Last season, college football once again saw a redshirt freshman quarterback win the Heisman Trophy the second consecutive season in which a young signal-caller became the face of the sport.
With the Amway Coaches Poll rolling out today, here's a re-shuffling of the top 25 based on each team's quarterback situation for the 2014 campaign.
1. Jameis Winston, Florida State: Reigning Heisman winner. National champion QB. Winston's credentials speak volumes, but an encore is hardly guaranteed. There's no disputing this guy's talent, but his seven 300-yard games were a product of his something-to-prove and nothing-to-lose demeanor as a redshirt freshman. The pressure to perform and spearhead the Seminoles to another title adds a more challenging psychological dynamic.
- By the numbers in 2013: 4,057 yards, 66.9% completion (257/384) 40 TDs, 10 interceptions.
- Backup QB: Sean Maguire.
- Team ranking: No. 1.
2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon: He was a front-runner to win the Heisman for much of his sophomore season before fading. There's no doubt he'll put up Heisman numbers again in the Ducks' high-octane spread offense. Barring a mediocre season, he'll be atop NFL draft boards. But there hasn't been any questioning of Mariota's raw talent and skillset over the past two seasons. Now it's about putting all the tools together in the face of adversity.
- By the numbers in 2013: 3,665 yards, 31 TDs, four interceptions, 63.5% completion (245/386), 715 rushing yards (and nine rushing TDs).
- Backup QB: Jeff Lockie
- Team ranking: No. 4.
3. Bryce Petty, Baylor: Unlike his predecessors, Petty became a highly efficient Baylor QB through the air instead of on the ground. (Ahem, remember that Robert Griffin III guy). He had 32 TDs to just three interceptions in 2013. Not bad for a first-time starter. Much of Petty's 2013 success was based on the Bears' offensive weapons, and he'll have plenty of guys to throw to again despite Lache Seastrunk's departure.
- By the numbers in 2013: 4,200 yards, 62% completion (250/403), 32 TDs, three interceptions, 14 rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: Seth Russell
- Team ranking: No. 10.
4. Brett Hundley, UCLA: The up-and-coming Bruins have a legitimate shot at making the Playoff and much of that promise comes from Hundley's decision to return instead of going pro. The redshirt junior will be a Heisman contender if he can establish more consistency and limit turnovers.
- By the numbers in 2013: 3,071 yards, 67.2% completion (248/369), 24 TDs, nine interceptions, 748 rushing yards.
- Backup QB: Asiantii Woulard.
- Team ranking: No. 7.
5. Braxton Miller, Ohio State: He's got unique wisdom as a four-year starter. Last season Miller found a rhythm after missing the first two games of the season with a knee injury. He'll have a chance to pick up better momentum in 2014, and now he's comfortable in Urban Meyer's spread offense. With experience as a dual-threat QB, expect Miller's numbers to skyrocket.
- By the numbers in 2013: 2,094 yards, 63.5% completion (162/255), 24 TDs, 7 interceptions, 1,068 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: Cardale Jones.
- Team ranking: No. 6.
6. Nick Marshall, Auburn: A gifted athlete, Marshall fit perfectly in Gus Malzahn's spread-option last season. With a full offseason under his belt, there's potential for a big senior year. As an agile dual-threat QB, he won't dazzle with his arm and become an elite passer, but that's not necessary to lead the Tigers back to the national title game. He won't have Tre Mason, though, so more offensive production will be needed.
- By the numbers in 2013: 1976 yards, 59.4 % completion (142/239), 14 TDs, six interceptions, 1,068 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: Jeremy Johnson.
- Team ranking: No. 5.
7. Trevor Knight, Oklahoma: Oklahoma will be a favorite to win the Big 12 and also contend for the national championship in 2014 based on the potential of a talented returning group. Knight, who started five games last year, can be the difference maker, evidenced by his 348-yard performance in leading the Sooners past Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The tools are there for Knight he's an explosive runner but he'll need more than just a few breakout performances to catapult Oklahoma to good positioning in the playoff.
- By the numbers in 2013: 819 yards, nine touchdowns, five interceptions. 58% completion (79/134).
- Backup QB: Cody Thomas.
- Team ranking: No. 3.
8. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State: Entering his third year as a starter, Kelly is primed to follow up his tremendous 2013 season with an even bigger 2014. Kelly has developed into a legitimate dual-threat quarterback and has shown the ability to change a game with his legs. He has plenty of weapons at his disposal and is expected to lead the Sun Devils' explosive offense as they make a push for a second consecutive berth in the Pac-12 title game.
- By the numbers in 2013: 3,635 yards, 62.4% completion (302/484), 28 TDs, 12 INTs, 608 rushing yards, nine rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: Mike Bercovici.
- Team ranking: No. 18.
9. Connor Cook, Michigan State: Cook had a stellar showing in his first season as starter but took a backseat in recognition to the Spartans' defense. It helps that there's not much pressure in Michigan State's run-first attack, but Cook is known for coming up clutch in big games. His Big Ten championship (304 yards) and Rose Bowl (332 yards) performances en route to victories showed his improvement over the course of last season, and now he'll get a chance to keep that momentum going.
- By the numbers in 2013: 2,755 yards, 58.7% completion (223/380), 22 TDs, six interceptions.
- Backup QB: Damion Terry.
- Team ranking: No. 8.
10. Bo Wallace, Mississippi: The SEC's active leader in passing yards and touchdowns has a strong arm but at times is too confident in it. He'll need to improve his decision-making. Wallace has struggled with turnovers, throwing 27 in two years as a starter. Fans will remember his overtime fumble into the end zone that lost the Rebels the Egg Bowl in 2013. He moves well and his ability to get outside the pocket opens things up for the rest of the offense.
- By the numbers in 2013: 3,346 yards, 64.8% completion (283/437), 18 TDs, 10 interceptions, 355 rushing yards, six rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: DeVante Kincade/Ryan Buchanan.
- Team ranking: No. 19
11. Kevin Hogan, Stanford: The term game manager gets thrown around a lot these days, but Hogan is just that. He's proved capable of making big throws but had the ball taken out of his hands as the season wore on, throwing 18 or fewer passes in five of the last seven games. Hogan has a strong arm and is accurate, but needs to become more consistent. Similar lackluster showings over such a pivotal three-game stretch (a combined 318 yards vs. Oregon State, Oregon and USC) will need to be avoided.
- By the numbers in 2013: 2,630 yards, 61% completion (180/295), 20 TDs, 10 interceptions.
- Backup QB: Evan Crower.
- Team ranking: No. 11.
12. Dylan Thompson, South Carolina: Replacing Connor Shaw as the full-time starter in 2014 won't be easy. Still he is 3-0 as a starter, and rave reviews from coach Steve Spurrier help in the confidence department. Make no mistake, Thompson won't be Shaw. But he's made steady progress and is fully capable of quarterbacking the Gamecocks to a successful season. Keep in mind it was Thompson who had a 310-yard, three-touchdown outing in leading South Carolina past Clemson in 2012. With Shaw gone, now he'll finally get a chance to show all he's worth.
- By the numbers in 2013: 783 yards, 58.4% completion (52/89), four touchdowns, three interceptions.
- Backup QB: Connor Mitch.
- Team ranking: No. 9.
13. Cody Kessler, USC: The Trojans' quarterback competition spilled into the regular season last year before Kessler finally claimed the job. He stepped up down the stretch, throwing 10 touchdowns with only one interception in the final six games. Playing for a third head coach in less than a year, Kessler witll find Steve Sarkisian's uptempo offense a huge change, but he has the tools to handle it.
- By the numbers in 2013: 2,968 yards, 65.4% completion (236/361), 20 TDs, seven interceptions.
- Backup QB: Max Browne
- Team ranking: No. 15
14. Jacob Coker, Alabama: If you're looking for a stat sheet to assess Coker's abilities, you won't find much. His lack of starting experience aside, there's major buzz hovering over AJ McCarron's expected replacement. That's because Coker nearly earned the starting job at Florida State (over Jameis Winston) before opting to transfer. He graduated, so he can play immediately, but he missed spring practice. Coker has a lot going in his favor a new coordinator in Lane Kiffin and a loaded 'Bama roster with the likes of WR Amari Cooper and RB T.J. Yeldon.
- Backup QB: Blake Sims.
- Team ranking: No. 2.
15. Hutson Mason, Georgia: Aaron Murray's devastating injury last year could turn out to be a blessing in disguise this year, as it gave Mason much-needed time to develop heading into 2014. Mason started the regular-season finale (a 41-34 2OT victory vs. Georgia Tech) and Georgia's Bowl game vs. Nebraska. If those performances indicate anything, it'll be conservative. Mason's a senior who can play mistake-free football, and that'll be the needed recipe as the Bulldogs will likely rely heavily on their ground game.
- By the numbers in 2013: 968 yards, 60.9% completion (67/110), five TDs, three interceptions.
- Backup QB: Brice Ramsey.
- Team ranking: No. 12.
16. Jake Waters, Kansas State: Waters finished 2013 strong, throwing 14 touchdowns as the Wildcats won six of their final seven games. With that experience, the senior is poised to have a big season and help Kansas State compete in the wide-open Big 12.
- By the numbers in 2013: 2,469 yards, 61.2% completion (159/260), 18 TDs, nine INTs, 312 rushing yards, six rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: Jesse Ertz.
- Team ranking: No. 21.
17. Everett Golson, Notre Dame: After sitting out the 2013 season, Golson is the presumed starter for the Irish. He led Notre Dame to the national championship game in 2012, and his return brings flexibility to the passing and rushing games. Golson wasn't the most accurate passer as a redshirt freshman, but he has a strong arm and demonstrated the ability to effectively run the zone-read.
- By the numbers in 2012: 2,405 yards, 58.8% completion (187/318), 12 TDs, six interceptions, 298 rushing yards, six rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: Malik Zaire
- Team ranking: No. 17
18. Cole Stoudt, Clemson: Stoudt spent three years backing up Tajh Boyd and should be able to step in to Chad Morris' offense without much of a learning curve. The senior has made the most of his opportunities, but if he struggles, highly touted freshman Deshaun Watson is waiting.
- By the numbers in 2013: 415 yards, 79.7% completion (47/59), five TDs, zero INTs, two rushing TDs.
- Backup QB: Deshaun Watson
- Team ranking: No. 16
19. David Ash, Texas: After throwing for 2,699 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2012, Ash missed most of last season with a concussion and was granted a medical redshirt. He fractured his foot during spring practice but was recently cleared. New coach Charlie Strong confirmed that Ash will be the starter heading into the fall. He's deceptively mobile and has the arm to succeed in Strong's system.
- By the numbers in 2013: 760 yards, 60.9% completion (53/87), seven TDs, two interceptions.
- Backup QB: Tyrone Swoopes
- Team ranking: No. 24
20. Joel Stave, Wisconsin: With one of the top rushing games in the country, Wisconsin didn't rely heavily on Stave in 2013. He had a solid year but threw too many interceptions and failed to make defenses pay for keying in on the running game. Badgers coach Gary Andersen has said Stave, who has struggled to stay healthy, will face competition from Tanner McEvoy for the starting job.
- By the numbers in 2013: 2,494 yards, 61.9% completion (208/336), 22 TDs, 13 INTs.
- Backup QB: Tanner McEvoy
- Team ranking: No. 14
21. Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska: The redshirt sophomore showed flashes last season but struggled mightily with turnovers, averaging an interception every 16.4 passes. Armstrong needs to cut down on interceptions, but he throws a good deep ball and can run the zone-read well.
- By the numbers in 2013: 966 yards, 51.9% completion (68/131), nine TDs, eight interceptions.
- Backup QB: Ryker Fyfe/Johnny Stanton.
- Team ranking: No. 22.
22. Cyler Miles, Washington: Miles is suspended for the season opener but showed in 2013 he's capable of leading the team. In the loss to UCLA, Miles came in for an injured Keith Price and kept the Huskies in the game with two touchdown passes, before throwing two interceptions in the final minutes. Jeff Lindquist and Troy Williams will compete to start the opener, but neither has thrown a pass in college.
- By the numbers in 2013: 418 yards, 60.7% (37/61), four TDs, two interceptions, 200 rushing yards.
- Backup QB: Jeff Lindquist/Troy Williams.
- Team ranking: No. 25.
23. Anthony Jennings, LSU: As a true freshman, Jennings came in for an injured Zach Mettenberger in the fourth quarter of the Tigers' regular-season finale, leading the team on a 99-yard touchdown drive to beat Arkansas. He started the bowl game against Iowa, but looked like a freshman, completing just seven of 19 passes for 82 yards. Jennings faces competition from true freshman Brandon Harris, one of the top recruits in the nation.
- By the numbers in 2013: 181 yards, 44.8% completion (13/29), one TD, one INT
- Backup QB: Brandon Harris
- Team ranking: No. 13.
24. Kyle Allen/Kenny Hill, Texas A&M: One of the top recruits in the country this year, Allen is more of a pro-style quarterback than Hill, and predecessor Johnny Manziel. Hill got some experience under his belt last season, seeing mop-up duty in four games and is extraordinarily accurate for a mobile quarterback. Either could be under center for the opener.
- Hill by the numbers in 2013: 183 yards, 72.7% completion (16/22), one TD.
- Team ranking: No. 20.
25. Marquise Williams/Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina: Williams was a big reason the Tar Heels surged down the stretch, winning six of their final seven games. He was solid through the air and wound up leading the team in rushing. Trubisky is considered a more polished passer and is mobile like Williams, but obviously lacks the experience. Coach Larry Fedora has said the team can be successful with either player under center.
- Williams by the numbers in 2013: 1,698 yards, 58.1% (126/217), 15 TDs, six INTs, 536 rushing yards, six rushing TDs.
- Team ranking: No. 23