Who's No. 2: McElroy or Brantley?

I think most of us would agree that Arkansas’ Ryan Mallett is the best quarterback in the SEC entering the 2010 season.

But the second-best quarterback?

Is it Alabama’s Greg McElroy? Is it Florida’s John Brantley? Is it somebody else who will break out of the shadows?

I was asked during a radio appearance Monday who I would take right now between McElroy and Brantley.

My initial answer was a cop-out. I’ll admit it.

I said that if I could have Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson in the backfield and Julio Jones at receiver, I’d gladly take McElroy. After all, that combination worked just fine last season. The Crimson Tide went 14-0 and won a national championship.

Let’s not forget, either, that McElroy is 30-0 as a starting quarterback going back to his senior year of high school in Texas. There’s something to be said for winning that many games in a row … at any level.

I’d say he’s proven his toughness as well after playing in the BCS National Championship Game last season with cracked ribs.

That said, I think I would still take Brantley if I were in the Gators’ position this fall. While he’s yet to prove himself on an SEC stage, he’s shown off his strong right arm the past two springs and can really throw the football.

Losing Tim Tebow does two things to the Florida offense. His contribution in the passing game is one thing, but he was also the heart and soul of the Gators’ running game.

There aren’t a lot of proven playmakers returning, so having a quarterback who can put pressure on a defense down the field is a must if you’re going to open up things for other players.

In short, McElroy fits just fine for Alabama, and Brantley is a nice fit for Florida.

Who’s the better player?

Ask me in December.