Quarterback Motherlode: Up to the present the greatest year for college quarterbacks was probably 1982. That season's class fed John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O'Brien and Dan Marino to the NFL, and professional franchises snapped up all six of those signal callers in the first round of the 1983 draft. Elway, Marino and Kelly have busts in Canton, while O'Brien was a Pro Bowler.
I'll make no such claims for the 2011 crop of quarterbacks, but this is still one hell of a group. Here are some of the guys we get to watch this season: Case Keenum, Brandon Weeden, Nick Foles, Landry Jones, Darron Thomas, Robert Griffin III, Kellen Moore, Andrew Luck and Denard Robinson. I'm no Mel Kiper, but I could see all nine of those players being taken in the first round. But even if they aren't, they sure do make college football fun to watch.
Turning the Page on Turner: Kansas Jayhawks head coach Turner Gill is beginning to look like a nicer version of Mike Locksley. After taking over a program that went to a BCS bowl under Mike Mangino, Gill has overseen the Jayhawks' speedy descent into college football's pit of despair. In a season and a half in Lawrence, Gill has put together a 5-12 record, which is not criminally bad, but three of those wins have come against New Mexico State, McNeese State and Northern Illinois. Gill has won only one Big 12 game—against Colorado in 2010—and unless Kansas can spring an upset at Iowa State, he won't win any in 2011.
Moreover, the losses just keep getting uglier. The Jayhawks gave up 66 points to Georgia Tech a couple of weeks ago, and surrendered 70 to Oklahoma State last weekend. The score of that one was 56-7 at halftime; the Cowboys could very easily have hung triple digits on the Jayhawks if they really wanted to. That sort of humiliation is supposed to happen to SMU after coming off the Death Penalty, or Sacred Heart when they play LSU. It's not supposed to happen to a Big 12 team.
Most athletic directors don't have a quick trigger finger when it comes to firing head coaches, but one wonders if Turner Gill can survive this train wreck.
Gruesome Twosome: Surely no team in America has two players who's fortunes have plummeted as precipitously as Missouri's Grant Ressel and Michael Egnew. Ressel was a first team All America kicker in 2009 and a Lou Grosza Award semifinalist a year ago. This year he's a paltry 7-13 with a long of just 47 yards. Ressel has gotten worse as the season has progressed and may actually lose his starting job. From All American to gathering splinters; MC Hammer should have it so good.
Egnew's decline has not been quite as dramatic, but it's still been pretty stark. The former Plainview Bulldog was a consensus first team All American last year and Mizzou's MVP after catching 90 balls for 762 yards and five touchdowns. Five games into 2010 he has only 15 grabs and one touchdown. This is what can happen when a listless neophyte takes over at quarterback for a guy who's selected in the first round of the NFL draft.