The Pac-12 appears to be king of the college football landscape – when it comes to the quarterback position.
The SEC proved it was a dominant conference for years, producing solid passers in a conference made up of superstars. While the conference may still be the best overall in college sports, the Pac-12 has what every major conference wants – four or five NFL-ready passers with arms that are matched against the likes of Luck, Brady, Rodgers and Bees.
And within this cadre of supermen there is Kevin Hogan, the flame thrower who makes the Stanford Cardinal offense go. Hogan helps make the Stanford Cardinal relevant on a team that is ruled by a defensive mind (David Shaw) and an offense that has lost its running game and its offensive line.
Sometimes, in this case, it is good to lie under the radar – while Stanford is still nationally ranked and considered at contender to win the Pac-12, the names Mariota, Hundley, Mannion and Kelly loom large in these parts. Hogan fits somewhere in that list, but he is more of a middle of the pack kind of guy.
In this case, that should suit him fine.
The best thing about the Cardinal team is it can reload on offense around the play of Hogan and wide receiver Ty Montgomery. But it will still be Hogan who has to deal with a new running game and depleted offensive line. How can you argue with Hogan’s production? He tossed 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He didn’t make the developmental leap the coaches had hoped for, but it’s tough to argue with his winning percentage. Since taking over as the starter midway through 2012, he has a 16–3 record, including a 10–1 mark against ranked teams and knocked Oregon out of the national title picture on a Thursday night late in the 2013 season. It also knocked Marcus Mariota out of the Heisman Trophy discussion.
Should Hogan beat the likes of Notre Dame, Washington, Oregon, UCLA and USC, then there could be some talk of Stanford being one of those sleeper teams to earn a possible spot in the national title playoff. And if that should happen, it could be Hogan, not the likes of Mariota and Hundley who could be in New York with a shot at a Heisman for his own efforts.