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Bottom 11: Starting Quarterbacks Edition (AKA an excuse to mock Jake Browning)

Washington v UCLA Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images


We all know Oregon has the best fans, atmosphere and mascot, so in this weekly article we rank the other PAC-12 schools. Think of it like a power ranking, but incredibly biased and fueled by pettiness, insecurity, hate and fear.

This week, we’ll focus on starting quarterbacks! And since the Ducks are led by Justin Herbert, the best quarterback in the PAC-12 and our very own hometown hero, let’s rank the rest of the PAC.

Rest assured, the huskies will always be ranked at the bottom of the bottom.

No. 12 - washington huskies (5-1, 3-0)

Auburn v Washington Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images


RESULT: Win, 31-24

The huskies may be the favorites to win the PAC-12, but their opponents can at least take comfort in the fact that Jake Browning is still washington’s starting quarterback. Sure, the senior has thrown for a respectable nine touchdowns and 1,508 yards on the season, but he’s also thrown five interceptions (the same amount as Herbert, but who’s counting) and has the same amount of arm strength as last year. And every time Browning scrambles, he appears to become a freshman again.

NEXT UP: @ the one and only Oregon Ducks!


Oregon v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

OPPONENT: @ Arizona

RESULT: Loss, 24-17

We’ve all heard the expression ‘if you have two quarterbacks, you actually have none’, but what do you have when you’ve got three quarterbacks that have all been deemed ineffective? You have the Golden Bears.

Many were shocked when redshirt junior Ross Bowers lost the starting role after a single pedestrian performance against UNC. Redshirt freshman Chase Garbers took the majority of snaps against BYU and Idaho State, but redshirt sophomore Brandon McIlwain began to showcase his talents in the run game (and lack thereof in the passing game) during Oregon’s big win in Berkeley.

McIlwain’s running ability apparently won Justin Wilcox over as last week’s game was the first California game this season to feature a single quarterback. Despite racking up 422 yards of total offense (107 rushing, 315 passing) and two rushing touchdowns, McIlwain turned in an abysmal performance- throwing three interceptions, two pick sixes and fumbling the ball away at a crucial moment in the fourth quarter.


No. 10 - USC TROJANS (3-2, 2-1)

USC v Arizona Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images



The Trojans had a week off which hopefully gave J.T. Daniels some much needed practice time. Clay Helton is asking a lot from his highly rated true-freshman, and so far, the workload appears to be too much for the kid. He’s throwing a shade under 60% (the lowest completion percentage out of all the regular PAC-12 starters), and has only four touchdowns compared to his three interceptions.

Daniels could certainly develop into a great QB, but Helton may not be around when that happens.

NEXT UP: #19 Colorado Buffaloes

No. 9 - ARIZONA WILDCATS (3-3, 2-1)

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

OPPONENT: Home against Cal

RESULT: Win, 28-21

One of the biggest surprises in the PAC-12 this year has to be the decline of Khalil Tate. Sure, he’s almost surpassed his total passing yards of 2017, but Tate should no longer be considered a dual threat. Whether it’s due to an undisclosed injury or a schematic choice to turn Tate into a pocket passer, his 109 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries in six games is startling when you compare them to last year’s season rushing stats- 1411 yards on 153 carries and 12 touchdowns.

Is there any chance Tate rides the bench after an offseason of gargantuan hype?

NEXT UP: @ Utah Utes

No. 8 - UCLA BRUINS (0-5, 0-2)

NCAA Football: Washington at UCLA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

OPPONENT: Home against washington huskies

RESULT: Loss, 31-24

After the injuries to Wilton Speight, freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson has shown glimpses of game-changing ability, but there are far too many weaknesses in each Bruin unit. DTR had an impressive showing against arguably his toughest challenge, the huskies defense. If he can channel last week’s performance, a performance in which he amassed 272 yards, two touchdowns and only one interception, perhaps he can lead his team to their first win under Chip Kelly.

NEXT UP: @ California Golden Bears


Arizona State v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

OPPONENT: @ Colorado

RESULT: Loss, 24-17

The Devils’ dynamic duo, Manny Wilkins and N’Keal Harry, were both shaken up in last week’s PAC-12 South matchup. Arizona State’s offense rely heavily on Wilkins’ leadership and Harry’s elite talent. Even if both are ready to go in two weeks versus Stanford, Wilkins will need to improve on his accuracy, as well as his long ball, if the Sun Devils plan on playing in a bowl game.


No. 6 - OREGON STATE BEAVERS (1-5, 0-3)

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

OPPONENT: Home against Washington State

RESULT: Loss, 56-37

The Beavers may not be able to stop anybody from running up the score, but at least their offense is getting in a lot of reps. Conor Blount and the Oregon State offense are averaging 31.5 points per game! Unfortunately for the Beavers, that doesn’t matter much when you give up 47. In only his sophomore season, Blount has shown the type of consistency (1017 yards, 65.6% completion percentage, 7 TDS - 1 INT) that Jonathan Smith can build on.


No. 5 - UTAH UTES (3-2, 1-2)

Utah v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

OPPONENT: @ Stanford

RESULT: Win, 40-21

Tyler Huntley just turned in one of the best performances of his career. Against the then-no. 14 Stanford Cardinal, Huntley threw for 17/21, 199 yards in the air and a touchdown. While it’s true that Stanford’s defense has taken a step back from years past, this is a good step for the Utes. The South is wide open, and if Huntley can get this offense rolling they should have the defense to challenge for a spot in the championship game.

NEXT UP: Home against the Arizona Wildcats

No. 4 - STANFORD CARDINAL (4-2, 2-1)

Utah v Stanford Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

OPPONENT: Home against Utah Utes

RESULT: Loss, 40-21

The Cardinal are no longer a top ten team after back-to-back (and what should have been to-back) losses. Junior K.J. Costello has been mostly impressive, though his 6 interceptions leads the PAC-12. Still, Costello has thrown for 1611 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Perhaps the bigger problem is Stanford’s offensive line; the unit has performed well below their lofty expectations, failing to establish a consistent run game despite having Bryce Love in the backfield, and also failing to protect their QB who has been sacked 14 times this season.



Utah v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

OPPONENT: @ Oregon State Beavers

RESULT: Win, 56-37

We all know that the Cougars’ passing numbers can be a little misleading, as Mike Leach’s air raid offense focuses almost entirely on the pass. However, in his first season at Wazzu, Gardner Minshew has transitioned seamlessly into the starting quarterback role. He’s thrown 68%, 2422 yards, and 19 touchdowns to four interceptions. While the Ducks play the huskies this Saturday, Minshew will be watching and waiting to terrorize Oregon’s secondary the following week coming off a bye.

NEXT UP: BYE Week before they play the one and only Oregon Ducks

No. 2 - COLORADO BUFFALOES (5-0, 2-0)

UCLA v Colorado Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

OPPONENT: Home against Arizona State

RESULT: Win, 28-21

As Duck fans, we all remember when Steven Montez first made a name for himself in 2016. Though few believed the Buffaloes would be a serious contender for the PAC-12 South, they now remain the only undefeated team in the conference thanks to the stellar play of their junior quarterback (1420 yards, 11 TD-2 INT, 75% completion rate).

Last week’s battle against ASU showcased two of the best QB-receiver combos in the conference: Manny Wilkins & N’Keal Harry vs Steven Montez & Laviska Shenault Jr. Unfortunately, Harry missed much of the game due to injury, but that shouldn’t take away from what Montez was able to do with his star receiver; the duo connected 13 times for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the air.

NEXT UP: @ USC Trojans