1. Arizona State

Andrew Walter (3877, 28 TDs) may not have started 2002 as the Sun Devil's number one guy, but he has left little doubt as to who will be the starter for 2003. After throwing for 3877 yards and 28 touchdowns in just 10 starts, Walter looks to improve on those gaudy numbers. The Sun Devil's offense will squarely rest on his shoulders. Backup Chad Christensen (24-for-60, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) started Arizona State's first 4 games last season.

Why #1? - Andrew Walter might be the best Quarterback in the nation with an experienced backup.

2. Georgia

A big reason behind the last year's 13-1 season had to do with the play of All-American quarterback David Greene (58% comp, 22TDs, 8 INTs). Also, at the Bulldogs' espousal is the multidimensional D.J. Shockley (61%, 5 TDs - 2 rushing TDs). Despite last year's ankle injury, Shockley saw action in 10 games.

Why #2 - Last year's quarterback carousel may have cost Georgia its only loss, and unless Coach Richt has good reason to insert DJ Shockley, any change could hurt as much as it helps.

3. Purdue

The Boilermaker's 1-2 punch at Quarterback might also be the most competitive in the country. Half of the reason is due to the steady play of projected starter Kyle Orton (2257, 12 TDs). Orton capped off a decent 2002 season with an impressive performance in the Sun Bowl. Competing with Orton for the starting job is Brandon Kirsch. The more athletic Kirsch (1067 passing yards) rushed for 423 yards on 72 carries - making him a great change of pace for Joe Tiller if need be.

Why #3 - The Boilermakers might be the only team who would suffer virtually no drop off from one quarterback to the next.

4. Fresno State

After a very successful freshman campaign, Paul Pinegar returns for his 2nd season as not only the starter for the Bulldogs but also as one of the top young Quarterbacks in the entire country. In his freshman season Pinegar threw for 2929 yards and 20 touchdowns while leading the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record under his watch. Providing depth will be last years opening day starter Jeff Grady. Grady has 2 starts under his belt from last year before making way to Pinegar as the full-time starter.

Why #4? - While Jeff Grady might not have wowed anyone with his performance last year, experience is never taken for granted especially if one of the more promising young quarterbacks (Pinagar) goes down with injury.

5. Texas A&M

The Quarterback battle may go well into August, but no matter whom the Aggies go with there will be good talent on the bench as well as the field. The versatile and explosive Reggie McNeal possesses the most potential of the two. He is most remembered for single-handedly slicing and dicing his way through the vaunted Oklahoma defense to the tune of 30 points, 86 rushing yards, 190 passing yards and four touchdown passes. Dustin Long (2500, 19 TDs) on the other hand carries more experience, and, though not as athletic, still gets the job done as a more traditional drop-back quarterback.

Why #5? - If Reggie McNeal does eventually start, then it will only be a matter of time before he performs up to his lofty expectations while Dustin Long is to be considered one of the best backups in college football.


Just Missed: Washington

Arguably the best quarterback in the country - Cody Pickett alone would be enough to consider Washington as one of the best QB units. Backup Corey Paus looks like a future star, but will be lacking the same high level needed just in case Pickett has to miss any time.

Could be there: Miami

Brock Berlin looks like he has the edge on Derrick Crudup for the starting job at Miami. Regardless, either would be considered one of the top backups in the country while the other will have future NFL talent to give the ball (or vice versa). With a month or two of experience, the Canes could easily penetrate and have one of the better quarterback units in the country.