Matt Leinart: Best College QB Ever?


That title will probably always be up for debate, no matter who you are talking to. No one can deny the dominance that Matt Leinart exhibited during his three year tenure at USC, but for some reason unknown to me, people seem to quickly forget just how good this guy really was in college. Perhaps it’s because he plays for the Cardinals, perhaps it’s because he inexplicably fell to the number 10 position in the draft, who knows. But for all those Cards fans out there who are desperately seeking relief from years mired in mediocrity, your salvation is at hand……actually it’s left-handed. I would argue that Leinart was the best QB in the history of College Football, hands down. No one, not Peyton Manning, not Carson Palmer, not Joe Montana, not Roger Staubach……no one can duplicate what he did.

In case you might have forgotten, here’s a reminder of how ridiculously good Leinart was in college:

37-2 as a three year starter
3 Consecutive PAC-10 Titles (2003-05)
3 Consecutive National Title Game Appearances (2003-05)
2 Consecutive Nat’l Title Wins (2003-04)
Heisman Trophy Winner 2004
3rd in Heisman Trophy voting in 2005

Pass Att – 1245…….Pass Comp – 807………% Comp – 64.8……..Yards – 10,693……..TDs – 99………INTs – 23…….Pass Rtg – 159.5

Now let’s break some of those down, shall we. 1245 pass attempts vs 23 interceptions; that is roughly one interception every 54 passes. He never had a single season in college where he threw double digit interceptions. He is the NCAA all-time pass completion % leader with 64.8%. He connected on 2 out of every 3 passes. Every single season he passed for over 3000 yards and 30+ TDs, all while running an offense that featured all american RBs Reggie Bush and LenDale White. His passer rating never dipped below 150 any of his three seasons, and he rode a consecutive win streak of 30+ games. Most telling, he won 3 straight conference titles and 2 straight National titles. These are College Hall of Fame numbers, which is exactly where he’ll be placed a few years from now, that will happen.

However, anyone who does not agree with my opinion will likely point to his last collegiate game, the National Championship vs Vince Young and the Texas Longhorns. But…. I challenge anyone who watched that game to prove to me how Leinart did anything other than play his game that night. He was 29/40 (72.5 %) for 365 yards, 1 TD & 1 INT, with a passer rating of 152.4. He led the Trojans on a drive of over 70 yards in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter, capped off with his lone TD pass to put the Trojans up by four with less than 4 minutes to go. The reason that USC did not win wasn’t Leinart, it was the Trojans’ defense and their inability to find an answer for Vince Young. Leinart just ran out of time.

The fact of the matter is this, nothing in college football is for certain. Preseason rankings are usually a joke by week 6, upsets in college football occur as frequently as Lindsay Lohan’s trips to rehab. The only consistent thing in NCAA FB is that it’s gonna be exciting to find out who can scrap out a win in the end to claw their way to the top. But for nearly three years, there was no question who was the best team in the country…….the Trojans were as close to perfect as you’re gonna get in college football, and Leinart led the way.

My vote: Best College Quarterback Ever

Mike Duggan – AZCardsfan4life
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