Quentin Dormady has been a below-average quarterback this season, and Tennessee has been a below-average SEC team. If we were to take a giant leap and say those things are directly related, it makes sense that the Vols have decided to bench Dormady and replace him with redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano.
The move is potentially valuable from a business angle — many have wondered how many Vols fans might bother to attend the game vs. South Carolina this weekend — and it checks out from a football standpoint, too. Dormady has been the most ineffective full-time starter in the conference, per our quarterback greatness metric, QBG. His output through 147 combined pass and rush attempts has failed to eclipse Alabama backup Tua Tagovailoa’s output through 36 attempts.
Guarantano might very well be the quarterback of the future in Knoxville. Standing 6-foot-4, he’s a 4-star recruit from Oradell, N.J., who has been coming up short of Dormady in the coaching staff’s eyes all year … until now.
Might we be watching the debut of the SEC’s newest superstar? After a ho-hum Week 6 from the conference’s quarterbacks, it’d be nice if the kid provided a shot in the arm.
To give you an idea of how our custom formula (QBG) works, here are the core factors:
- Passing yardage
- Rushing yardage/sack yardage
- Total points (touchdowns plus team conversions)
- Efficiency (output vs. above-average number of attempts)
- Strength of opponent
- Era (output pitted against contemporary stats)
Note: This is not a ranking of the “best” quarterbacks with the tightest spirals or the quickest decision-making abilities or the fastest 40 times. It’s about “greatness,” that all-important factor that — until now — was unquantifiable.
Here’s how the SEC QB rankings shake out entering Week 7 (key below):
⬆️⬆️⬆️ Major mover
⬆️ Notable mover
Consecutive great games
❄️ Consecutive disappointing games
⛔️ Negative score in most recent game
1. Jalen Hurts, Alabama
National ranking: No. 7. Alabama continues to roll through its opponents, and it’s still anyone’s guess which players will make the bulk of the big plays during a particular game. Hurts didn’t do much at Vanderbilt a few weeks ago, then destroyed Ole Miss before settling somewhere in the middle at Texas A&M. This Saturday, Arkansas comes to Tuscaloosa, which is a good sign for Hurts’ stat line; he posted 4 combined touchdowns against the Hogs last fall.
2. Nick Fitzgerald, Mississippi State ❄️
National ranking: No. 11. Fitzgerald is in desperate need of some breathing room. He’s been rendered effectively useless in two consecutive games vs. elite defenses — at Georgia and at Auburn — and MSU has not been able to settle into its run-heavy attack since a 30-point beatdown of LSU one month ago. BYU, Mississippi State’s opponent Saturday, might offer an opportunity for the Bulldogs to get comfortable again. The Cougars — anemic on offense, so-so on “D” — allowed 40 points in consecutive weeks to Wisconsin and Utah State before a 24-7 loss to Boise State last Friday.
3. Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt
National ranking: No. 29. Shurmur and the Commodores offense have struggled mightily over their past three games, losing pretty much all of the momentum they picked up during a 3-0 start. The junior quarterback continues to flash his potential, but he has not been able to transcend the lack of weapons around him. Funny, then, that he should head to Ole Miss this weekend to do battle with another quarterback — Shea Patterson — who has not quite been able to put his team on his back, either.
4. Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
National ranking: No. 39. Don’t put too much stock in Patterson’s stat line at Auburn. Most of it came after the Rebels had fallen behind by 32 points on the Plains. Ole Miss is clearly one of the SEC’s worst teams, but it has a chance to win some games over the next month. Visits from Vanderbilt, LSU and Arkansas await.
5. Jake Fromm, Georgia
National ranking: No. 45. Who is going to make the Bulldogs throw the ball? Fromm has completed fewer than 10 passes in four consecutive games — all of them blowouts — as Georgia’s rushing offense has continued to dominate. When he does throw, he makes the most of the opportunity; he’s thrown one touchdown per every 9.5 attempts.
6. Jarrett Stidham, Auburn
National ranking: No. 51. If this were a more traditional power ranking, you’d probably see Stidham at No. 2. He’s leading the SEC with a 71.2 completion percentage and has looked like the conference’s sturdiest passer since Auburn’s offensive meltdown at Clemson. If Stidham is to rise on this list, though, he needs to have more impact on the Tigers’ victories; right now, the team is winning games with excellent defense and running back Kerryon Johnson, who now has 10 rushing touchdowns in the past three games.
7. Drew Lock, Missouri ⬆️
National ranking: No. 53. Left for dead since early September, Missouri’s offense shocked everyone with an excellent final three quarters against Kentucky. Lock was — finally — keeping drives moving and connecting on passes down the field, and he finished with 355 yards and 4 total touchdowns. Unfortunately, a blatant officiating error kept the Tigers from a serious shot at winning in the final seconds.
8. Kellen Mond, Texas A&M
National ranking: No. 56. Viewers of the Alabama-Texas A&M game Saturday night saw shades of Johnny Manziel. Mond made a few impressive plays against the Crimson Tide’s über-athletic defensive front, including a 360-degree spin past Raekwon Davis that led to a bullet pass to Christian Kirk in the corner of the end zone. The true freshman appears to be primed for a breakout in the second half of the regular season.
9. Jake Bentley, South Carolina ⬆️
National ranking: No. 66. The Gamecocks got plenty of scoring help from their defense in a blowout win over Arkansas, obscuring the fact that the offense is still finding its way. Bentley needs to get his completion percentage up to keep South Carolina alive in the SEC East race. He found Hayden Hurst for a 62-yard score to open the second quarter but only managed 109 more yards through the air over the final 44 minutes.
10. Stephen Johnson, Kentucky
National ranking: No. 70. Johnson has been a solid signal caller for the Wildcats but has yet to really break out. He’s more than a game manager — his 64-yard touchdown strike put Kentucky ahead in the fourth quarter vs. Missouri — but definitely has the luxury of leaning on a strong rushing attack. He and the ‘Cats have a week off before traveling to Starkville.
11. Danny Etling, LSU
National ranking: No. 75. Apparently, a trip to the Swamp does wonders for a team on the brink of madness. Etling put forth a bare-minimum performance for the Tigers in a crucial 17-16 win over Florida, and LSU is suddenly thinking positive thoughts again. Up next: A visit from No. 10 Auburn.
12. Austin Allen, Arkansas
National ranking: No. 90. Bad Austin reared his ugly head again at South Carolina, throwing a pick-6 before leaving the blowout loss with a shoulder injury. He’s still not the same player who excited SEC audiences last season, and time might be running out; backup Cole Kelley threw for 140 yards in Allen’s stead.
13. Feleipe Franks, Florida ❄️
National ranking: No. 100. It’s not that Franks has been awful when given a chance to throw. He’s averaging 8.4 yards per attempt on the season and has only thrown 1 interception. But it’s what he can’t do that’s apparently a problem. Florida’s staff refuses to give him too much responsibility, and the offensive output is in bad shape as a result. The Gators are in big trouble if they’re forced into a shootout with Texas A&M this weekend.
14. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama
National ranking: No. 117. Everyone’s favorite Hawaiian southpaw sat out a close win against Texas A&M, but we’ll probably see more of him this weekend vs. Arkansas.
15. Quinten Dormady, Tennessee
National ranking: No. 121. Dormady is out of a starting job and is reportedly considering a transfer. Neither of those things should come as a surprise to those who have watched the Volunteers offense this fall.
16. Cole Kelley, Arkansas (0.81) ⬆️
17. Malik Willis, Auburn (0.62)
18. Luke Del Rio, Florida (0.58)
19. Keytaon Thompson, Mississippi State (0.38)
20. Myles Brennan, LSU (0.29)
21. Malik Zaire, Florida (0.23)
22. Jarrett Guarantano, Tennessee (0.21)
23. Jake Hubenak, Texas A&M (0.11)
24. Nick Starkel, Texas A&M (0.098)
25. Deuce Wallace, Vanderbilt (0.094)
26. Jacob Eason, Georgia (0.04)
27. Devin Adams, Auburn (0.01)
28. Shawn Stankavage, Vanderbilt (0.00)
29. Drew Barker, Kentucky (-0.03)
30. Brice Ramsey, Georgia (-0.33)
Top 10 greatest single-game QB performances
|1||Nick Fitzgerald, MSU||vs. #12 LSU||23-180-2-0||14-88-2||21.24|
|2||Jalen Hurts, ALA||vs. #3 FSU||18-96-1-0||15-55-0||9.86|
|3||Jalen Hurts, ALA||vs. Col. St.||17-248-2-0||11-103-1||9.26|
|4||Shea Patterson, OLE||vs. So. Ala.||35-429-4-0||6-6-0||8.74|
|5||Jalen Hurts, ALA||vs. Ole Miss||19-197-2-0||10-101-1||7.68|
|6||Kyle Shurmur, VAN||vs. #18 KSU||23-205-1-0||2-0-1||6.76|
|7||Jake Fromm, UGA||vs. #17 MSU||12-201-2-0||1-0-0||6.59|
|8||Jarrett Stidham, AUB||vs. #24 MSU||16-264-2-0||4-(-12)-0||6.06|
|9||Nick Fitzgerald, MSU||@ La. Tech||18-124-3-1||10-111-2||4.91|
|10||Kellen Mond, TAMU||vs. Louisiana||34-301-3-1||7-4-1||4.24|
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