Maybe Jarrett Stidham is going to meet those lofty expectations, after all. Auburn’s star transfer had been mostly quiet through the first month of the season — and suffered a not-so-quiet 11 sacks at Clemson — but he has progressed into one of the SEC’s best quarterbacks.
This week, he jumped six spots in our QB rankings after his first standout performance of 2017: A 264-yard, 2-touchdown game against No. 24 Mississippi State.
Among the other moves: Alabama’s Jalen Hurts reclaimed the top spot from MSU’s Nick Fitzgerald, and Hurts’ backup, Tua Tagovailoa, jumped past one of the league’s full-time starters.
To give you an idea of how our custom formula (QBL) works, here are the core factors:
- Passing yardage
- Rushing yardage/sack yardage
- Total points (touchdowns plus team conversions)
- Efficiency (output vs. above-average number of attempts)
- Strength of opponent
- Era (output pitted against contemporary stats)
Note: This is not a ranking of the “best” quarterbacks with the tightest spirals or the quickest decision-making abilities or the fastest 40 times. It’s about “greatness,” that all-important factor that — until now — was unquantifiable.
Here’s how the SEC QB rankings shake out entering Week 6 (key below):
⬆️⬆️⬆️ Major mover
⬆️ Notable mover
Consecutive great games
❄️ Consecutive disappointing games
⛔️ Negative score in most recent game
1. Jalen Hurts, Alabama ⬆️
National ranking: No. 4. Outside of Lamar Jackson, no quarterback in the country runs the ball as well as Hurts does. He’s got strong vision, breakaway acceleration and a thick frame that makes him tough to bring down when defenders actually manage to get their hands on him. Does the sophomore still need to show more consistency in the passing game? Yes, but that won’t really matter unless Alabama faces an elite defense.
2. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State ❄️
National ranking: No. 6. It’s panic time for Fitzgerald and MSU. The Bulldogs offense was disastrous for a second straight week, and the passing game was clearly a weak link. When Mississippi State falls behind and can’t lean on its running game, it apparently has no way to recover. Thankfully, Dan Mullen’s squad is on bye this weekend.
3. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
National ranking: No. 24. Based on Shurmur’s performance at The Swamp, it’s tough to tell if he’s the same quarterback he was before a punishing loss to Alabama two weeks ago. The junior threw 3 touchdowns without an interception against the Gators, but he completed just 18-of-40 passes (45 percent) and failed to consistently move the ball in the second half. He’s got another rough test at home Saturday when No. 6 Georgia visits Nashville.
4. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss ⛔️ ❄️
National ranking: No. 35. No one expects Patterson to continue playing as poorly as he did against Alabama, but the rest of the season will probably shake out more like Ole Miss’ loss to Cal than its triumphs over inferior opponents. Patterson and the Rebels offense have been overmatched in their past two games, and there aren’t too many teams remaining on the schedule that will let the Rebs pour in points.
5. Jake Fromm, Georgia
National ranking: No. 40. It remains to be seen whether Fromm can pass the Bulldogs to victory. Over the past three wins, he’s averaged just 13.3 attempts as the Georgia running game and defense dominate opponents. The coaching staff has done an excellent job of keeping Fromm in manageable situations while allowing him to take shots down the field, something they’ve done since his first start at Notre Dame. But he’s still one bad game away from being replaced by his 5-star backup.
6. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn ⬆️⬆️⬆️
National ranking: No. 48. Much like Fromm, Stidham has not been called upon to carry the Tigers, but he was more efficient than his Georgia counterpart this past weekend. Auburn has responded well to an early-season letdown at Clemson, and appears to be rounding into elite form. Stidham should find plenty of room to throw and run against Ole Miss on Saturday, and then he has a three-game SEC West road stretch at LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M.
7. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
National ranking: No. 56. This is tongue-in-cheek, but Texas A&M might be tempted to keep Mond far, far away from Kyle Field this Saturday. No. 1-ranked Alabama is coming to town, and the Tide has a knack for ruining opposing quarterbacks’ confidence. Mond, a freshman, will be hoping for a Manziel-esque performance; he’ll need to play at a Heisman Trophy-level for A&M to pull off the upset.
8. Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
National ranking: No. 64. Narrowly avoiding an upset against Eastern Michigan is not what you’d call a “success,” but Johnson was good enough through the air to avoid disaster. The major issue: Kentucky allowed 5 sacks — including one that led to a fumble recovery and defensive touchdown — against a middle-of-the-road MAC team.
9. Drew Lock, Missouri ❄️
National ranking: No. 67. Lock’s national ranking has dropped 50 spots during Missouri’s three-game losing streak. The humane thing to do would be to just let Mizzou sit at home for the remainder of autumn and watch everyone else play real football. The Tigers had a bye week last weekend, and it was the most positive development for the program since the season began.
10. Jake Bentley, South Carolina
National ranking: No. 68. A disappointing loss to Texas A&M was punctuated by a scary moment: Bentley took a hard hit to the head on a last-minute scramble, then wobbled around the field after referees, teammates, coaches and training staffs allowed him to stay in the game (it was a “hurry-up” situation). South Carolina has not mentioned it this week.
11. Danny Etling, LSU
National ranking: No. 76. Despite an upset loss to Troy, LSU is sticking with Etling. The Tigers plan to give him the entire game at Florida, as opposed to letting freshman Myles Brennan continue to get snaps. That’s all fine and well, so long as Etling can move the ball against a Florida pass defense that waffled against Vanderbilt, allowing 3 touchdowns through the air but only a 45 percent completion rate.
12. Austin Allen, Arkansas ⬆️
National ranking: No. 79. We’ve seen flashes of the “old” Allen over the past two weeks. He helped the Hogs put up 43 points in a loss to Texas A&M (but completed only 12 passes and threw a game-ending interception) and then averaged an excellent 10 yards per attempt against New Mexico State. He still hasn’t put together a great game (250-plus passing yards, 2-plus touchdowns, zero interceptions) since mid-November against Mississippi State.
13. Feleipe Franks, Florida
National ranking: No. 92. Franks’ ceiling is Florida’s ceiling. The Gators offense is back to square one after Luke Del Rio’s season-ending collarbone injury, and — based on the game plan when Franks was in the game vs. Vanderbilt — the UF coaching staff is still hesitant to let him fire away. Three weeks remain until a crucial SEC East showdown against Georgia in Jacksonville.
14. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama ⬆️
National ranking: No. 96. “The King of Garbage Time” struck again Saturday night, posting his second-highest score of the season (0.84) with two touchdowns against an overwhelmed Ole Miss defense. Tagovailoa has been the best backup quarterback in the country when it comes to meaningless situations, and — based on the way Alabama has been steamrolling teams — he’ll find his way onto the field again soon.
15. Quinten Dormady, Tennessee ⛔️
National ranking: No. 101. It doesn’t get much worse than Dormady’s stat line against No. 7 Georgia. He averaged 4 yards per passing attempt while tossing 2 interceptions and failing to produce points. It seems it won’t be long until the Jarrett Guarantano era begins.
16. Malik Willis, Auburn (0.62) ⬆️
17. Luke Del Rio, Florida (0.58)
18. Cole Kelley, Arkansas (0.39)
19. Keytaon Thompson, Mississippi State (0.38)
20. Myles Brennan, LSU (0.29) ⬆️
21. Malik Zaire, Florida (0.23)
22. Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee (0.21)
23. Jake Hubenak, Texas A&M (0.11)
24. Nick Starkel, Texas A&M (0.098)
25. Deuce Wallace, Vanderbilt (0.094)
26. Devin Adams, Auburn (0.01)
T-27. Jacob Eason, Georgia (0.007)
T-27. Shawn Stankavage, Vanderbilt (0.007)
29. Drew Barker, Kentucky (-0.03)
30. Brice Ramsey, Georgia (-0.33)
Top 10 single-game QB performances
|Nick Fitzgerald, MSU||vs. #12 LSU||23-180-2-0||14-88-2||21.24|
|Jalen Hurts, ALA||vs. #3 FSU||18-96-1-0||15-55-0||9.86|
|Jalen Hurts, ALA||vs. Col. St.||17-248-2-0||11-103-1||9.26|
|Shea Patterson, OLE||vs. So. Ala.||35-429-4-0||6-6-0||8.74|
|Jalen Hurts, ALA||vs. Ole Miss||19-197-2-0||10-101-1||7.68|
|Kyle Shurmur, VAN||vs. #18 KSU||23-205-1-0||2-0-1||6.76|
|Jake Fromm, UGA||vs. #17 MSU||12-201-2-0||1-0-0||6.59|
|Jarrett Stidham, AUB||vs. #24 MSU||16-264-2-0||4-(-12)-0||6.06|
|Nick Fitzgerald, MSU||@ La. Tech||18-124-3-1||10-111-2||4.91|
|Kellen Mond, TAMU||vs. Louisiana||34-301-3-1||7-4-1||4.24|
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