There is no more important job in college football than being the starting quarterback. The plays a QB executes or fails to execute are almost always the difference in a team winning a game or covering the point spread. And with turnovers being such an integral part of how games turn out, the players most responsible are the quarterbacks. The QBs who are comfortable in their systems and confident in their abilities can take their teams to great heights.
Look at the situation at Clemson over the last decade. With Deshaun Watson and Trevor Lawrence under center, the Tigers won national titles, twice in three years. Sandwiched between those championships was a year when they came up short, and I firmly believe it was because the starting QB that season was Kelly Bryant. He was not a horrible option but clearly was not at the level of Watson or Lawrence. When Bryant transferred to Missouri, he didn’t exactly light up the SEC, either, as the Tigers went just 5-5 in his 10 starts.
For bettors preparing for the 2021 season, it pays to know the quality of the quarterbacks. To me, there are four scenarios for evaluating. In cases when the starter is returning with the same coaching staff in place, the assessment is as easy as looking at last year’s performance and making minor adjustments for the players who will surround him this season. When the starter is the same but will be playing in a new offense under a new coach or offensive coordinator, it gets a little trickier, but for the most part you can make some assumptions about the quality of that player. In the case of a new starter taking over a system that has been in place, the best way to analyze it is to compare the physical attributes and recruiting grades of the new player, then read some local coverage of that team’s spring practices, scrimmages and other tidbits. Where the analysis gets most unpredictable is when a new quarterback takes control for a new coaching staff. There is really no concrete way to predict the success of the new combination, and the more resourceful you can be in digging up information, the better your chances.