If the Oregon Ducks win the national title, it will have to be with a first-year starter at quarterback.
While on the surface it seems a new starter would make things harder, fully eight of the last 10 teams to play in the national championship game featured a first-year quarterback, according to Athlon Sports.
It may not be an advantage to have a new starter, but it won’t necessarily hurt if the right man is playing the position.
Picking up on this, Athlon has chosen 10 teams it says could win it all with a new quarterback, a list that includes the Ducks:
10. Dakota Prukop/Travis Jonsen, Oregon
Even though Marcus Mariota was missed last season, the Ducks still led the Pac-12 in scoring offense (43 ppg) and yards per play (7.1). Eastern Washington graduate transfer Vernon Adams was a big reason for that success, and Oregon coach Mark Helfrich is hoping for a similar impact by another FCS transfer – Dakota Prukop. In three seasons at Montana State, Prukop accounted for over 7,000 yards of total offense and earned first-team All-America honors by the Associated Press in 2015. Prukop is a better runner than Adams but also completed 63.8 percent of his throws with the Bobcats. While Prukop has the edge in overall experience and certainly wasn’t brought in to sit on the sidelines, he is being pushed for time by redshirt freshman Travis Jonsen. Regardless of which quarterback starts, the offense is going to lean heavily on running back Royce Freeman, and there’s hope for improvement on defense with the addition of new play-caller Brady Hoke.
Vernon Adams played fantastic in his only season as a starter last year, and Prukop/Jonsen could be poised for similar success this time around.
The other nine teams on the list were UNC, Georgia, TCU, Stanford, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State and Alabama. Chances are pretty good at least one of those teams will make the College Football Playoff in 2016.