An offseason spent analyzing quarterback competitions comes to a conclusion this weekend as college football season starts with all behind center.
Potentially, 14 of the AP Top 25 teams could start the season with a different No. 1 quarterback than they had last season. That includes No. 1 Ohio State, though everyone should be so lucky to have the Buckeyes’ quarterback quandary.
Dozens of teams announced their starters over the last two weeks of preseason practice, including No. 9 Georgia, No. 10 Florida State and No. 14 LSU. Several others announced there would be no announcement, including Ohio State and No. 3 Alabama.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury coyly said of his quarterbacks that one will “jog out there for the first snap, and that will be it.”
The most important position on field is what to watch for as the college football season starts this weekend.
— Everett Golson and Vernon Adams were the biggest names on the graduate transfer market this offseason and both won their respective jobs at Florida State and Oregon.
Golson opens easy with Texas State at home. Adams gets the start against his former FCS team as Eastern Washington visits Eugene in the football equivalent of running into your ex at the movie theater with your new significant other. Awkward.
— Greyson Lambert’s graduate transfer from Virginia to Georgia didn’t draw many headlines, but it turns out the guy demoted in the spring by Cavaliers coach Mike London will start for Mark Richt’s Bulldogs against Louisiana-Monroe. Lambert will make one of the coaches will look as if they made a mistake.
— Oklahoma had to wait a year for Baker Mayfield to become eligible after he transferred from Texas Tech. He will direct the Sooners’ new Air Raid offense against Akron.
— Ole Miss starts Chad Kelly, the nephew of Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, who gets a fresh start in Oxford after wearing out his welcome at Clemson and playing last season at East Mississippi Community College.
NOT ENTIRELY NEW STARTERS
— Big things are expected from Auburn’s Jeremy Johnson, who has been locked into the starting job since the spring. His first start as the unquestioned No. 1 QB for the No. 6 Tigers comes in the Georgia Dome against Louisville on Saturday.
— Kyle Allen started the final five games for Texas A&M last year but still had to fend off stud freshman Kyler Murray to win the starting job for the Aggies, who have a huge opener in Houston against No. 15 Arizona State.
— Arizona State’s Mike Bercovici was so good filling in for the injured Taylor Kelly last year that some thought he should have kept the job. All his now.
— Brandon Harris won the starting job for LSU, beating out Anthony Jennings, the guy Harris backed up for much of last season. The Tigers open against FCS McNeese State.
— Baylor’s Seth Russell is the Big 12’s version of Johnson, an experienced backup who is expected to make a smooth transition, especially in the opener against SMU.
— Ryan Finley has Boise State fans confident a first-year starting QB won’t drag down an otherwise experienced team that opens at home with Washington on Friday night.
— Notre Dame got a good look at Malik Zaire in its bowl win last season. He’ll make his first regular-season start against Texas.
UCLA coach Jim Mora is turning his team, a legitimate Pac-12 contender, over to freshman Josh Rosen when the Bruins welcome Virginia to the Rose Bowl.
— If we had to guess, Jake Coker will take the first snap for Alabama against No. 20 Wisconsin on Saturday in Arlington, Texas. The Florida State graduate transfer, who was beaten out by Blake Sims last year, has been part of five-man competition to be the Crimson Tide’s starter, if you include five-star freshman Blake Barnett.
— Louisville coach Bobby Petrino’s depth chart has four choices at quarterback for the Auburn game.
— Either Patrick Mahomes or Davis Webb will jog out for Texas Tech against Sam Houston State.
— A twist was added to Rutgers’ quarterback competition when Chris Loviano was suspended for the first half of the opener against Norfolk State. Hayden Rettig gets the start but the true No. 1 will likely be revealed by who starts the second half.
— As for Ohio State, Urban Meyer will either start the Big Ten player of the year (J.T. Barrett) or the guy who led the Buckeyes to the national title (Cardale Jones) against Virginia Tech on Monday night. There is no wrong answer for Ohio State.