College Football Quarterback Battles: Playoff Contenders With Uncertainty Under Center
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A majority of college football's contenders feature elite quarterbacks with secure jobs.
Blue-chip prospects like Spencer Rattler (Oklahoma), Bryce Young (Alabama), and DJ Uiagalelei (Clemson) were all no-brainers to start for their respective programs entering the fall, but a handful of schools in the mix are still undecided.
Let's dive into which programs are still dealing with quarterback battles mere days out from the 2021 college football regular season.
Odds are courtesy of FanDuel.
Win total: 11.5
Title odds: (+600)
All signs point to C.J. Stroud, who owns the fifth-shortest odds in the country in our latest Heisman tracker. Stroud was regarded as the fourth-best prospect in California out of the 2020 cycle, per 247.
He'll have to fend off fellow freshmen Jack Miller (+4000 Heisman odds) and Kyle McCord, as well as top-flight 2022 prospect Quinn Ewers, who entered the fray after recently reclassifying.
Our own Collin Wilson currently slots the Buckeyes No. 3 nationally in his power ratings behind Alabama and Clemson.
Win total: 9.5
Title odds: +4000
The Kellen Mond era is finally over in College Station. It'll be either redshirt freshman Haynes King or sophomore Zach Calzada taking the reins for the Aggies this season.
Calzada earned the majority of second-string reps in 2019; however, King, the No. 5 dual-threat prospect out of the 2020 class, was the only backup to play behind Mond last fall.
Whichever quarterback gets the nod's in good shape, because the cupboard's still stocked from a year ago.
Texas A&M returns its top-eight pass-catchers, including receiver Ainias Smith (43 catches, 564 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games last year) and tight end Jalen Wydermeyer (46-506-6 in 10).
It could be a huge year for the Aggies, who clock in at No. 6 in our own Brett McMurphy's Top 25 ballot.
Win total: 8
Title odds: +8000
Texas closed the curtain on the 2020 season in flying colors, ripping up Colorado behind quarterback Casey Thompson's banner night.
🚨 BIG HEISMAN TROPHY BET
One bettor @WilliamHillUS bet $3,000 on Texas QB Casey Thompson (100/1) to win the 2021 Heisman Trophy for a potential payout of $303,000 🤯
Thompson's odds have shifted to 20/1…pic.twitter.com/JjJiT0AunO
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) June 8, 2021
Thompson finished the campaign with serious momentum and peaked at 20-1 in the 2021 Heisman market.
However, his job's far from locked up.
Hudson Card was the second-best dual-threat QB in the 2020 class and ranked No. 59 in the entire nation, 132 spots higher than Thompson's rank in the 2018 cycle.
First-year Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian has a tough call right off the bat.
Win total: 9.5
Title odds: +15000
On the subject of Texas, transfer Cameron Rising is attempting to nab his second straight Week 1 start with the Utes. He led the offense out of the gates last season before sustaining a season-ending injury just 14 plays into the season.
Look for veteran and fellow transfer Charlie Brewer to win the job.
Brewer comes to Salt Lake City from Baylor, where he amassed 9,700 passing yards and 87 total touchdowns across 44 games.
He and Utah will look to get head coach Kyle Whittingham his first Pac-12 title.
Whittingham, who's entering Year 11 at the post, has recorded at least nine wins in four of the previous five full campaigns.