On Saturday, PFF’s Jordan Plocher opined something most, if not all, WSU fans likely take for granted: that Falk is one of the nation’s top quarterbacks and capable of leading the Cougars to the Pac-12 title this season.
Among Plocher's arguments:
Falk’s 78.7 adjusted completion percentage ranks No. 1 among all returning FBS quarterbacks (447 completions + 42 drops) / (649 attempts – 14 throw aways – 3 spikes – 2 batted passes – 9 hit as thrown) = 78.7.
On longer developing pass plays where the throw occurs at 2.6 seconds or more, Falk’s 63.7 completion percentage ranks No.2 among all returning FBS quarterbacks after only Mississippi’s Chad Kelly.
No returning FBS quarterback was as cool under pressure as Luke Falk was last season. Falk completed 50 of 99 passes under pressure in 2015 with six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Falk’s 49.2 percent deep-passing accuracy ranks No.7 among returning FBS quarterbacks.
He didn’t even mention that Falk led the nation in passing yards per game last season, 380.5 to No. 2 Jared Goff’s 363.
“Falk’s accuracy, poise under pressure, big-game performance, and a pass-happy offense will see him as one of the top-10 quarterbacks in FBS in 2016,” Plocher concludes in his story.
He makes a persuasive and straight-forward case for the fourth-year junior to be considered among the national elite.
But apparently Plocher’s colleagues at PFF don’t read his stuff.
Because Monday — just two days after the case for Falk was made — PFF’s Steve Palazzolo came out with the list of the 101 best players in college football. And Falk wasn’t among them (and neither was Gabe Marks).
Eleven quarterbacks were on the list of 101, including two guys from the Pac-12 who Falk beat out last season for first-team all-conference honors. Granted, Plocher couched his article by proclaiming Falk one of the top 10 QBs in the nation, so falling outside the top 11 may not seem far off, but the reality is that on this list of QBs in PFF's 101, it's hard to see more than the first two ahead of Falk ...
- Deshaun Watson, Clemson (6th)
- Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (8th)
- Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State (18th)
- Greg Ward, Houston (44th)
- Chad Kelley, Mississippi (53rd)
- Nick Mullens, Southern Miss (55th)
- Seth Russell, Baylor (67th)
- Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati (73rd)
- Josh Rosen, UCLA (74th)
- Jake Browning, UW (81st)
- Brad Kaaya, Miami (87th)
Browning is the most glaringly oversold name on that list and PFF even points out that Rosen put up abysmal numbers last season when passing under pressure, but truly after Watson and Mayfield it's hard to see why any are above Falk. Heck, Falk was one of the handful of names the Associated Press ID’d last December in its outlook for 2016 Heisman contenders.
Perhaps the opening line of Plocher’s ode to Falk was the most accurate in his entire story: “While quarterbacks elsewhere in the country get most of the press, Washington State’s Luke Falk is quickly and quietly building an impressive resume in the northwest.”
NOTABLE UPDATE: About 10 hours after this story was published, Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo tweeted to us that Falk should have indeed been on his list, that it "was an honest mistake, I thought I had him in there."