Well, in case you haven’t been paying attention I was at the Maui Invitational last week and in the interest of Karma, I ended up having to fly back on Saturday at 3 p.m. Hawaii time (8 eastern). That’s right when the USC-Notre Dame game kicked off. It’s a seven-hour flight to Chicago, so I had to rely on McD text messaging me throughout the flight to get updates (yeah I know it’s illegal and supposedly dangerous to have your cell phone on, but this was an important game). But, thanks to ESPNU I’ve now had a chance to watch SC’s 44-24 drubbing of the Irish, and I think it’s time to come out and say it: Brady Quinn might be the most overrated quarterback in NCAA history.
In the interest of full-disclosure, I’m a HUGE USC fan. I went to school there and though I graduated from Indiana, I’ve remained a loyal Trojan even through the Paul Hackett years.
Now bear in mind, I’m not talking about Quinn’s skill as a quarterback. He’s got a great arm, is accurate, has a decent head from what I’ve seen and is likely to be the No.1 pick in the NFL draft. What I’m going to point out here is that when hack broadcasters like Brent Musburger, Bob Davie, Tom Hammond and Lou Holtz expound on how much Quinn has accomplished in his career and how he’s etched his name into “Irish lore” repeatedly, they’re lying to you.
Here are the facts:
In four years at the helm of Notre Dame’s offense, Brady Quinn is 29-18 as a starter. Not too bad huh? Well, when you take out Stanford, BYU and the service academies that record changes to 18-17* (corrected from 17-18). That’s legendary?
Quinn has never won a bowl game (0-2) and has never beaten USC (0-4). And while he’s racked up tons of yards (11,614 career) and touchdowns (93 career) those numbers don’t mean much without big victories. Hell, Timmy Chang put up huge college numbers, but he isn’t considered an all-time great.
I looked long and hard for big wins in Brady’s career and found two. Both over Michigan. But he only threw for a combined 318 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in those games. And the 2005 win was over a Wolverine team that ended up 7-5. To be fair, they beat an 8-4 Penn State team this year, which is a decent victory. And in 2004 he led the Irish to a 17-13 road win over a No. 11 ranked Tennessee team.
So that’s maybe four decent wins in four years? And he’s supposed to be a storied quarterback. If you’re not convinced that wins make great quarterbacks and want to point out Brady’s statistics here’s something to think about: People fail to mention how horrible he looked against Georgia Tech and UCLA this year, in games the Irish should have lost. In the Georgia Tech game he finished with a 79.5 rating, UCLA forced him into a 95.0 rating, and against USC last weekend, Quinn ended up with 48.9% completions and a 90.4 rating.
So why does Brady Quinn get tons of love heaped on him by the public? We think it’s because Notre Dame fans have been searching for a hero for so long that he sort of fell into the role. Things have been bad in South Bend for years and the notion of someone coming in to save the program has hung over the town for a while and Charlie Weis and his quarterback have both been labeled this way. And since Notre Dame fans know everything (just ask them) I guess broadcasters just joined in on the fun. That said, if Quinn didn’t play for the Irish people would be dwelling on the fact that he’s an incredibly talented player who has never become a big game player. But for some reason they don’t talk about that. Instead they call his losing performance against USC “courageous,” I call it awful.