Survey the college football landscape. It doesn’t take a Hubble Telescope to peep the undeniable truth about college football.
The Heisman Trophy discourse orbits a trio of quarterbacks, which is what led a baffled Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin to question why his football magnet Mike Evans wasn’t worthy of Heisman mention (although AGS has been touting his candidacy for weeks).
Ultimately, running backs and wide receivers are the constellations in the college football universe revolving around signal callers. Whether it's mobile ones, statues in the pockets or a combination of both, national championships aren't won without above average quarterbacks. At the NFL level, finding franchise quarterbacks is akin to finding life on another planet. On the FBS level, they're slightly more common, but Miami has been left on the fringes with an inferior signal caller.
It's hard not imagine how different Saturday's result would have been if Miami-native Teddy Bridgewater were lining up under center for the Hurricanes.
Marcus Mariota, Bryce Petty, Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston round out the signal callers with the top four QBRs in the nation. Alabama’s AJ McCarron is ninth and Braxton Miller is 12th.
Mariota, McCarron and Petty had the week off. Braxton Miller went HAM on Purdue. Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez has never managed to take that weightless leap into becoming a game-changing passer, thus the Cornhuskers haven’t been able to complete their return to national prominence. After starter Tommy Armstrong Jr. tossed three interceptions, it took a Hail Mary heave from walk-on Ron Kellogg III to beat Northwestern.
Manziel took UTEP to the woodshed in three quarters and Braxton Miller disintegrated the Purdue Boilermakers defense in a 56-0 rout.
In a non-BCS galaxy not too far away Jordan Lynch and Derek Carr are leading Northern Illinois and Fresno State’s incursions into BCS bowl game contention.
Miami’s game plan was to tunnel their way to down the field with Duke Johnson to control the clock and keep the ball away from Winston. Wildly erratic Stephen Morris is not the guy who can launch The U back into Cloud-9. He’s the ground control technician who flicked the autopilot on during Miami’s first training session into the Top-10 in four years.
Florida State is on a grander mission to plant Chief Osceola’s flaming spear at the zenith of the BCS’ celestial elysium fields.
Winston is their supernova, which provides an alternative theory on why he spends much of his time squinting towards the sidelines. His retinas are damaged as a byproduct of staring at his own reflection on a daily basis for 19 years.
If Mariota was showered with praise for his second-half performance against UCLA’s defense then Winston’s bounce back from a pair of turnovers shouldn’t be glossed over either.
"Just like baseball, sometimes you go out there and strike out," said Winston after throwing for 325 yards and two first half INTs in the win. "Then you've got to come back and bounce back and my team really helped me through it.
"I told the guys, 'No more turnovers and we're going to go out there and win this game.'"
Flashing his trademark smile, Winston went out in the second half and took a cleaver to the Miami defense.
Against Central Michigan, Lynch set the quarterback rushing record against Central Michigan with 319 yards.
Conversely, Morris was crushed by the gravity of the moment in the second half.
Miami had it all including a thoroughbred at tailback, a defense that began the week ranked in the Top 10 and an offensive line that allowed the nation’s fewest sacks. In crucial passing downs, Winston has been significantly more effective than his counterpart.
However, Stephen Morris began the week ranked 108th in 3rd down Total QBR with a 26.9 third-down Total QBR while Jameis Winston had an FBS-high 99.5 third-down QBR. That was exemplified on Saturday night when Miami's drives stalled on 8 of the 12 third down drives they faced while FSU converted 11 of their 15 third downs.
Florida State’s first-ranked pass defense certainly complicated things, but a quarterback ranked in the upper echelon of the nation’s best would have helped. Moving forward, developing a quarterback who can hold his own against the best should be Miami’s No. 1 objective.
Redshirting freshman Kevin Olsen is considered the future of the program. The hope is that he’s more Ken Dorsey than Jacory Harris.
WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS...
Nebraska vs. Northwestern was a fluke. If you decided to stare at the sun or into the dark void that is outer space this weekend, you probably had more of an adrenaline rush than the average college football fan.
Michigan State vs. Michigan was the weekend’s worst matchup. Michigan State’s defense jumped all over Michigan’s comatose offensive attack like groupies on Prince’s tour bus and held them to two field goals during their 29-6 win. Michigan's rushing attack was held 231 yards below its season average of 183.9 rushing yards per game. That subtracts out to minus 48 yards. All-world cornerback Darqueze Dennard finally got his pick in the fourth quarter against Devin Gardner.
All in all, this was one forgettable weekend.