The Replacements: 2010 Edition
by Nick Parsons
This article was written by Nick Parsons' intern Myles Valentin
In 2009 Alabama QB Greg McElroy and USCís Matt Barkley, both shared the tough task of replacing elite level college quarterbacks. Trojan Mark Sanchez left early for the NFL, while John Parker Wilson graduated with almost every Crimson Tide passing record.
Last year however, saw both teams head in different directions. McElroy led the Crimson Tide to an undefeated National Championship season and kept backers happy by going 9-4 ATS, while the Trojans struggled, finishing 5th in the PAC 10 and becoming one of the best fades by only covering the spread four times in thirteen games.
Hereís a quick look at QBs in similar situations this year:
Garrett Gilbert SO, Texas
Last year, Gilbert who had only played in garbage time during blowouts, was put into the spotlight when Colt McCoy went down with a shoulder injury at the start of the National Championship game. That task seemed a bit much for the true freshman as he went 15-40 for 186 yards and threw four interceptions in their lost to Alabama.
The transition as starter should be a bit easier this year opening against Rice and Wyoming. However despite the fact that Gilbert is replacing a QB who went 45-8, do not expect to find any value here. Texas is Texas, and much is expected of Austin native Gilbert who ESPN claimed would win a Heisman before his senior year. The year that McCoy had to replace Vince Young, the Longhorns were listed as double digit favorites 8 times and Texas went just 5-7 ATS.
John Brantley JR, Florida
Annoying or savior? Regardless of your opinion of Tim Tebow as a person, no one denies that he was one of the greatest college football QBs of all time. In to replace him is 4th year junior John Brantley who originally committed to Texas back in 2007.
Do not expect the same type of rushing numbers in previous years as he does not have the same mobility as Tebow, but the former H.S. All American QB is said to have a better arm. Urban Meyer will only have to make slight adjustments as Brantley has been studying the offense for the last three years.
One key element to look for is how well Brantley will lead his team, as he himself even claims to be a bit more timid compared to Tebow, ďItís going to be a little different because Iím not as vocal as Tim. Iím not as loud. Iím a real quiet guy."
It helps that key players Jeff Demps and Deonte Thompson will be returning on offense, but just like Texas do not expect any value in the lines. There wonít be as many 30 point spreads to cover like last year, but as always expect oddsmakers to put out sharp lines for major programs that are of course always vulnerable to backdoor covers in garbage time.
Dayne Crist SO, Notre Dame
In the long and storied history of the Catholic institution, it is doubtful that one will find a more suiting name for a QB than Dayne Crist. Fortunately the expectations wonít really be as high and bettors could find some value here.
Jimmy Clausen threw for 8,148 yards in his three years at Notre Dame but the team went 16-21 straight up (and against the spread as well). Crist, who was the 5th rated QB out of high school, hopes to turn things around and there a couple things working in his favor.
Firstly, Brian Kelly comes in from Cincinnati with a new offensive philosophy and more important, a winning resume at the college level. Second is the fact that Crist will be surrounded by talent. The Charlie Weiss era is no doubt seen as a failure, but during each of the last four years he has brought in a top 10 recruiting class. The 2008 batch of commitments was considered by some to be the #1 class of that year and most of them enter 2010 as juniors.
And lastly one of the most important factors is the fact that there is not one single program that is more hated than Notre Dame. Oddsmakers know that despite their big fan base, there are just as many people betting against Notre Dame simply because they hate the program. Combine this with the losing perception that the program has had over the last couple of years and we could have ourselves one of the best bets of 2010.
Kyle Smith FR or Ryan Radcliff SO, Central Michigan
Last year Central Michigan was one of the best bets in college football going 12-2 overall and 9-3-1 ATS. This year they are picked to finish in the bottom of the MAC and rightfully so with Dan LeFevour and his 12,905 passing yards departing.
Itís not just that they covered the spread last year, itís how they did it. In their nine ATS wins, they beat the line by an average of 10.1 points. And unlike the teams mentioned above, there are many more holes to fill. The top two leading receivers from last year depart and so does head coach Butch Jones (who takes over Brian Kellyís spot in Cincinnati).
Ryan Radcliff is penciled in as starter, but he could be pushed by true Freshman Kyle Smith, who is a bit more mobile and runs a 4.6 40. First year head coach Dan Enos even expresses a bit of doubt about the situation at QB, ďIf Ryan Radcliff is our quarterback; I wouldn't say he will kill us running and we will run him some, but we will keep him more in the pocket. It will constantly be evolving each season.Ē
Regardless of who is at QB, expect the Chippewas to focus more on the ground game and also do not expect them to be a solid bet either, even they will be double digit underdogs in a couple of games.. When MAC rivals Miami had to replace Casanova Ben Roethlisberger (who fostered a 13-1 SU & 10-4 ATS record in 2003), the team struggled out of the gates going 2-4 ATS to start the 2004 campaign.
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