Quarterbacks are in focus today on ESPN.com -- and really, when are they ever not in focus? You should have guessed we wouldn't let an opportunity like this pass us by without doing some rankings.
So today's task, and it's not an easy one, is to rank the quarterbacks in the Big East. As with any ranking system, you need some criteria to work with before you begin. I'm going to use a standard similar to this summers Top 25 player list -- past production plus potential for the 2010 season -- while giving heavier weight to this season's potential for this list.
Let the rankings, and soon after your criticism, begin:
1. Zach Collaros, Cincinnati: Collaros was simply other-worldly in his four starts last season, completing 75 percent of his passes, setting the Big East single-game record for total yards and posting a 195.5 efficiency rating. (By comparison, Tim Tebow led the FBS with a 164.2 efficiency rating; Collaros didn't have enough passing attempts to qualify). Expecting similar or better results would be unwise, but Collaros is a dual-threat talent surrounded by great skill players who should thrive in Butch Jones's offense.
2. Tom Savage, Rutgers: I had Savage just behind South Florida's B.J. Daniels in the Top 25 rankings, largely because I thought Daniels had a slightly better overall 2009 season. But I like Savage more for 2010, as he should have more to work with in the passing game and more options in the running attack. Losing Tim Wright didn't help, however, and the offensive line still needs to take shape.
3. B.J. Daniels, South Florida: Daniels is adjusting to a new offense, has to work with a depleted receiving corps and missed significant time this spring. Still, he's a special talent who's capable of dropping 450 total yards in just about any game.
4. Tino Sunseri, Pittsburgh: Sure, this is awfully high for a guy who's never made a start or play in anything but mop-up duty. But I'm impressed with Sunseri's mobility and arm strength. Throw in the fact that he has Dion Lewis and Ray Graham to take the pressure off in the backfield, and that he can throw to guys like Jon Baldwin and Mike Shanahan, and I'm sold.
5. Geno Smith, West Virginia: Don't sleep on Smith. He's mature beyond his years and maybe already a more polished passer than Jarrett Brown or Pat White. As long as his foot stays in one piece, he should be just fine.
6. Zach Frazer, Connecticut: UConn fans will no doubt think this is too low for Frazer, a senior who led the Huskies to four straight wins to close out 2009. Frazer certainly improved as last season wore on, and looked as good as ever this spring. But I still want to see more consistency out of a guy who has 15 career interceptions and only 12 career touchdown passes.
7. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse: Nassib was like a bullpen guy for Greg Paulus last season, coming into the game for certain packages and situations. He was neither spectacular nor shoddy, completing 53 percent of his passes with three scores and an interception. The sophomore seems entrenched as Doug Marrone's starter, but will he have enough weapons with which to work?
8. Adam Froman/Justin Burke/Will Stein, Louisville: Uncertainty about who will be the starter almost makes Louisville last by default. No one in this trio owns particularly impressive arm strength. I believe Froman will be the starter because of his leadership skills and mobility. If so, his 6-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio must improve significantly.