Who you callin' unproven?
Earlier this week, Matt Hinton a/k/a Dr. Saturday wrote another of his typically interesting posts on the dearth of quarterback talent in the SEC and nationwide. In it, he placed BCS starting quarterbacks into four categories: Proven, Viable, New, and Not Viable. The Big Ten breakdown:
Proven - Darryl Clark, Juice Williams, Terrelle Pryor
Viable - Dick Stanzi, Adam Weber, Dustin Sherer
New - The MSU quarterback shuffle, Mike Kafka, Tate Forcier, Joey Elliott
Not Viable - The Ben Chappell Experience
Hinton knew he was going to catch some heat:
"Not viable" here is reserved for returning starters who were so bad it's inconceivable that they could ever lead a successful offense (see specific assignments for each category here; Ricky Stanzi fans, my e-mail is on the sidebar).
I don't need no stinking email. I gots me a blog, mothafucka.
Let's go to the blind taste test. For your consideration, five Big Ten quarterbacks:
Two of those quarterbacks are "proven," and the other three are "viable". Can you sort it out? Yeah, me neither.
I understand Dr. S's need to put together a rating system for the post he was writing, but it's awfully goddamn arbitrary when Player A (Terrelle Pryor) throws for just 131 yards per start, puts up a nearly-identical record as a starter (with a far more talented supporting cast by Rivals/Scout standards, which we all know is gospel), shows no significant advantage in any other category, and still gets a higher ranking than Player D (The Manzi). Even if you throw in rushing yards (which is a little skewed because, you know, these are quarterbacks and they get sacked and stuff) and calculate total offensive output, Stanzi actually outgained Pryor by 34 yards last season (and did this, which Pryor didn't). The only thing Stanzi doesn't have over Pryor is OMG HE'S TERRELLE PRYOR.
That's to say nothing of the fact that Player B (Dustin Sherer) was lumped in with Stanzi and Adam Weber (Player E), despite the fact that he has all of 7 career starts, is behind Stanzi and Weber in every meaningful statistic, and is on a team that limped through the second half of the season, squeaking by a demoralized Minnesota and cupcake Cal Poly at home before being disemboweled by Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl.* If there's a separation to be made, it's between Sherer and the rest of the pack, not between Stanzi and Pryor.
I'm not saying Stanzi is "proven" or that Pryor is "viable"; those are arbitrary terms with plain English definitions that may or may not apply to each player. I'm saying that any distinction between the two - or between Stanzi and Weber, for that matter - is skewed by something other than numbers (in fact, with two full years of relatively consistent performance that is arguably better than both Stanzi and Pryor, Adam Weber might have an even stronger case for "proven" status). If the classification is based on statistical performance, those three belong together, whatever the label might be.
* -- I'm not going to quibble about Player C, Juice Williams, even though we all know that Juice Throws = Illini FAIL, because Juice truly is a proven commodity at this point.
Get it? Juice? Commodity? Well, Mortimer & Randolph approve.