graphic-qbprcaleb14.png
CBS Sports Graphic

Have you ever shared a spur-of-the-moment hot take based on little evidence that you wholeheartedly believed and only proceeded to dig in? Then, did you watch that opinion turn out to be a billion percent accurate? I have.

It was last offseason, just before the 2021 season began. I was on the Cover 3 Podcast saying Caleb Williams should start for Oklahoma ahead of Spencer Rattler because he was the better player. The opinion was not formed without data, but it didn't have much; I had seen Williams play in the Oklahoma spring game and highlights from recruiting camps. Toss in some information from recruiting analysts, and I was sold. It didn't hurt that after seeing an entire season of Rattler with the Sooners, I wasn't sold, either.

It became something of a running gag on the podcast. While my opinion was always sincere, I brought it up more often than I had to until Williams eventually took the job from Rattler. He wasn't perfect, but I still loved him. Then, Lincoln Riley left for USC, Williams went with him, and here we are. Williams enters conference championship week as the Heisman favorite, and more importantly, he's climbed to No. 1 in the QB Power Rankings this week.

You can have it all, kids. I would know.

QB Power Rankings
1
Caleb Williams USC Trojans QB
I already said it in The Monday After, but I've never been shy about repeating myself. Many quarterbacks have been compared to Patrick Mahomes the last few years, but Williams is the first I've seen who truly reminds me of Mahomes in nearly every facet. Watch the highlights against Notre Dame and see for yourself if you don't believe me. (Last Week: 2)
2
Max Duggan TCU Horned Frogs QB
Duggan finally got to take it easy for a week! The Horned Frogs blew Iowa State out as Duggan threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns while tying a season-low in carries (3). The Frogs have likely wrapped up a College Football Playoff berth no matter what happens against Kansas State, but Duggan could earn a trip to New York if he plays well enough in a win. (4)
3
Jordan Travis Florida State Seminoles QB
The first time I saw Jordan Travis play for Florida State, I won't lie, my impression was that this guy would be fun at a Group of Five school but would have a hard time cutting it at a Power Five school. I'll happily take that L because Travis has done nothing but get better, and he's one of the most entertaining guys to watch every week. (8)
4
J.J. McCarthy Michigan Wolverines QB
Way to make an entrance, J.J. McCarthy! The Ohio State defense dared McCarthy to beat them on Saturday, and he stepped up to the challenge. He threw haymaker after haymaker, and enough landed to lead Michigan to a 22-point win over their hated rivals while wrapping up a Big Ten Championship Game berth and a playoff spot. McCarthy finished with 263 yards passing, 27 rushing and four total touchdowns. (Not Ranked)
5
C.J. Stroud Ohio State Buckeyes QB
I've already seen too many people start to push the idea that Stroud isn't as good as we thought because he's failed to beat Michigan the last two seasons, but it's not as if Stroud had a terrible performance. He threw for 349 yards and two touchdowns. He had two interceptions, one of which was unnecessary while the second was last-minute desperation. He lost the Heisman, his shot at a national title and the No. 1 spot in these rankings, but anybody who wants to pretend he isn't one of the best in the country is living in a fantasy world. (1)
6
Bryce Young Alabama Crimson Tide QB
I loved what I saw from Young in the Iron Bowl -- not just the 343 yards, three touchdowns and 11.43 yards per attempt, but the 10.67 air yards per attempt. He's getting healthier as he recovers from the shoulder injury, and now we wait and see if he plays in the bowl game or if it's time to prepare for the NFL Draft. (9)
7
Michael Penix Jr. Washington Huskies QB
There's been debate about whether Penix should return to college or go pro. I'm not sure. His arm talent will get him drafted, and it's possible he'll go early if a team falls in love. If that's the case, it's hard to argue he should return to school unless somebody drops a hefty bag. I'd love to see him eliminate some YOLO throws, but those are probably just part of the package when you have his arm. (6)
8
Bo Nix Oregon Ducks QB
Nix didn't have a bad game in Oregon's loss to Oregon State, but wins and losses impact your standing here. You're the QB. You wear it. Nix threw for 327 yards and two touchdowns, but he's still limited by the ankle injury he suffered against Washington. (3)
9
Todd Centeio James Madison Dukes QB
I know most of you have never seen Centeio play, but I wish you would have. I don't know if he has NFL traits, but he's a good college quarterback. He threw for four touchdowns as the Dukes torched Coastal Carolina, and he finishes the season with 25 TD to only five interceptions, and three of those picks came in the same game. (10)
10
Clayton Tune Houston Cougars QB
Tune returns to the rankings after having a terrific November. Tune led all QBs in passing yards (1,637) and touchdowns (16) in November, though the Coogs did finish the regular season with a 37-30 loss to Tulsa. I know I just said results matter in these rankings, but c'mon, it's not like it's Tune's fault they lost the game. Besides, I make the rules here, and I can bend them to my desires whenever I'd like. (NR)

No Longer Ranked: Drake Maye, North Carolina; Jayden Daniels, LSU;

Honorable Mention: Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma; E.J. Warner, Temple; Frank Harris, UTSA; Brady Cook, Missouri; Taylen Green, Boise State