I watch LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels play like a concerned parent. I'm convinced he's going to get himself killed out there one day. Throughout my football-watching life, I've heard announcers gush over running backs who seek contact instead of running out of bounds. The guys who don't take the easy way out but instead lower their shoulder into a tackler because they want the defender to know they're the one who should be scared.
Daniels has that same mentality, but nobody gets excited when he does it because he's a quarterback, and the quarterback is supposed to do everything in his power to avoid physical confrontation. Daniels does not subscribe to that theory, however.
I sometimes wonder if he throws himself in front of moving vehicles on campus during the week to feel alive.
LSU should get Jayden Daniels out of the game before he decides to dive on a live grenade for no reason.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) October 22, 2023
While it terrifies me, there's no doubting the results of his approach. Daniels is at the helm of one of the most potent offenses in the country, and his 3,094 total passing and rushing yards are not only the most in the nation by a QB, it's 515 more yards than the next guy (Michael Penix Jr.). If the season were to end right now, Daniels would garner plenty of Heisman votes despite the fact LSU has lost twice and is out of the College Football Playoff race. That's hard to do in the playoff era. What's not as hard to do is reach No. 1 in my QB Power Rankings, but I hope Daniels is proud of the accomplishment anyway.
I also hope he learns to slide one of these days.
Jayden Daniels LSU Tigers QB
|I'm pretty sure Daniels is the first player to climb to the No. 1 spot following a win over Army. He deserves to be here, but it's not just because he accounted for 285 total yards and four touchdowns in LSU's 62-0 win, though it didn't hurt. Daniels climbs to the top spot this week because of his performance all season long and because Michael Penix Jr. did not play well in Washington's win against Arizona State. (Last Week: 2)
J.J. McCarthy Michigan Wolverines QB
|While everybody else is talking about Michigan allegedly stealing signs this week, I'm over here talking about how much better McCarthy has gotten in 2023. I don't think signs have anything to do with that. I wrote this week about how Michigan is doing something with McCarthy that too few programs do with their QBs these days. Instead of working around his weaknesses, they're helping him improve them. You know, that thing often referred to as "developing." (3)
Dillon Gabriel Oklahoma Sooners QB
|Oklahoma following up a thrilling win over rival Texas with a home loss to UCF would've been a Very College Football Thing to happen, but the Sooners avoided the upset loss to remain undefeated. It certainly wasn't Gabriel's best game of the season, but he still finished with 275 total yards and three touchdowns. Now, the Sooners have two tough road games against Kansas and Oklahoma State. Gabriel and company will have to be better than they were against UCF. (4)
Michael Penix Jr. Washington Huskies QB
|As I watched Penix and the Huskies struggle to get past Arizona State 15-7 on Saturday, I couldn't help but wonder if Penix is dinged up a bit. While Penix certainly didn't look right, he still completed nearly two-thirds of his passes but had no touchdowns and two interceptions. Plus, he averaged only 7.7 air yards per attempt in the game after averaging 10.4 per attempt in Washington's first six games. (3)
Bo Nix Oregon Ducks QB
|This is where I remind you that losers walk in these rankings, which is why Nix wasn't ranked last week and Caleb Williams remains unranked. It doesn't matter if you play well in the loss or not, as Nix did in Oregon's loss to Washington. Unsurprisingly, Nix and the Ducks bounced back against Washington State. It was Nix's 54th career start, the most for any college QB in NCAA history. Nix didn't drop back to throw as often as most other QBs in the game, but his 11.72 yards per dropback were the second most on the weekend, trailing only Jayden Daniels' 16.41 (lol). (Not Ranked)
Jaxson Dart Ole Miss Rebels QB
|I owe Dart an apology. He deserved to be here a lot sooner than this, but I've probably been holding my feelings about Ole Miss against him. He doesn't deserve that. In my mind, Ole Miss is a 4-3 team with a 6-1 record. They're a team that routinely finds itself in close games that a team of their supposed caliber shouldn't be in close games against, but if you're going to play those types of games, it's nice to have a player like Dart around to make sure you come out on the right end of the result. Dart did just that with 246 total yards and three total TDs in Ole Miss' 28-21 win over Auburn. (NR)
Jordan Travis Florida State Seminoles QB
|I don't know which Jordan Travis I'm going to get from week to week. Is he going to drop back and throw nearly 40 times or is he going to scramble around like a madman? Neither one is a bad option, mind you; I'd just like to see a bit more consistency. We saw the best of both versions in the win over Duke. Travis was 27 of 36 for 268 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 10 times for 62 yards and another score. (8)
Jalen Milroe Alabama Crimson Tide QB
|Milroe doesn't usually put up gaudy passing numbers, but don't let the 220 yards against Tennessee fool you. It was one of his best performances of the year as he completed two-thirds of his 21 pass attempts for 10.5 yards per attempt. It was a much better performance than the one we saw in last week's win over Arkansas. Of course, the next time we see Milroe will be next week against the guy ranked No. 1 on this list. (NR)
Bryson Barnes Utah Utes QB
|Not too shabby for a pig farmer, eh? I don't know how many more times we're going to see Bryson Barnes in these rankings, but he has to be here after knocking off Caleb Williams and USC. Barnes accounted for 292 yards and four touchdowns in the win, averaging 10.2 yards per attempt. It was the best the Utah offense has looked all year, but it remains to be seen if that's a result of Barnes or USC's defense. (NR)
Thomas Castellanos Boston College Eagles QB
|If you don't know who Thomas Castellanos is yet, don't feel bad. It's not as if Boston College has had the kind of season to grab your attention. However, Castellanos has caught mine. Boston College has won three straight thanks primarily to his play. He's kind of like a Dollar Store Jayden Daniels, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. He threw for 255 yards and ran for another 128 yards in BC's 38-23 win over Georgia Tech. Castellanos is now up to 628 yards rushing and nine rushing touchdowns this year, both of which lead the nation amongst QBs. (NR)
Honorable Mention: Brady Cook, Missouri; Jordan McCloud, James Madison; Kyle McCord, Ohio State; Michael Pratt, Tulane; Kaidon Salter, Liberty
Serving Detention: Drake Maye, North Carolina; Shedeur Sanders, Colorado; Caleb Williams, USC