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Florida's Will Grier, Treon Harris currently two of nation's best quarterbacks by stats

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Florida got two brilliant performances from its passers against New Mexico State.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

You know how Will Grier and Treon Harris managed to combine to go 30-for-37 with 381 passing yards and four touchdowns on Saturday? Yeah, that was pretty good.

Good enough, in fact, that it made Florida the only school nationally with two of the nation's top 20 quarterbacks via passer rating after Week 1, and the only program with two of the top 10 in ESPN's QBR.

Passer rating is the more traditional measurement of quarterback performance, and both Grier and Harris fare well there, with both players (Harris at 203.47, Grier at 203.02) just eclipsing the rare 1 200.00 mark.

Those numbers slot Harris in at No. 15 nationally, with Grier right behind him at No. 16.

CFB Stats Passer Rating

It is, of course, amusing to note that the No. 1 player on that list is Jeff Driskel, and Driskel aerating Southern2 — with the help of four touchdown passes of more than 20 yards, or just five fewer than he had in his entire Florida career — was one of this weekend's more pleasant surprises. And it's interesting to see Nick Stevens, recruited by Jim McElwain at Colorado State, up in the top 10.

But it's most remarkable, at least for our purposes, that Florida had not one but two incredible performances of quarterbackery in Week 1.

And the numbers for Grier and Harris look even better by ESPN's metric, which incorporates adjustments for opponent in its Total form and rates QBs on more than just the results of their throws.

QBR Total

QBR Raw

Grier, who gets a big boost from his 38-yard run, ranks fourth in both metrics, while Harris is sixth in Raw QBR and eighth in Total QBR. Again, no other team has multiple top-10 performers.

I'd be negligent to not note here that I have qualms about both passer rating (which is significantly influence by yards per attempt) and QBR (which isn't nearly as transparent as I'd like, and has some dubious adjustments for context). And both metrics are based on results; neither sees process-related aspects of QB play, things like Harris scrambling to set up a throw on the run or underthrowing Brandon Powell on his first scoring toss, or Grier looking off a safety or exhibiting perfect ball placement on a touchdown pass to C'yontai Lewis.

But the fact remains that two different rating systems both think the world of what Grier and Harris did against New Mexico State — and one of them has some built-in adjustments for the "It was just New Mexico State" crowd.

And I find it particularly impressive that Grier notched his 200.00+ passer rating without topping 10.0 yards per attempt, a feat only USC's Cody Kessler, a preseason Heisman front-runner, was able to match. Tim Tebow, who owns college football's third-highest career passer rating, reached the 200.00 plateau 10 times, but only did it twice with under 10.0 YPA, and he threw four touchdowns in each of those games — and, also, didn't come off the bench in those contests, or have a quarterback competition to win.

Whatever you think of Grier and Harris, remember this: Even if it was against an overmatched opponent, for one night, at least, they were great.

Both of them.

Star-divide


  1. For perspective on the difficulty of recording a passer rating over 200.00 in a game: Tebow did it just three times in his Heisman-winning 2007 season, and Russell Wilson, who set the modern record for single-season passer rating in 2011, notched just five performances better than 200.00.

    A passer rating of 200.00 is so difficult to achieve, in fact, that Josh Grady's lone completion, a three-yard pass in garbage time, barely preserved it for the Gators as a team — had Grady failed to complete that pass, the Gators' team passer rating would've been 197.91 for the evening. Florida also had just three team passer ratings of better than 200.00 under Will Muschamp: They came against Furman in 2011, Arkansas in 2013, and Eastern Kentucky in 2014.

  2. Driskel also destroyed FCS foe Eastern Kentucky for the Gators last year: After coming on in relief of Harris, Driskel had by far his best day as a passer in a Florida uniform at the Colonels' expense, completing nine of 11 throws for 169 yards and three touchdowns, and a similarly massive 297.06 passer rating. Driskel missed Florida's 2012 and 2013 games against FCS competition with injuries, but his ability to totally shred that level of competition certainly reminds me that Florida was missing important pieces when it took its only loss to an FCS team in its history.