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MIDSEASON META: COLT IS NOT A CANDIDATE

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I haven't followed the still-nascent race for the Trophy Which Must Not Be Named, and with any luck, this will be the last time I mention. No single player stands out that much.

Maybe because there is no frontrunner, SportsCenter was still teasing into commercial breaks this morning by asking whether Colt Brennan has a chance to win the H*i*m*n (I didn't mean to watch, but I was in public and it couldn't be avoided), the Colt Brennan Blog is still sizing up his chances for an invitation to New York and I'm getting hits after chronicling the Warriors' latest win Monday from a site called Brennan For Heisman, which informs readers

Hawaii Warriors QB Colt Brennan nears all-time records for college football passing, touchdowns, and completion percentage - yet his playing seven hours behind the East Coast keeps him off most Heisman voters radar.
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Is this the nature of our unjust, regionally biased system? That young Colt can't get a break simply because of where he plays?

Here, as Zadie Smith might say, are some facts:

Top 13 BCS QBs by Passer Rating...and Colt Brennan
Comp. % Yds./Pass TD % INT % Rating Avg. D Rank*
A 70.7 9.3 11.1 2.2 181.1 73.9
B 74.4 9.1 8.9 0.9 178.4 102.9
C 70.4 9.1 8.9 1.2 173.5 71.0
D 65.5 9.8 8.8 2.0 173.1 49.3
E 62.5 10.8 7.1 3.6 169.8 84.7
F 67.7 9.3 7.7 1.4 168.7 61.6
G 71.6 8.5 6.9 1.0 163.5 75.2
H 65.4 8.5 10.1 3.8 162.2 83.4
I 63.0 8.4 9.3 2.5 159.0 88.0
J 66.3 8.7 8.1 3.5 158.9 79.3
K 69.5 8.5 7.1 3.6 157.2 92.1
L 57.1 8.7 8.4 2.1 153.2 84.8
M 63.7 7.3 8.6 1.6 149.9 58.3
N 68.9 7.7 5.9 2.2 148.5 72.5

* - Average rank of opponents' pass efficiency defense (I-AA opponents auto-ranked 120, which is generous).
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This isn't a trick: Colt is on the list. Can you find him?

If you're still under the impression Brennan has picked up where he left off last year, singing the eyelashes off WAC secondaries for 500 yards and five touchdowns a game, you might guess Brennan was Quarterback B, with a high completion rate and few interceptions against a terrible slate of defenses. Nope: QB B is Graham Harrell, who is currently on pace to beat Brennan's NCAA-best 72.6 completion rate last season but has yet to face a secondary up to par even by the standards of the lowest possible handicap.


Nothing personal, kid. You just don't have and don't deserve a chance.
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Actually, Brennan is Quarterback K. These are his peers in each category:

Completion percentage: Brennan has completed 69.5 percent of his passes, roughly equivalent to Quarterback C, Dennis Dixon, and Quarterback N, Chase Daniel.

Yards Per Pass: Brennan's 8.5 yards per pass is on pace with Quarterback G, Pat White, and Quarterback H, Todd Boeckman.

Touchdown % (TDs per attempt): Brennan's touchdown percentage is almost the lowest in the board, slightly better than White's and even with that of Quarterback E, Mike Teel.

Interception % (INTs per attempt): Brennan's interception percentage also skews to the low end (he threw five against Idaho and four Friday against San Jose State), again rivaling Teel's.

Passer Rating: Brennan's rating is nearest to the quarterback immediately in front of him on the list, Rudy Carpenter.

Average Pass Efficiency Defense Rank: Only Harrell on this list has faced a softer set of secondaries to date than Brennan, which will change before season's end.

Three quarterbacks - Sam Bradford, Harrell and Dixon - are ahead of Brennan by every measure; several more have been better in four out of five, including Quarterback D, who, considering his schedule, has probably been the most impressive: Tim Tebow.

Here are some more facts: if Brennan is a candidate for anything, he is the stat candidate to end all stat candidates. His candidacy before the season was based entirely on his gaudy numbers last year, which were impressive more for their efficiency than their record-breaking accumulation - any competent passer can rack up yards and touchdowns when they chuck it every play, but Brennan also shamed the rest of the country in terms of completion percentage, yards per pass, touchdown percentage and passer rating, measures that have nothing to do with how often you throw the ball, only how well.

He hasn't remotely approached the sheer spectacle of last year's stats or their machine-like efficiency. He's throwing for fewer yards and fewer touchdowns, but also completing a lower percentage of his passes for fewer yards per completion with dramatically more interceptions. Brennan wasn't invited to New York after near-perfection last season, and he won't be this season, but the "plays in Hawaii" argument won't fly anymore. It's not where Brennan plays, but how, and against whom, that's going to sink his candidacy, such as it ever had any buoyancy to begin with. We'll realize soon enough that Brennan is who we really always thought he was: a limited, good-not-great former walkon working in an advantageous system that occasionally puts up huge numbers against terrible competition by way of simple saturation - when you launch 75 passes in one game, as Brennan did Friday against San Jose State, yards tend to follow. Last year, Hawaii looked somewhat special offensively; now, it looks like the mirror image of Navy, the flexbone of the air, commanding statistical awe because it does what it does against the worst and does virtually nothing else. Remember: "In June Jone's system, even Timmy Chang excelled." This season, Brennan is Timmy Chang.

Re: the terrible competition, I should say that Colt Brennan is a good quarterback and I would never pick on him specifically if he wasn't getting undue hype, and especially if his team wasn't currently sitting at 17th, 16th and 18th, respectively, in the mainstream polls, a testament to blind, unthinking auto-promotion at its most rancid. Hawaii is 7-0 against the following teams:

Opponent Avg. Stat Rank Score Skinny
NORTHERN COLORADO (0-7) 107.6 (I-AA) 63-6 Even I-AA teams consider UNC a patsy.
LA. TECH (2-4) 76 45-44 (OT) Tech's wins are Central Arkansas and N.M. State. Again: overtime.
UNLV (2-5) 77 49-14 Easily the best win. Vegas has lost three straight now, but beat Utah.
CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (3-3) 64.9 (I-AA) 66-10 At least Charleston has beaten a fellow I-AA team. Hell, three of 'em!
IDAHO (1-6) 85.5 48-20 Brennan throws five picks. Vandals' one win is over I-AA Cal Poly.
UTAH STATE (0-6) 102.5 52-37 Sometimes, 0-6 speaks for itself. This is one of those times.
SAN JOSE STATE (3-4) 82.6 42-35 (OT) Spartans' wins: UC-Davis, Utah State and Idaho. Again: overtime.

For all intents and purposes, Hawaii has the proven chops of a very good I-AA team right now. Even among their brethren in the Bowl Subdivision, Utah State, Louisiana Tech and Idaho are essentially dressed up I-AA programs, one of which took the Warriors to overtime, as is San Jose State most seasons; I give the Spartans the benefit of the doubt for being 3-4, but their wins are against the aformentioned class and they were shut out by Stanford, which (USC felling notwithstanding) is not a good team. The gem of the schedule so far is beating 2-5  UNLV. In what way, under what custom, by what measure or even leap of the imagination, is this a top 20 resumé? When Auburn, a team with real wins over Kansas State, Florida and Arkansas, sits behind Hawaii in both human polls? It's a disgrace to the mainstream rankings, and will be to the BlogPoll, too, if we don't change our ways.

I think Hawaii has two chances to earn a ranking, in its final two games: vs. Boise State and vs. Washington. It will have to pass them both before I even consider the Warriors for the top 20. And Colt for H*i*m*n? After nine interceptions against Idaho and San Jose State, there is nothing to consider.

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- I think this about Matt Ryan and John David Booty right now, too. But they have the schedules for statement/redemption. Brennan doesn't. Maybe not his fault, but you play the games you play.