Ranking any player or team after one month of the college football season is nearly impossible. With one-sided matchups skewing the statistics, and conference play not yet underway for most teams, more data is needed before accurately judging quarterbacks or if a team will be a factor in the playoff picture.
While a small sample size is tough to gather accurate results, it’s never too early to review the first month of the season and review the position under the biggest spotlight – quarterbacks.
Here’s Athlon Sports’ take on the top 10 performers at quarterback through the first month of the season. Note: This is not strictly based on stats. Opponent strength, injuries, snaps due to blowouts and preseason projection were all considered.
College Football's Top 10 QBs for September
1. Trevone Boykin, TCU
Injuries are taking a toll on TCU’s defense, but the offense continues to thrive behind Boykin. The senior has passed for 1,470 yards and 14 scores through four games and ranks second nationally by completing 12 passes for 30 or more yards in 2015.
2. Jared Goff, California
The Pac-12 is one of college football’s top quarterback conferences this season, and Goff leads the way as the No. 1 signal-caller. The junior guides the Bear Raid attack to an average of 45.8 points per game and has passed for 1,240 yards and 11 scores through four contests.
3. Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
After missing most of last season due to a hip injury, Johnson is guiding coach Dino Babers’ high-powered “Falcon Fast” offense to an average of 6.7 yards per play and 38.5 points per game. Johnson has passed for at least 400 yards in all four games and led Bowling Green to wins over two Big Ten opponents – Purdue and Maryland.
4. Cody Kessler, USC
Kessler was one of the nation’s most efficient quarterbacks in 2014 and continues to hold that title through four games in 2015. The senior completed 69.7 percent of his throws last season and is hitting receivers at a 73 percent mark through four contests. Additionally, Kessler has 15 touchdown tosses to just one interception in 2015.
5. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss
Kelly was the SEC’s top quarterback in September and should get better with more snaps on the FBS level after playing in the junior college ranks last season. The junior has passed for 1,219 yards and 10 scores through four contests and averages a healthy 10.6 yards per pass attempt.
6. Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Memphis is positioned as one of the favorites from the Group of 5 ranks after a 4-0 mark in September. Lynch is a big reason why the Tigers are unbeaten, as the junior passed for 1,230 yards and eight scores and completed 73.5 percent of his passes in September.
7. Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Prescott has quietly continued to post impressive numbers through the first month of the season. The senior has yet to toss an interception (142 attempts) and has passed for 1,069 yards and seven scores. Just how good is Prescott? LSU has allowed only 589 passing yards through three games – 335 came from Prescott in Week 2.
8. Brandon Doughty, WKU
Doughty was held in check against Vanderbilt in the season opener, but the senior has passed for at least 400 yards in each of his last three starts and has just two interceptions on 155 pass attempts. The senior is also the nation’s active leader in career passing yards (9,391).
9. Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech
Mahomes closed 2014 with a fury, tossing 14 touchdown passes in the final three games. The sophomore has picked up where he left off, guiding Texas Tech to an upset win over Arkansas and just missed out on a victory against TCU in Week 4. Mahomes has passed for 1,421 yards and 11 scores, while rushing for 165 yards and three touchdowns in 2015.
10. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
It’s a tough call between Mayfield and Michigan State’s Connor Cook for the last spot on this list. The edge for September goes to Mayfield, as the Texas Tech transfer has provided a spark for the Oklahoma offense, passing for 1,062 yards and 10 scores and adding 139 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.