Welcome to Doc's Sports Service Bookmaker Banner
spacer  
spacer spacer
Welcome to Doc's Sports Service spacer
Welcome to Doc's Sports Service Welcome to Doc's Sports Service
Welcome to Doc's Sports Service
Click Here to Purchase Doc's Picks
Basketball Picks   |   Hockey picks   |   NBA picks
Football Picks   |   NFL Picks   |   Breeders Cup
spacer



Live Lines and Odds NFL Odds
spacer
College Football Odds
spacer
NBA Odds
spacer
College
   Basketball Odds

spacer
MLB Odds
spacer
NHL Odds
spacer
WNBA Odds
spacer
CFL Odds
spacer
Boxing Odds
spacer
Golf Odds
spacer
Soccer Odds
spacer
Week 7 NFL Odds
spacer
Doc's Rotation
spacer

Free Picks by Sport Free NFL Picks
spacer
Free College Football Picks
spacer
Free MLB Picks
spacer
Free NASCAR Picks
spacer
Free NBA Picks
spacer
Free College Basketball Picks
spacer
Free NHL Picks
spacer
All Free Picks
spacer

Handicapping Matchup Reports NFL
spacer
NCAA Football
spacer
NBA
spacer
NCAA Basketball
spacer
MLB
spacer
NHL
spacer

Scores NFL
spacer
NCAA Football
spacer
NBA
spacer
NCAA Basketball
spacer
MLB
spacer
NHL
spacer

Schedules NFL Schedule
spacer
College Football Schedule
spacer
College Basketball Schedule
spacer
MLB Schedule
spacer
NBA Schedule
spacer
NHL Schedule
spacer
Monday Night Football Schedule
spacer

Upcomming Event Coverage Monday Night Football Picks and Predictions
spacer
2014 Heisman Trophy Odds
spacer
MLB Futures Odds
spacer




Bookmaker Banner
spacer
spacer
Home
spacer
View Picks
spacer
Why Doc's Sports?
spacer
Our Betting System
spacer
Sports Betting Strategy
spacer
Message from the GM
spacer
Our Commitment
spacer
Customer Comments
spacer
Free Picks
spacer
Contact Doc's
spacer

The Advisory Board
Our Commitment
spacer
Doc's Sports
spacer
Robert Ferringo
spacer
Allen Eastman
spacer
Raphael Esparza (VSI)
spacer
Indian Cowboy
spacer
Jason Sharpe
spacer
Strike Point Sports
spacer
Mike Davis
spacer

Betting Systems
11th Hour Sports
spacer
The Prop Machine
spacer

Recomended Sportsbooks Bovada Sportsbook
spacer
5Dimes Sportsbook
spacer
BookMaker
spacer
Sportsbook
spacer
Carbon Sports
spacer
WagerWeb
spacer
BetOnline Sportsbook
spacer
GT Bets
spacer
SportsBettingOnline.ag
spacer
Sportsbook Bonus
spacer

Handicapping Resources
Mobile Website Directions
spacer
Weekly NFL Survivor Pool Picks
spacer
NFL Power Rankings 2014
spacer
NFL Office Pool Picks
spacer
Sports Betting Money Managment
spacer
Handicapping FAQ
spacer
Sports Betting 101
spacer
How To Betting Articles
spacer
Sports Betting Tips
spacer
Parlay Calculator
spacer
Sports Betting Systems
spacer
Parlay Cards
spacer
Gambling Terms
spacer
2014 Archives
spacer
2013 Archives
spacer
2012 Archives
spacer
2011 Archives
spacer
2010 Archives
spacer
Doc's Affiliate Program
spacer
Doc's Writer Bios
spacer
Doc's rss feedDoc's RSS feed



spacer
spacer

College Football Handicapping: True Freshman Quarterbacks
by Trevor Whenham - 9/2/2009

Georgia Tech quarterback Reggie Ball.

When USC opens their season on Saturday against San Jose State they will be doing it as the No. 4-ranked team in the country. They'll also be doing it with Matt Barkley, a true freshman, at quarterback. They were destined for a change at quarterback no matter what with Mark Sanchez now starting for the Jets, but the significance of a team this highly ranked starting a true freshman cannot be overstated. Very few teams each year start a true freshman at the start of the season, and it's been longer than I can remember since one this highly ranked has done so. USC has never started a true freshman.

Get $60 in FREE Member Picks
No Obligation
Click Here


If you ask people to name freshman starters they can usually come up with several, including several that are high-profile. Few of them, however, were in the situation that Barkley is in. Terrelle Pryor didn't take over until Week 4 last year. Tim Tebow was a key reserve behind Chris Leak as a freshman - a key contributor, but not a starter. Sam Bradford only started as a redshirt freshman. Same for Colt McCoy. Matt Stafford waited until halfway through his freshman season to get a chance. Jimmy Clausen played a bunch as a true freshman, but was only named starter for the second game of the year. Barkley is in very limited company.

To help us understand what we might be able to expect from Barkley out of the gate, here's a look at some of the true freshmen to take the helm right away in recent years. This is not a comprehensive list, but it is close - there just aren't that many true freshmen who have done what Barkley has been asked to do, and none that have done it on the level that Barkley is.

Chad Henne, Michigan - Henne wasn't supposed to start in 2004, but an injury forced him to. He was particularly good. He went 9-2 in the regular season, won a share of the Big Ten title, completed more than 60 percent of his passes, set a single season Michigan record with 25 touchdowns, and threw four touchdowns in a Rose Bowl game that he would have won if Vince Young hadn't singularly decimated the Wolverines. He's the recent model of true freshman excellence, and any number of teams would be well served to have a quarterback like him at the helm regardless of age.

Robert Griffin, Baylor - Griffin didn't technically begin the season as starter last year, but he took over for good in the second quarter of the first game so it almost counts. There is a tremendous amount of hype for this ridiculous speedster this year, and with good reason - he became the first Baylor player ever to both run and throw for 10 TDs last year. He threw for 2,000 yards and ran for better than 800, and his accuracy was impressive - 15 TDs and just three picks.

Shaun Carney, Air Force - Carney became the first freshman starter at Air Force, and he set a team record by completing 61.1 percent of his passes. He only threw for 1,315 yards, but he played at Air Force so that is really quite a total.

Bo Levi Mitchell, SMU - SMU not only had a new quarterback last year, but also an entirely new offense thanks to the arrival of June Jones from Hawaii. Mitchell didn't lead his team to overwhelming success - they were just 1-11 - but he did fare reasonably well in his role. He threw for 2,865 yards and 24 touchdowns. His accuracy wasn't ideal, though - he completed 57 percent of his passes and threw 23 picks. Numbers like that would be disastrous for USC this year, but considering what Mitchell had to work with he did more than okay.

Reggie Ball, Georgia Tech - Ball wasn't great in his first year - 10 TDs against 11 interceptions, and a completion rate of just 51.7 percent. He was good enough to be the ACC Rookie of the Year, though, and good enough to start more games than all but one player in Tech history.

The performance isn't always consistent from true freshmen, and at times it can be really scary, but as you can see from above we don't have to just assume that a team is in trouble because they are starting someone so young and raw. A true freshman can be more than competent enough to stay the course with a good team.

When you start to look around you really realize how rare USC's decision is. They are the only major team out there that is sure to be starting a true freshman. Only a couple of other big teams are potentially going to do the same. Michigan has three quarterbacks mired in a battle for the top spot on the depth chart, and two are true freshmen. Tate Forcier is one of them, and he seems likely to win the race, but there is a good possibility that all three players will see action in the first game against Western Mustang. Utah also could be starting a true freshman, but he has lately been falling behind a junior college transfer and could miss out.

When you are looking at how to handicap these quarterbacks, and the other true freshmen who will inevitably see action this year, here are four things you'll want to consider:

The team around them - A quarterback can be made to look much better than he should if he has a good team around him. Henne was helped by a potent receiving corps and a very solid running game. When a QB is young an inexperienced the coach will look to protect him and make things as easy as they can.

Role of quarterback in the offense - Some offenses require the quarterback to take command and do all of the heavy lifting. In other cases, the quarterback is just a custodian who makes sure that the running backs get the ball. The demands of the offense will often dictate the success of a young player.

Performance of player in fall (and spring if applicable) - A lot of schools are increasingly open about their spring practices, and blogs and message boards have made it much easier to get accurate pictures of what is happening in early practices and scrimmages. More so than in the NFL we can extrapolate this performance to what we could see early in the season.

After reading this college football piece head over to our Emerald Bowl preview page. Our NCAA footbal team schedules page is also a valuable tool for your college football research. Doc's NCAA bowl schedule resource is a must read for college football wagering. Each of the handicappers listed under "the Advisory board" on the left navagation bar posts free college football picks on their individual pages.


Schedule - When a top Division 1 team is playing a lesser team - from a non-BCS conference of Division 1-AA - I could probably quarterback them to a win, and I have never played a down of real football. Against tough teams, though, a quarterback is far more important. Matt Barkley will have a lot of room to make mistakes against San Jose State, but will be in tough the next week against Ohio State.


Most Recent College Football Handicapping Articles