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Is C.J. Beathard Iowa's Next Starting Quarterback?

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Darren Miller (Hawkeye Sports)

Randy Peterson seems to think so.

Via the Register:

Look beyond the press release announcing Iowa football award winners last Saturday. Hiding between the lines in a paragraph about freshman C.J. Beathard winning an offensive "Team Leader" award is the notion that he’s Vandenberg’s quarterback successor. No wonder he didn’t play last season, even in a mop-up role.

Coaches will say Beathard, transfer Cody Sokol and Jake Rudock are competing to be the starter. Don’t be surprised if it ends up Beathard when the Hawkeyes open the season on Aug. 31 against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium.

Certainly, Beathard could be Iowa's starting quarterback next fall. This is the most wide open the quarterback race has been at Iowa since... well, probably since the beginning of Ferentz's tenure here. In years where there hasn't been a returning starter, there's usually been a clear favorite -- Chandler in 2003, Tate in 2004, Christensen in 2007, Vandenberg in 2011, etc.. No such clear favorite seems to exist heading into 2013. Jake Rudock spent the entire 2012 season listed behind James Vandenberg on the depth chart -- but he also never saw a single solitary snap in a game in 2012, which seems to put him on equal footing with Iowa's other quarterback options, Cody Sokol, C.J. Beathard, and even incoming freshman Nic Shimonek.

There are a lot of ways to interpret the fact that Rudock never got into a game in 2012; one of the most popular interpretation was that Rudock didn't play because he wasn't the real back-up quarterback in the eyes of the coaches, but that they didn't want to burn a redshirt to give Sokol or Beathard a few meaningless snaps. This interpretation was supported by occasional whispers that Sokol or Beathard was looking better in practice at the time as well.

Still, that's not the premise behind Peterson's suggestion that Beathard will be Iowa's next starting quarterback; he's suggesting that Beathard will be tabbed for that role because he won an offensive "Team Leader" award. And that's a pretty flimsy rationale for his theory. Sure, giving an offensive "Team Leader" award to a true freshman QB might sound impressive, but... Iowa gives out a lot of awards at the season-ending banquet. It would be madness to read too much into them or to assume future playing time based on their distribution. Someone named Wil Rathjen won a defensive version of this award; don't hold your breath waiting to see him hit the field. (Although he is a defensive lineman and who knows how deep we might dig in search of a pass rush...)

Peterson's theory might be compelling if past Iowa signal-callers had earned this award before being named the starter, but... that really hasn't been the case. James Vandenberg didn't win this award. Ricky Stanzi didn't win this award. Jake Christensen didn't win this award. The last quarterback to win this award was Arvell Nelson and he was not exactly pushing JC6 for the starting QB job.

Look, C.J. Beathard could win the starting job next September and I wouldn't bat an eye. He led the state of Tennessee in passing yards, completions, and touchdowns as a junior and a senior, so he certainly doesn't seem to be without talent. It's entirely possible that he's able to grok the Greg Davis offense at a level beyond any of our other quarterbacks. But if he does get the job, it's probably not going to have much to do with the fact that he won an offensive "Team Leader" award this year.

Nice try, Register. Why don't you go back to trolling Iowa fans -- you're much better at that:

But to answer your jibe... nope, we're not jealous. Not when we have a far more lucrative (i.e., MONEY: WE HAZ IT) network with far better distribution (i.e., people can watch it on providers other than Mediacom) ... and, oh right, because we have our own silly little channel on Mediacom, too. I guess you'd better start trolling UNI fans now. At least until Mediacom rolls out The Panther Network.