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Daily Brews: PFF not bullish on Michigan’s quarterback situation

The Wolverines rank just 70th in the nation per the website.

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Pro Football Focus can be a polarizing website, but its focus on evaluation through actual data makes its rankings a little more solidified than an arbitrary list. While no rankings list is perfect, the college quarterbacks rundown PFF produced earlier this week provides some good benchmarks heading into the season.

The methodology is not 100 percent transparent, but does factor in every quarterback’s past plays and some proprietary metrics. The premise of the list is fairly simple:

Which programs are in the best and worst shape at the quarterback position as we look forward to the 2021 college football season?

With the help of PFF College’s advanced database, we can proceed to answer that question. Taking into account each projected starter’s play-by-play grading profile and several other data points, in addition to film and scheme review, here are PFF’s annual college quarterback rankings for all 130 FBS programs.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Michigan does not show up until the fourth tier — “The Average” — with teams No. 52 through 78. At No. 70 on the list, PFF slots the combination of Cade McNamara and Alan Bowman, well behind Indiana’s Michael Penix (5), Ohio State’s C.J Stroud (20), and even the Michigan State duo of Payton Thorne and Anthony Russo (62).

McNamara entered 2020 as the backup and had a good but not great year, so there is no surprise that he is not seen as a top-tier option. The same could be said for Bowman, who has plenty of potential but was a transfer for a reason. Still, it seems hard to believe that Michigan will be in the bottom half of college football in quarterback play this season.

For one thing, J.J. McCarthy is not even listed here, which makes sense given what we have heard from coaches thus far and PFF’s lack of college data from the incoming freshman. However, if both McNamara and Bowman are not up to the task, I do think McCarthy would (and should) see the field this fall, and his raw talent gives him a chance at being successful even as a freshman.

Between the three options at quarterback, the Wolverines are likely to have some solid performances this season. If the Day One starter (presumably McNamara right now) does not meet the standards, there are two other players who can certainly take over. No matter what happens, I do not envision this group ending up as low as the preseason metrics suggest right now.

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