National Columnist Mike Farrell back with the 3-Point Stance looking at the easiest jobs in the Power Five, predicting the passing leaders for the 2022 season and five true freshmen quarterbacks to watch.
Easiest Jobs in CFB
— Okay, no college football head coaching jobs are easy, so let’s just say these are the cushiest gigs around. There’s no excuse not to win at these places yet about half of them tend to struggle.
The Trojans are one of the biggest brands in college football, and they’re dead center in the talent-rich area of Los Angeles and Orange County. They’re arguably the flashiest program out there, and they’ve got no shortage of money to spend on the program.
One of the reasons that the Longhorns have churned through so many coaches since Mack Brown left the program is because the entire fanbase and all of the boosters know that the money is there to have a consistent national title-contending team year in and year out. All of the elements are there – a huge donor base, great in-state recruiting, and strong brand recognition.
There are few athletic departments in the country, if any, that fund their athletic programs – not just football – as well and as consistently as Oklahoma. You can make a strong case that Oklahoma has been the most consistently good program over the past 50 years next to Alabama.
There is zero doubt about what the fiscal priorities at the University of Alabama are, and the Crimson Tide football team is at the top. Not only are they a proven winner year-in and year-out, they have top-of-the-line facilities, enough money to recruit at an elite level nationally, and a brand that is synonymous with not only success at the collegiate level, but getting guys into the top of the NFL draft.
The state of Georgia is one of the prep football capitals of the country, and the Bulldogs are the absolute dominant force in in-state recruiting. There’s also been a clear investment on the part of the university’s administration into the program, and that has all culminated with the national championship this past season. The Dawgs are set up for the future as well as anyone in the country.
The Buckeyes are the only Power 5 game in town in the talent-rich state of Ohio. Despite the objections of other Big Ten programs, they’ve clearly been the class of the conference for the last half-century, and have created a money-making machine in the process.
While they may not be as flashy as some other programs, the Wolverines are one of the richest programs in the country and have facilities and a budget that is on par with all of the top programs. Michigan finally lived up to its promise last season, making the CFP for the first time in program history.
Nike CEO Phil Knight’s deep pockets have almost single-handedly created a true national power in Eugene. They can recruit nationally thanks to the money that he has poured into the program, and they already get tons of notoriety thanks to their (sometimes questionable) uniform choices.
Like Ohio State, LSU is the only Power 5 team in the state of Louisiana, yet another state with tons of prep talent. Death Valley is one of the best places to play in the country, especially under the lights, and they’ve got some of the best facilities anywhere.
The fact that the U is still on this list despite two decades of relative mediocrity shows just how much they have fallen off. There may not be a more densely talented area in the nation than Miami-Dade and Broward counties. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be in the mix for the playoff every single season given just how close they are to so much prep talent.
Predicting QB Statistical Leaders
— Everyone loves quarterback talk, right? And we all know Bryce Young at Alabama and CJ Stroud at Ohio State will kill it next year. But will either lead the country in any category? Here are the predictions.
Attempts & Completions: Will Rogers, Mississippi State
Rogers led the nation in completions last year by 30 over second place Bailey Zappe, and he did that on three fewer attempts than Zappe, who was the nation’s leader in that category. There is zero reason why he shouldn’t be able to repeat this type of performance. He is, after all, the quarterback in a Mike Leach offense. He’s bound to put up amazing numbers.
Completion Percentage, Quarterback Rating, Yards per Attempt: Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina
McCall broke the college football record for quarterback rating last year, while also leading in yards per attempt by nearly two yards per pass – an astounding difference considering the difference between 2nd and 3rd was .1 yards. He’s losing top target Isaiah Likely from last season, but he’s still the class of the Group of 5 quarterbacks.
Passing Yards, Passing Touchdowns: CJ Stroud, Ohio State
CJ Stroud had only three fewer passing touchdowns than Heisman winner Bryce Young did, and he managed that in three fewer games. They’re the top two returning players in passing touchdowns from last year, and with a full season of health, there’s no reason to believe that he won’t put up even bigger numbers this season.
Rushing Yards & TD’s by a QB: Malik Cunningham, Louisville
Cunningham was 4th in the nation in rushing TDs last year among all players with 20. And now with his top receiver Tyler Harell off to Alabama, he’s going to need to run more than ever.
Impact True Freshmen Quarterbacks
— And finally which true freshmen quarterbacks should we keep an eye on next season. Here are five.
Cade Klubnik, Clemson
Even if DJ Uiagalelei starts the season there’s no guarantee he will finish it. Klubnick is that good.
Drew Allar, Penn State
Sean Clifford is the guy but if the offense struggles you can bet fans will be calling for the elite passer from Ohio to replace his fellow Ohioan.
Conner Weigman, Texas A&M
He’s good – very good – and if the Aggies have issues at QB like last year he will play.
Sam Horn, Missouri
The QB situation in Missouri is very fluid and he has a chance to become the guy early.
AJ Duffy, Florida State
Jordan Travis is the man there but if he gets hurt or the offense needs a better passer, Duffy could get in early.