will be a productive quarterback for the Falcons. He's a strong option runner but must improve as a passer. Clark is a starting running back who would move to quarterback if Jefferson gets hurt.

45. Washington
STARTER/BACKUP: Jake Locker/Ronnie Fouch
BUZZ: Locker was hurt in Game 4, then missed the rest of last season. He's a strong, rough runner, but he has a lot to prove as a passer. How he fits with new coach Steve Sarkisian is a story worth following this season.

46. North Carolina
STARTER/BACKUP: T.J. Yates/Mike Paulus
BUZZ: Yates was in a bit over his head in 2007, when he started as a freshman, but he still threw for a single-season school-record 2,655 yards. He was on his way to a solid season last year when he was injured in Game 3; he didn't return until Game 9. Paulus is a sophomore who barely played last season.

47. Georgia
STARTER/BACKUP: Joe Cox/Logan Gray
BUZZ: Cox is a fifth-year senior who patiently has waited his turn. He doesn't have near the arm as predecessor Matthew Stafford, but coaches praise his knowledge of the offense, his tendency not to force passes (something Stafford did often) and his leadership abilities. The Bulldogs expect to have a strong rushing attack, which will take some of the pressure off Cox.

48. Arkansas State
STARTER/BACKUP: Corey Leonard*/Ryan Aplin
BUZZ: Leonard is heading into his fourth season as the starter. He had problems with interceptions early in his career, but he cut way back on his picks last season. He also has good running skills.

49. Virginia Tech
STARTER/BACKUP: Tyrod Taylor*/Ju-Ju Clayton
BUZZ: Taylor, a junior, has shown off his running skills with the Hokies. As a passer, though, he hasn't shown all that much; he had two TD passes and seven picks last season. Clayton is a redshirt freshman.

50. Troy
STARTER/BACKUP: Levi Brown*/Jamie Hampton
BUZZ: Brown started the last eight games last season after Hampton blew out his knee. Brown is a steady hand at the wheel who understands the Trojans' offense. He has some mobility and tossed 15 touchdown passes and just three interceptions last season.

51. Florida State
STARTER/BACKUP: Christian Ponder*/E.J. Manuel
BUZZ: Ponder proved to be a strong runner last season. But he still has something to prove as a passer. He threw just eight TD passes against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents last season, Manuel is a touted redshirt freshman.

52. Miami
STARTER/BACKUP: Jacory Harris/A.J. Highsmith
BUZZ: Harris is a spindly sophomore with a big future. But the backup situation is questionable; two backups transferred out last week, and Highsmith is a true freshman.

53. Akron
STARTER/BACKUP: Chris Jacquemain*/Matt Rodgers
BUZZ: Jacquemain quietly is coming off a solid season. He threw for almost 2,800 yards last season, with 20 TDs, and he has his top three receivers back.

54. West Virginia
STARTER/BACKUP: Jarrett Brown/Geno Smith
BUZZ: Brown is a fifth-year senior who finally is getting his chance to be a full-time starter. He obviously can't run as well as predecessor Pat White, but he has a better arm. Smith is a touted true freshman.

55. Eastern Michigan
STARTER/BACKUP: Andy Schmitt*/Kyle McMahon
BUZZ: Schmitt's team is bad, but he actually is a solid quarterback. He's a big guy who is accurate, can throw the long ball and has some mobility.

56. UNLV
STARTER/BACKUP: Omar Clayton*/Mike Clausen
BUZZ: Clayton gives coaches a guy they can depend on at quarterback. He battled injuries throughout last season, but he still threw for 1,894 yards and 18 touchdowns with just four picks. If he stays healthy, UNLV could contend for a bowl bid.

57. Hawaii
STARTER/BACKUP: Greg Alexander/Brent Rausch
BUZZ: Alexander's numbers paled in comparison to predecessor Colt Brennan's, but that was to be expected. Alexander, a junior college transfer, didn't get into the groove until midseason, then played well down the stretch.

58. Utah
STARTER/BACKUP: Terrance Cain OR Jordan Wynn
BUZZ: The Utes received steady quarterback play from Brian Johnson last season, and it's unlikely either of these guys can play as well. Cain is a junior college transfer, Wynn a true freshman who went through spring practice. The upside of both led Corbin Louks, last season's backup, to transfer to Nevada.

59. Michigan
STARTER/BACKUP: Tate Forcier/Denard Robinson
BUZZ: Rich Rodriguez suffered through a horrible 2008 season because there wasn't a quarterback on the roster who could run his offense. Though both of these guys are true freshmen, they should be fine. Robinson is a big-time athlete who is a good runner but raw as a passer. Forcier went through spring ball, and that gives him a small advantage.

60. Pittsburgh
STARTER/BACKUP: Bill Stull*/Pat Bostick
BUZZ: This is the same quarterback pairing that the Panthers had last season, when LeSean McCoy was in the backfield. Now, McCoy is gone. Can either of these guys make plays?

61. Alabama
STARTER/BACKUP: Greg McElroy/A.J. McCarron
BUZZ: To say there's a lot of pressure on McElroy, a sophomore who is a first-time starter, is an understatement. He'll be asked to be a game manager; Alabama doesn't need him to make plays but rather to avoid mistakes.

62. Navy
STARTER/BACKUP: Ricky Dobbs/Michael Stukel
BUZZ: Dobbs' running ability has coaches raving. But his passing must improve, and the backup situation is dicey. Stukel had been moved to slotback before injuries meant a return to quarterback.

63. Tulsa
STARTER/BACKUP: G.J. Kinne OR Jacob Bower OR Shavodrick Beaver
BUZZ: Coach Todd Graham could find it tough to pick a starter. Kinne is a transfer from Texas who seems likely to get the job. Bower was the backup last season after transferring from junior college. Beaver is a touted true freshman who originally committed to Michigan before changing his mind; he went through spring drills, and his running ability might lead to some special packages being designed for him.

64. South Carolina
STARTER/BACKUP: Stephen Garcia/Reid McCollum
BUZZ: Garcia, a sophomore, is the clear-cut starter, which might help him grow up. He has a ton of physical tools, but he is known more for his off-field exploits than anything he has done on the field. McCollum is a redshirt freshman.

65. Northwestern
STARTER/BACKUP: Mike Kafka/Dan Persa
BUZZ: Kafka, a senior, will be starting for the first time, which means - finally - we can say Northwestern's offense is "Kafkaesque." Kafka is a good runner but has to show he can be an effective passer.

66. Arizona State
STARTER/BACKUP: Danny Sullivan/Brock Osweiler
BUZZ: Sullivan, a senior, has thrown three TD passes in his career. Osweiler is a 6-8 true freshman from Montana.

67. Stanford
STARTER/BACKUP: Andrew Luck/Tavita Pritchard*
BUZZ: Big things are expected from Luck, a redshirt freshman whose dad, Oliver, was an NFL quarterback. He has far more upside than Pritchard, who was pedestrian as a starter.

68. Middle Tennessee
STARTER/BACKUP: Dwight Dasher/Brent Burnette
BUZZ: Dasher's running ability makes him a good fit for new coordinator Tony Franklin's version of the spread. Plus, Dasher has a lot of good wide receivers to work with.

69. Utah State
STARTER/BACKUP: Diondre Borel*/Kane Wilson
BUZZ: Borel has proven running skills, but he will need to become a better passer under new coach Gary Andersen. Wilson is a true freshman.

70. Michigan State
STARTER/BACKUP: Keith Nichol OR Kirk Cousins
BUZZ: Nichol, who began his career at Oklahoma, and Cousins, who was Brian Hoyer's backup last season, still are fighting it out for the starting job. Hoyer really didn't have to do much except hand off to Javon Ringer last season; this season's starter will have to make some plays.

71. Memphis
STARTER/BACKUP: Arkelon Hall*/Will Hudgens
BUZZ: Hall, a senior who began his career at Washington State before moving on to a junior college and then Memphis, has the physical tools, but he needs to develop some consistency. Hudgens is a sixth-year senior who has battled through numerous injuries.

72. Nebraska
STARTER/BACKUP: Zac Lee/Cody Green
BUZZ: The Huskers are expecting to contend for the Big 12 North title - but they can do so only if Lee plays well. Green is a touted true freshman.

73. Virginia
STARTER/BACKUP: Vic Hall/Jameel Sewell
BUZZ: Sewell led the Cavaliers to a nine-win season in 2007, then missed last season for academic reasons. Hall, a senior who is just 5-9, is a great athlete who also has started at cornerback in his career. This is his first season as a full-fledged quarterback. Marc Verica, who started most of last season, is running third string.

74. Maryland
STARTER/BACKUP: Chris Turner*/Jamarr Robinson
BUZZ: Turner, whose dad was the original drummer in the band Ratt, has had an up-and-down college career. At his best, he's a steady quarterback who has some skills. But he's a senior who made too many mistakes and misreads last season. Robinson is a good athlete whose running ability will get him some playing time.

75. Arizona
STARTER/BACKUP: Matt Scott OR Nick Foles
BUZZ: Both have good physical attributes. Foles is a transfer from Michigan State. Steady quarterback play might be all that stands between Arizona and a bowl bid.

76. UCLA
STARTER/BACKUP: Kevin Prince/Richard Brehaut
BUZZ: The Bruins' quarterback play was bad last season. Prince should be an upgrade, but he's a redshirt freshman. Brehaut is a true freshman who enrolled early.

77. Missouri
STARTER/BACKUP: Blaine Gabbert/Jimmy Costello
BUZZ: The Tigers likely face a big drop-off from Chase Daniel to Gabbert. Gabbert is a big guy with a strong arm, and how well he fits the Tigers' spread offense is the key to their season.

78. San Jose State
STARTER/BACKUP: Kyle Reed* OR Jordan La Secla
BUZZ: Reed was a touted prep star who began his career at California. He was uneven last season and could lose his starting job to La Secla, a junior.

79. Ohio U.
STARTER/BACKUP: Boo Jackson* OR Theo Scott
BUZZ: Jackson had a solid season for the Bobcats after transferring from a junior college before the 2008 season. But he still may lose his job to Scott, who played a lot in 2007.

80. Marshall
STARTER/BACKUP: Brian Anderson/Press Taylor
BUZZ: Anderson started the season finale last season and nailed down the starting job during spring ball. Taylor is a junior college transfer who has beaten out Mark Cann, last season's starter, for the backup job.

81. Wisconsin
STARTER/BACKUP: Scott Tolzien/Curt Phillips
BUZZ: Tolzien, a junior, was the surprise winner of the quarterback derby. Dustin Sherer started last season, but he's now the third-stringer.

82. Tulane
STARTER/BACKUP: Joe Kemp/Kevin Moore*
BUZZ: Kemp, a sophomore, beat out Moore during spring practice. Kemp has a big arm and - if he gets adequate protection - could prove to be a good fit for the offense.

83. Clemson
STARTER/BACKUP: Kyle Parker/Willy Korn
BUZZ: Parker, a redshirt freshman whose best sport might be baseball, beat out Korn for the starting job. Parker is expected to be a steady sort whose biggest job will be to take care of the ball.

84. Rutgers
STARTER/BACKUP: Domenic Natale/Tom Savage
BUZZ: Natale, who began his career at Michigan State, might have a tough time holding off Savage, a touted true freshman, as the Scarlet Knights look to replace Mike Teel.

85. Toledo
STARTER/BACKUP: Aaron Opelt*/David Pasquale
BUZZ: Opelt is heading into his third season as the starter, and he has some weapons to work with at running back and wide receiver. But he must become more productive.

86. Northern Illinois
STARTER/BACKUP: Chandler Harnish*/DeMarcus Grady
BUZZ: Harnish did an adequate job as a redshirt freshman last season. He led the Huskies in rushing, but he needs improvement as a passer.

87. Purdue
STARTER/BACKUP: Joey Elliott/Caleb TerBush
BUZZ: Elliott, a fifth-year senior, has appeared in 10 games in his career, with 27 completions for 300 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

88. Colorado
STARTER/BACKUP: Cody Hawkins* OR Tyler Hansen
BUZZ: Hawkins, the coach's son, shared time with Hansen last season. The Buffs expect to have a strong rushing attack this season, which will lessen the pressure on the quarterbacks, who are average talents.

89. Louisville
STARTER/BACKUP: Justin Burke/Adam Froman
BUZZ: Burke is a North Carolina State transfer who had a great prep career in Lexington, Ky. Burke has good size, but there will be a lot of pressure on him this season as Steve Kragthorpe may be coaching for his job.

90. Auburn
STARTER/BACKUP: Chris Todd/Tyrik Rollison
BUZZ: Todd, who was a part-time starter last season, won the job over incumbent Kodi Burns during fall drills, and Burns subsequently was moved to wide receiver. Rollison is a touted true freshman.

91. Ball State
STARTER/BACKUP: Kelly Page/Tanner Justice
BUZZ: Page is a touted redshirt freshman. New coach Stan Parrish, who had been offensive coordinator, likes Page's maturity and his strong arm.

92. Tennessee
STARTER/BACKUP: Jonathan Crompton*/Nick Stephens
BUZZ: Crompton did not play well last season. Perhaps a change in coordinators will help. Then again, perhaps he just isn't that good.

93. Fresno State
STARTER/BACKUP: Ryan Colburn/Derek Carr
BUZZ: Colburn, a junior, did not play last season, but he has some throwing ability. Carr, the brother of former Bulldogs star David Carr, is a true freshman who enrolled in time for spring drills. The new starter will have the luxury of a strong rushing attack.

94. Indiana
STARTER/BACKUP: Ben Chappell/Adam Follett
BUZZ: Coaches are expecting big things from Chappell. But he has to get a lot better as a passer (52.3 percent, four TDs, three picks as a part-time starter last season). Former starter Kellen Lewis was dismissed in the spring.

95. Kentucky
STARTER/BACKUP: Mike Hartline*/Will Fidler
BUZZ: Hartline was benched midway through last season before getting his job back for the bowl game. He has some good physical tools, but he must become more consistent.

96. New Mexico
STARTER/BACKUP: Donovan Porterie/Brad Gruner*
BUZZ: Porterie missed most of last season with a knee injury, with Gruner taking his place. The passing attack needs a significant upgrade; the Lobos threw just four TD passes last season.

97. Connecticut
STARTER/BACKUP: Zach Frazer/Cody Endres
BUZZ: UConn was horrible throwing the ball last season, but at least they had TB Donald Brown. Brown is gone, and it's likely the passing attack will struggle again.

98. Florida International
STARTER/BACKUP: Paul McCall*/Wayne Younger
BUZZ: McCall, a senior, played steady football last season, but he needs to increase his completion percentage (52.7 last season).

99. Louisiana Tech
STARTER/BACKUP: Ross Jenkins*/Randy Hardin
BUZZ: Jenkins is a game manager-type who is asked to avoid mistakes above all else.

100. North Texas
STARTER/BACKUP: Riley Dodge/Nathan Tune
BUZZ: Giovanni Vizza left after his sophomore season despite starting for his first two seasons. Dodge is the son of the coach, and he signed with North Texas after originally committing to Texas. Riley ran the same pass-happy offense in high school.

101. Mississippi State
STARTER/BACKUP: Tyson Lee* OR Chris Relf
BUZZ: New coach Dan Mullen has installed his version of the spread, but he may not have a quarterback on campus who truly is a good fit. Lee is the returning starter, and Relf is a sophomore who threw nine passes - completing two - last season.

102. Vanderbilt
STARTER/BACKUP: Larry Smith/Mackenzi Adams*
BUZZ: Smith, a sophomore, has made one career start, and it came in last season's Music City Bowl. The Commodores' offense was barely mediocre last season, and there's no reason to expect a big change this season.

103. Louisiana-Lafayette
STARTER/BACKUP: Brad McGuire/Chris Masson
BUZZ: Both have some running ability as the Ragin' Cajuns will remain a run-first team. McGuire probably is the better passer of the two.

104. Kansas State
STARTER/BACKUP: Carson Coffman/Grant Gregory
BUZZ: Coffman is best known for being the brother of former Missouri star TE Chase Coffman. Gregory is a USF transfer who was granted immediate eligibility.

105. Boston College
STARTER/BACKUP: Justin Tuggle/Dave Shinskie
BUZZ: Projected starter Dominique Davis flunked out. Tuggle is a redshirt freshman, Shinskie a 25-year-old freshman who recently returned from minor league baseball. Shinskie has a cracked rib and may miss a game or two.

106. Miami University
STARTER/BACKUP: Daniel Raudabaugh*/Zac Dysert
BUZZ: Raudabaugh, a senior, has some good physical tools, but he never has developed consistency.

107. Idaho
STARTER/BACKUP: Nathan Enderle*/Brian Reader
BUZZ: Enderle is heading into his third season as the starter. That's the good news. The bad news? His career completion percentage is less than 50 percent.

108. Buffalo
STARTER/BACKUP: Zach Maynard/Jerry Davis
BUZZ: The Bulls will miss departed quarterback Drew Willy. And while Maynard has some physical tools, the season-ending injury to star RB James Starks puts a ton more pressure on the new quarterback.

109. Washington State
STARTER/BACKUP: Kevin Lopina* OR Marshall Lobbestael
BUZZ: There's a reason Washington State went 2-11 last season. Both have good size, but both have a lot to prove. Lopina, a senior, threw 11 picks and zero TDs last season.

110. Syracuse
STARTER/BACKUP: Greg Paulus/Ryan Nassib
BUZZ: Paulus, the former Duke basketball player, has been one of the biggest story lines of the offseason. Nassib, a redshirt freshman, had come out of spring ball as the starter.

111. UCF
STARTER/BACKUP: Rob Calabrese*/Brett Hodges
BUZZ: Calabrese was thrown into the fray as a true freshman last season, even though he wasn't ready. He has held off Hodges, a Wake Forest transfer who was granted immediate eligibility.

112. Colorado State
STARTER/BACKUP: Grant Stucker/Jon Eastman
BUZZ: Coach Steve Fairchild hasn't exactly been gushing his about candidates. Stucker is a senior who threw five passes last season, Eastman is a junior college transfer who has battled injury problems. WR T.J. Borcky, who was recruited as a quarterback, could be moved back behind center.

113. Wyoming
STARTER/BACKUP: Robert Benjamin/Austyn Carta-Samuels
BUZZ: New coach Dave Christensen, who had been offensive coordinator at Missouri, has installed his version of the spread. Benjamin is a junior college transfer and Carta-Samuels is a true freshman.

114. Louisiana-Monroe
STARTER/BACKUP: Trey Revell/Darrell McNeal
BUZZ: Revell has some mobility and can throw. The backup situation is such that McNeal - a starting wide receiver - likely would move to quarterback if Revell is hurt.

115. Rice
STARTER/BACKUP: Nick Fanuzzi AND John Thomas Shepherd
BUZZ: Fanuzzi, who began his career at Alabama, is the better passer, Shepherd the better runner. Both will see time early in the season. It will be hard replacing Chase Clement.

116. Temple
STARTER/BACKUP: Vaughn Charlton/Chester Stewart
BUZZ: Both have starting experience, but the Owls are going to rely on their defense to win games this season.

117. Kent State
STARTER/BACKUP: Giorgio Morgan/Anthony Magazu
BUZZ: The Golden Flashes will miss former starter Julian Edelman, who was an excellent runner. Morgan is a sophomore who will work behind a line that has some potential.

118. Western Kentucky
STARTER/BACKUP: Brandon Smith/Kawaun Jakes
BUZZ: Smith, a fifth-year senior, is the son of Kentucky linebacker coach Chuck Smith.

119. New Mexico State
STARTER/BACKUP: Jeff Fleming/Trevor Walls
BUZZ: Fleming is a junior college transfer. The Aggies are moving from Hal Mumme's pass-happy attack to a more conventional scheme.

120. Army
STARTER/BACKUP: Trent Steelman/Chip Bowden*
BUZZ: Steelman is a true freshman. Bowden is a strong runner but a poor passer.

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be heard on Rivals Radio every Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET and can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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