Picking the top quarterbacks in the nation can be a difficult task. With inflated numbers due to high-flying offensive systems, some signal callers’ stats make them look better than they actually are. Just because you have a bunch of yards and a few handfuls of touchdown passes doesn’t mean you are a top QB, especially if you are playing for a losing team.
Despite the difficulty of analyzing quarterbacks at the collegiate level, we have gone ahead and done just that. Finding the perfect balance between passer rating, touchdown passes, yards, and team success, we have found the top five quarterbacks in the country.
So, without further delay, here they are:
5. Brandon Doughty, Western Kentucky
Brandon Doughty has the makeup of a system quarterback. Western Kentucky likes to sling the ball around, and Doughty is the perfect man for the job. Despite this, you still have to put this guy in the top five based on his mind-boggling stats and the way he has helped his team stay competitive.
Doughty is second in the nation with 1,591 passing yards through four games, is tied for sixth with 11 touchdowns, and owns the seventh best passer efficiency rating in the game. He also tossed just two picks so far and has completed over 74% of his pass attempts (which is made more impressive by the fact that he has thrown the sixth most passes in the country). All of this has led the Hilltoppers to a 3-1 record, with only a tight loss against Indiana keeping them from a perfect start.
Listen, Doughty isn’t going to win the Heisman or anything like that. However, he has the chance to finish with some crazy numbers for a Western Kentucky team that could win 10 games this season. Those factors make him a top-five passer in college football.
4. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
People may have questioned whether or not Chad Kelly could lead a talented Rebels team to new heights this season. With the way he and the team have played so far, those questions have been answered with authority. After beating Alabama in week three, Ole Miss sits at No. 3 in the nation right now. With Kelly at the helm, the team has a great opportunity to stay there.
The stats for Kelly are as impressive as any signal caller in the country so far this season. He owns the 13th most passing yards, 12th most touchdowns, and the 11th best efficiency rating among all quarterbacks in Division I. The most important stat for Kelly is 4-0: the record that Ole Miss holds at this point in the season. Kelly has been clutch (see the Alabama game), explosive, efficient, and careful with the football (just three interceptions). With his explosive receiving corp, Kelly’s status as one of the best QBs in the game may only go up as the season progresses.
If Ole Miss keeps winning and Kelly keeps playing at a high level, don’t be surprised to see his name creep up in the Heisman race. For now, a top-five ranking is more than in order for the Rebels’ junior passer.
3. Jarred Goff, Cal
Football at Cal-Berkley has been nothing but ugly since the turn of the decade. The Golden Bears haven’t had a winning season since 2009, but in 2015, things are finally looking up for the program. One player that has been through the worst-of-the-worst with Cal is junior QB Jared Goff. Now that he has lead the team to a 4-0 start, he has to feel a sweet sense of accomplishment. In the process, he’s played like one of the best QBs in the game.
Goff has been crucial to the Bears hot start. He is currently ninth in the nation in passing yards, tied for sixth in touchdowns, and is in the top 15 in passer efficiency. Goff has also taken really good care of the ball (just three interceptions) and has completed nearly 70% of his passes. He’s also been really clutch for the Bears. In their closest game against Texas, Goff had three touchdowns and no picks. All of these factors have helped Cal to an appearance in this week’s top 25 at No. 24 in the AP Poll.
Cal has a great opportunity to win the PAC 12 this season with Goff at the helm of the team’s offense. If that happens, hardware could be coming the junior’s way.
2. Cody Kessler, USC
USC had big expectations this season but sustained a crushing loss to Stanford in week three that has set the team back. While the Trojans still have a chance to achieve the things they wanted to achieve, their road will be an uphill climb. Luckily for them, they have a top-tier signal caller leading their cause.
Cody Kessler is at the top of just about every significant passing statistic there is right now. He is No. 6 in passing yards, tied for No. 1 in touchdowns, and No. 2 in efficiency. Kessler has also thrown just one interception on the season and has completed 73% of his throws. Even in defeat, Kessler was still brilliant, tossing three scores against Stanford in that contest.
Having a quarterback of this caliber gives the Trojans a very good chance to win the remainder of their games this season, which would put them back in position for the College Football Playoff. If Kessler leads the Trojans there and maintains these gaudy numbers, a Heisman trophy is likely. For now, he could be called the best QB in the nation, but one other guy stands slightly above him.
1. Trevone Boykin, TCU
Everyone expected Trevone Boykin to be good this season, and (if anything) he has exceeded those expectations to this point. TCU is 4-0, and a majority of the credit goes to the play of the team’s senior quarterback. Boykin has almost willed the Horned Frogs to victory in each of the past two weeks, which alone makes him a top-five passer in the country. When you look at his stats, you see why he has been better than anyone.
Boykin owns the third most passing yards in the nation through four weeks of action. He also is third in touchdowns and has the 13th best efficiency rating. Really, the conversation for top QB in college football comes down to Boykin and Kessler. What gives Boykin the edge in that race is 1) his unquestionable importance to the Horned Frogs and 2) the fact that his team is still perfect — and perfect solely because of his play. TCU was almost upset by Texas Tech in its last game, but Boykin’s four touchdowns and 485 yards led the team to survival in that contest.
With the leadership of his team to go along with his huge numbers, Boykin has to be considered the best quarterback in college football right now. If he carries TCU to the playoff, his season could go down as one of the most memorable in the history of the game and a Heisman trophy will surely be on his mantle.