Alabama Football: Mac Jones and three other SEC QBs lead ESPN QBR rating

Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports
Gary Cosby Jr/The Tuscaloosa News via USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama football quarterback, Mac Jones is arguably not just the SEC’s best, but one of the best in the nation.

The rise of Alabama football, starting quarterback, Mac Jones surprises some, many of whom are Crimson Tide fans. Bryce Young may become a great college quarterback but he is not in Jones’ league right now.

A fair claim can be made Mac Jones, at this point in the 2020 season, is the best QB in college football.  If he is the best in the SEC, he is the best in college football.

Two SEC games are not enough to determine the best SEC QB. That cannot be known until several more games are played or at the season’s end. But currently, according to the ESPN Total Quarterback Rating, the nation’s four best QBs are in the SEC. They are Matt Corral, Stetson Bennett, Mac Jones and Kyle Trask, in that order per ESPN.

It is an interesting quartet of QBs. Lane Kiffin decided Matt Corral better suits his offensive system than does John Rhys Plumlee. Corral was a highly rated recruit in 2017. At one point he was a Top 50 player in the nation and 247Sports ranked him as the No. 4, Pro-style QB in the 2018 class. His football talent was never in question. There were concerns about his temperament and discipline. He was high on the recruiting boards for Alabama football and the Florida Gators. Interest from those schools waned before Corral chose Ole Miss. If the young man’s personality is as volatile as some suggest, Lane Kiffin may be the perfect coach for him. Kiffin’s bad boy image has not always served him well. He can guide Corral from the basis of experience.

Stepping in at Georgia, Stetson Bennett has shocked the college football world. The former walk-on was no better than the Dawgs’ No. 4 QB going into the season. Now it is looking like, even when fully healthy, J.T. Daniels will not be able to beat out Bennett. Kyle Trask was a little-heralded recruit for Jim McElwain. An injury to Feleipe Franks gave Trask a shot to lead the Gators. Trask has blossomed under the tutelage of Dan Mullen. Among the four SEC QBs leading college football, Trask is the least surprise.

Even though Matt Corral is overall No. 1 in the ESPN QBR, it is by a slim margin. Corral is at 94.8; Bennett is rated 94.4, followed by Mac Jones at 94.3. Kyle Trask is rated 91.8, followed by Trevor Lawrence at 90.9.  The five are the only QBs rated above a 90 QBR.

Corral and Bennett edge out Mac Jones and Trask due to their run productivity. Take away that one data point among the seven used by ESPN and Mac Jones would be No. 1. Putting aside the ESPN numbers and making an admittedly subjective analysis, Mac Jones is arguably the nation’s best passer, in terms of accuracy and long throws.

Using another set of data points defined as a Passing Efficiency Rating, Mac Jones is statistically No. 1. This season, Mac’s PER is 221.1. Based only on the 2020 season, Matt Corral’s PER is 211.90; Kyle Trak is 196.40 and Bennett is 148.7.

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The QBR and PER rankings will change once quarterbacks from the Big Ten and the Pac 12 have game stats, allowing them to be included.