Does the ACC Have the Nation’s Best Group of Quarterbacks?

We Look at Whether or Not the ACC's Crop of Quarterbacks Is the Nation's Best

The ACC, top to bottom, has the nation’s best group of quarterbacks for the 2012 season. Laugh all you want, but it may be hard to avoid the fact. While some may call out the pure number of schools we’re considering (14), or the fact that none are necessarily “elite” (false, by the way), this post’s going to try to prove those naysayers wrong. Or at least make them consider the opposing point of view. Maybe. Let’s jump in…

Of the 14 ACC starting quarterbacks, not one is in a real quarterback controversy. Just one (Stephen Morris) lost a position battle last year, and he still got considerable reps in 2011. Every one of these guys are upperclassmen — half seniors, half juniors. Six of them have also thrown for more than 3,000 yards in a season. Need I go on?

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the ACC’s signal-callers, compared to how they stack up to their counterparts in the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. To make all things even, we’ll average out all statistics across all passers. The categories will include: Career wins, 2011 passing yards, 2011 (total) TDs, and 2011 interceptions.

We’ll keep in mind this “study” isn’t perfect or scientific, so long as you remember we never claimed it was either.

Average Career Wins

Big 12: 8.5

ACC: 8.2

Big Ten: 7.0

Pac-12: 6.33

SEC: 4.79

Average 2011 Passing Yards

ACC: 2,447.43

Big 12: 2,057.2

Big Ten: 1,579.42

SEC: 1,400.71

Pac-12: 1,350.17

Average 2011 Touchdowns

ACC: 20.86

Big 12: 18.1

Big Ten: 16.17

SEC: 13.79

Pac-12: 11.92

Average 2011 Interceptions

Pac-12: 4.83

SEC: 5.14

Big 12: 5.9

Big Ten: 6.5

ACC: 9.21

As you’ll notice above, the ACC is greatly assisted by the number of returning starters (13) in the average yardage and touchdown categories, while that same factor hurts for the interceptions statistic. In terms of wins, the ACC placed a close second to the Big 12, mostly on the strength of Landry Jones and Geno Smith‘s nearly 50 combined wins.

So the takeaway here? While the ACC may struggle to win outright a subjective title like “best group of quarterbacks,” they certainly possess the nation’s most experienced group top-to-bottom, have the most evenly spread-out talent pool and absolutely claim more starts than any other league. While it’s surely not definitive, it’s a victory for the league right now, and one that will play a part in how 2012 plays out — with experience under center weighing heavily.

As a side note, below is a breakdown of each league’s top three stat-wise, so you can see how these numbers above came about (sorted by wins):


Ryan Nassib, Syracuse (13 Ws, 2685 yards, 24 TDs, 9 INTs)

Logan Thomas, Virginia Tech (11 Ws, 3013 yards, 30 TDs, 10 INTs)

Tajh Boyd, Clemson (10 Ws, 3828 yards, 38 TDs, 12 INTs)

Big Ten:

Taylor Martinez, Nebraska (19 Ws, 2089 yards, 22 TDs, 8 INTs)

Denard Robinson, Michigan (14 Ws, 2173 yards, 36 TDs, 15 INTs)

Braxton Miller, Ohio State (6 Ws, 1159 yards, 20 TDs, 4 INTs)

Big 12:

Landry Jones, Oklahoma (30 Ws, 4463 yards, 31 TDs, 15 INTs)

Geno Smith, West Virginia (19 Ws, 4385 yards, 33 TDs 7 INTs)

Collin Klein, Kansas State (10 Ws, 1918 yards, 40 TDs, 6 INTs)


Matt Barkley, USC (27 Ws, 3528 yards, 41 TDs, 7 INTs)

Zach Maynard, California (12 Ws, 2990 yards, 21 TDs, 12 INTs)

Keith Price, Washington (7 Ws, 3,063 yards, 36 TDs, 11 INTs)


Aaron Murray, Georgia (16 Ws, 3149 yards, 37 TDs, 14 INTs)

AJ McCarron, Alabama (13 Ws, 2634 yards, 18 TDs, 5 INTs)

Tyler Wilson, Arkansas (11 Ws, 3638 yards, 28 TDs, 6 INTs)

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