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Could Mitch Trubisky be the best quarterback in college football?

A statistical look to make the case for Mitch Trubisky as the best quarterback in college football

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Is Mitch Trubisky the best quarterback in college football? Of course not, right? ESPN and all other media outlets don’t really talk about him in the same breath as the other “elite quarterbacks” in college football. They don’t really talk about him at all actually. Most media outlets aren’t really saying he is a Heisman front-runner or one of the best signal callers in America, so he can’t be the best quarterback in all of college football, or can he be? Let’s put the hype of the media aside and really look at the numbers to make a case here.

There are many good quarterbacks in college football, but in the case for Trubisky, let’s look at the few that have been sanctified by the media. On ESPN’s Expert Heisman Poll list, three quarterbacks are listed in the top three spots. This list includes Lamar Jackson, Deshaun Watson, and Jake Browning.

Most people are going to say, “well that’s because all of those guys are on playoff contending teams.” This is true, and that is how the Heisman works. It usually goes to the best player in college football, but it oftentimes goes to the best player on the best team in college football. That is one of the reasons why the award has only gone to one player ever who played for a team with a losing record.

The Heisman trophy isn’t the end all be all award, but we need something to compare Trubisky to, so let’s use this award list as the measuring stick. Because of the factor that it doesn’t always go to the best player, let’s also throw in a few guys who are not Heisman contenders, but who people consider elite college quarterbacks. This list includes players like Deshone Kizer and Baker Mayfield. Let’s now take a closer statistical look at each of these elite quarterbacks compared to Mitch Trubisky.

1. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Lamar Jackson is one of the most exciting players to watch since Michael Vick. The guy is a video game and the sure Heisman front-runner. He is the first player in ACC history to run for 15 touchdowns and throw for 15 touchdowns, and he has at least 5 games left this year. There is no doubt Jackson is more dynamic, but is he a better quarterback?

Trubisky has more yards passing, a better completion percentage, and a better touchdown to interception ratio. Jackson obviously has more rushing touchdowns, but Trubisky does posses a higher passer rating. Is Lamar Jackson a more dynamic player? Definitely. A better quarterback? You can decide for yourself.

2. Deshaun Watson, Clemson

Everyone is still on the Deshaun Watson train. He is fun to watch and a dynamic playmaker. However, it really seems as though people are referencing and remembering his season from last year to make a point for how good he is this year. Deshuan was incredible last season, becoming the only player in college football history to throw for 4,000 yards and run for 1,000 yards in a season. That was last season, so what has he done this season, and how does it compare to Trubisky?

The stats say it all. Mitch has more passing yards, a better completion percentage, more total touchdowns, a better passer rating, and a better touchdown to interception ratio. The only knock I can see is that Watson has played better in bigger games, as he set a record for most total yards in the national championship game last year. That’s the thing though, that was last year. In his one big game this year, against Louisville, he did throw for 300-plus yards, but he also threw three big interceptions.

Trubisky, on the other hand, has seen success in big game situations this year. Against Pitt, according to David Hale of ESPN, “Trubisky completed three different throws on fourth-and-6 or longer, converting all for a first down. Over the past 10 years, only one other Power 5 quarterback has converted more fourth-down throws in the fourth quarter of a one possession game in an entire career.” This wasn’t the National Championship, but it was a must-win drive perfectly executed by arguably the nation’s best quarterback.

As for Watson, his numbers just aren’t what they were last season. Actually, Watson is performing better through seven games this season than his first seven games last season.

Based off the numbers, as of right now, there is no doubt that Mitch Trubisky is a better quarterback this year, and maybe last year, than Deshaun Watson.

3. Jake Browning, Washington

For those of you who don’t keep up with West Coast football, Browning is the quarterback for the Washington Huskies. Browning may be relatively unknown to most East Coasters, but his numbers are as good as anyone’s. How do they stack up against Trubisky?

Trubisky has a lot more passing yards, a better completion percentage, and the same amount of rushing touchdowns. The only things Browning bests Trubisky in is passing touchdowns and passer rating. Aside from that, it could be argued that Trubisky is better as a quarterback than Browning.

4. Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame

Putting Deshone Kizer on this list may shock or agitate some people. His numbers have not been outstanding this year, but some mock drafts still place him as the first quarterback selected in next year’s NFL Draft. He has to be included because of this, so how does his season stack up against Trubisky’s?

Trubisky bests Kizer in virtually every category aside from total rushing touchdowns. Kizer definitely has had a poor year, but everyone seems to argue that this is because his team isn’t giving him any help at all. This is further backed up by the fact that regardless of his current season, he is still a projected top five pick in the NFL draft. I understand why teams like Kizer. He can make virtually every throw and seems to really take command of the pocket. The same can be said about Trubisky, and the numbers don’t lie; Trubisky has outperformed him all season

5. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Baker Mayfield is another one of those dynamic quarterbacks that people love to watch. He has a Johnny Manziel feel to him. Let’s look at how he compares to Trubisky this year.

Mayfield’s numbers are incredibly similar to Trubisky’s, aside from passer rating, yards per attempt, and yards per game, which Mayfield leads him in. Trubisky, meanwhile, edges Mayfield in touchdown to interception ratio. This one may actually be the closest toss up in the group.

Mitch Trubisky is an elite college quarterback, and these are the stats to prove it. Despite playing in a hurricane this year where he threw 13 for 33 for 58 yards and 2 interceptions, he still has the numbers to compete as the best quarterback in the country. I am aware you can’t pull certain facts and numbers from information to make a point, but let’s look at Trubisky’s stats if we negate the game played in an actual hurricane. His numbers would look like this:

UNC fans know what he can do, but it is about time the rest of the country starts to take notice of what he has been able to accomplish this season.