The narrative this season has been that the SEC is overrated — and that the lack of good quarterback play is a big reason why.
The conference has undoubtedly had its issues at quarterback, but the 12 finalists for the Manning Award, which is given to the nation’s best quarterback, include three SEC players: Arkansas’ Brandon Allen, Ole Miss’ Chad Kelly and Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott.
Statistically, Kelly leads the way in the SEC. The Rebels’ signal caller ranks among the nation’s best in several categories with 3,740 passing yards (ninth), 311.7 passing yards per game (10th), 27 passing touchdowns (12th), 8.8 yards per attempt (14th) and a 154.41 passer rating (17th). Kelly, who helped lead Ole Miss to a 9-3 overall record and a 6-2 finish in the SEC, is also sixth nationally with 347.3 total yards per game.
Allen gets lost in the shuffle because Arkansas’ offense is predicated on the run, but the senior has been impressive. He also ranks among the nation’s best with 3,125 passing yards (24th), 260.4 passing yards per game (29th), 29 passing touchdowns (ninth), 9.1 yards per attempt (fifth) and a 165.18 passer rating (eighth). Allen helped lead the Razorbacks to a 7-5 overall record, including a 5-3 mark in the SEC.
Prescott was the leader heading into the season, and he followed a great junior season with another big year in 2015. He has also stacked up well nationally with 3,413 passing yards (17th), 284.4 passing yards per game (19th), 25 passing touchdowns (19th), 7.8 yards per attempt (37th) and a 149.94 passer rating (27th). Prescott, who helped lead the Bulldogs to an 8-4 finish and a 4-4 record in the SEC, also finished the regular season 10th with 329.5 total yards per game.
Earlier this week, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd went on a rant during his radio show about why the SEC is overrated, and part of that included a knock on the conference’s quarterback play.
“They don’t have a draftable quarterback,” Cowherd said.
Will any quarterback in the SEC this season go on to have a successful NFL career? No one knows for sure, but that doesn’t make them bad college quarterbacks.
In fact, the SEC’s three finalists for the Manning Award are tied with the American Athletic Conference for the most of any conference. The Big 12 is third with two representatives, while the Pac-12, ACC, Big Ten and Conference USA each has one.