By Devon Black
After BYU”s win over Air Force two weeks ago, the words “John Beck” and “Heisman Trophy” were mentioned together for the first time in the national media.
ESPN publishes a weekly Heisman watch list, voted on by a panel of “experts”. After beating the Falcons, John Beck received one vote and joined the likes of Troy Smith and Brady Quinn on the nation”s radar.
The expertise of an ESPN panel can be debated (third on the list is a sophomore running back from Rutgers), but statistical comparisons show that John Beck has a rightful claim to his spot on the watch list.
The top five quarterbacks mentioned by ESPN are front-runner Troy Smith from Ohio State, second-mention Brady Quinn from Notre Dame, Texas” Colt McCoy, Hawaii”s Colt Brennan, and Chad Henne from Michigan.
The only quarterback on that list that is outperforming Beck in the major statistical categories is Brennan.
Beck is better than all of the other four in completion percentage and passing yards per game. His pass efficiency rating is ahead of Smith, Quinn and Henne.
Sore ankles notwithstanding, Beck has been sacked just 10 times in 2006. That”s fewer than any of the five top quarterback prospects. Quinn has been sacked the most out of that group. The Irish have seen their quarterback brought down 24 times this year.
Beck has thrown four interceptions, which is second only to Smith.
In head-to-head comparisons, Beck”s worst showing is in touchdown passes. He”s second-to-last, only beating out Henne.
All of these stats come with one additional caveat, however. Beck is the only one of the group that missed a game this season, sitting out the contest against Utah State.
For most of the Cougars, the numbers come as no surprise. They”ve been saying all along Beck deserves mention among the best quarterbacks in the nation.
“If you were to put John Beck on the field today compared to how he was three years ago, it”s been an amazing transformation,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “It”s come step-by-step. He”s remained hard-fought and he”s remained diligent.”
Beck will not win the Heisman Trophy in 2006. It would be surprising if he even finished in the top 5. But statistically speaking, ESPN may have gotten this one right.
The Cougars” quarterback definitely deserves a glance along with the nation”s best under center.
John Beck (BYU)
|Troy Smith (OSU)||158-237-3||22||2,006||165.87||200.6|
|Brady Quinn (ND)||216-338-4||25||2,579||150.04||286.6|
Colt McCoy (TEX)
Colt Brennan (HAW)
Chad Henne (MICH)