Nick Saban made me angry on Saturday, which I suppose is perfectly fair seeing how he gets angry with the media regularly, and turnabout is fair play. After No. 1 Alabama's 43-20 win over Arkansas in which his Heisman-winning quarterback missed over half the game with a shoulder injury, Saban displayed his usual gruffness after the game when immediately asked about Bryce Young.
On the one hand, I understood his point of view. His team had just won on the road by 23 points against a good team despite its starting QB getting hurt, and he wanted to gas the rest of the team up, as a good coach does. On the other hand, this is Bryce Young. He won the Heisman. He's a big deal. Of course people will want to know his status. The world is accustomed to seeing Alabama destroy SEC teams, but it's not as used to seeing a star player go down with a shoulder injury.
But that isn't what got my dander up. It was what he said when he finally did feel like addressing the injury. He said too much. Emphasis my own.
"We didn't think he could go back in the game today because I don't think he had much steam on throwing the ball," said Saban. "He's had these before, and in a few days, he starts to respond pretty well, so we'll just have to see how it goes and play it day-to-day."
Nick, your starting QB might be the No. 1 pick in the draft next spring. Even if he doesn't go No. 1 overall, he's in the running to be the first QB chosen. However, the NFL Draft process will pick him apart endlessly while looking for weaknesses. One of the biggest concerns about Young is his size and how his sleight frame will hold up at the next level. Fair or not, it's a question every NFL team evaluating him has.
So when he injures his shoulder on an ordinary play, and after the game you say, "he's had these before," you're not doing him any favors! Instead, say, "he's a little banged up, but he's tough as hell, so I don't think it'll be a long-term issue." Telling people "he's had these before" only ensures you'll be getting asked "how many times" by a lot of different people over the next few months, and who knows how that'll impact Young's draft stock?
It's already impacted his standing in my QB Power Rankings. Look what you've done, Nick!
C.J. Stroud Ohio State Buckeyes QB
|Stroud's performance in Ohio State's 49-10 win over Rutgers wasn't anything special. He threw for only 154 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, but I'm not holding it against him this week. With his team firmly in control of the game, it felt like Ohio State's offense was at half-speed. Stroud gets to face the Michigan State secondary this week, so he's more than likely going to bounce back in a big way, especially if Jaxon Smith-Njigba ever returns to the field. (Previous Ranking: 1)|
Drake Maye North Carolina Tar Heels QB
|I can't decide if playing on a team with a terrible defense is better for Maye or if it'll hold him back. On the one hand, he gets to put up monster numbers because his team is unlikely to blow out many opponents. On the other hand, QBs are so often linked to overall team success that he's not likely to garner much attention for individual awards if his team is losing games because the defense can't stop anybody. (3)|
Caleb Williams USC Trojans QB
|I wrote last week that Williams needed a big performance coming off two pedestrian games, or else he would slide down the rankings. He came through. Williams threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns in USC's 42-25 win over Arizona State. He also ran for 44 yards and another touchdown, so we'll look past the interception. After all, it was only his first of the season. (4)|
Hendon Hooker Tennessee Volunteers QB
|Hooker and the Vols were off last week, but he moved up two spots anyway due to the hype received following the Florida game. Yes, I've played a role in it, but I've seen a few Heisman straw polls with Hooker receiving first-place votes and finishing first overall. That kind of notoriety plays a part in these rankings. Hendon's got The Juice! (6)|
Bryce Young Alabama Crimson Tide QB
|I have to knock Young a little bit with the uncertainty surrounding his shoulder. The good news is that we saw the explosiveness in the Alabama passing game finally emerge before Young went down with the injury. He connected on three big shots on Alabama's first three series. If he returns to action this week and plays well, you should expect him to be back up in the top three, at a minimum, next week. If not? Well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. (2)|
Dorian Thompson-Robinson UCLA Bruins QB
|Did you see what DTR did to those poor Washington defenders? While that's only one play, it's also a perfect summation of what he did to the team over 60 minutes. DTR threw for 315 yards, rushed for 53 and accounted for four touchdowns in UCLA's 40-32 win over Washington. He's got the Bruins looking like legit contenders in the Pac-12, but the next couple of weeks are crucial. The Bruins get Utah at home this week before hitting the road to face Oregon the week after. (Not Ranked)|
Max Duggan TCU Horned Frogs QB
|Did you know Max Duggan leads the nation in passing efficiency? While he doesn't throw nearly as many passes as QBs in other offenses, Duggan's 202.18 rating leads the pack as he's completing nearly 75% of his passes for 10.6 yards a pop. He's thrown 11 touchdowns without an interception, and he's also rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He's at the helm of one of the best offenses in the country right now, and he's a big reason TCU smoked Oklahoma and is looking like a real threat to win the Big 12. (NR)|
Jalon Daniels Kansas Jayhawks QB
|Daniels entered the power rankings last week and proceeded to have his worst game of the season, by far. He threw for only 93 yards without a touchdown against Iowa State and completed only seven of his 14 pass attempts. He wasn't more effective on the ground, rushing for only 9 yards, but he did have a rushing touchdown. I'm giving him a one-week pass based on how he played in the first four games of the season. Plus, you know, Kansas won the game anyway. That's usually a good sign for a team when they can win games despite their star QB having an awful day. (7)|
Grayson McCall Coastal Carolina Chanticleers QB
|Nothing McCall has done on the field is causing him to slide here. He's still the same excellent QB he's been the last few years, doing cool stuff and leading his team to victory. The problem is that Coastal hasn't faced the sturdiest competition yet. Keep in mind I say that grading on a "Sun Belt" curve of sorts. The Chanticleers' biggest games of the year will come against Appalachian State and James Madison, but neither of them are on the schedule before November. Buzz plays as prominent a role here as performance, and Coastal isn't generating enough buzz at the moment. (5)|
DJ Uiagalelei Clemson Tigers QB
|Uiagalelei has not been one of the 10-best QBs in the country this season, but he's in our power rankings this week because the Tigers picked up big wins over Wake Forest and NC State, consecutively. Clemson looks like a legitimate playoff team, and DJU is a big factor behind the resurgence. Uiagelelei is completing 65.4% of his passes for 7.8 yards per attempt with 11 touchdowns and an interception. He's rushed for 242 yards and three more touchdowns. A week after picking apart Wake Forest, he was an absolute monster against NC State. He may not be living up to the hype of being the heir apparent to Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson, but he's made tremendous strides from last season and deserves to be recognized. The DJU we're seeing this season is a DJU that can lead Clemson to an ACC title and playoff berth. What else can you reasonably ask of him? (NR)|
No Longer Ranked: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma; Todd Centeio, James Madison; Tanner Morgan, Minnesota
You're Almost There: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma; Todd Centeio, James Madison; Sam Hartman, Wake Forest; Jaren Hall, BYU; Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland; Garrett Shrader, Syracuse