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College football QB Power Rankings for Week One: Darnold No. 1

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  • By NFL.com
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With 2017 being billed as the "Year of the QB" in college football given the excitement about the talent at the position, we'll be tracking the top signal-callers each week of the season in our QB Power Rankings, beginning this week with our top 10 heading into Week One.


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We asked five of our writers and analysts to provide us with their personal top-10 lists, ranking the QBs 1-10 based on their evaluations entering the season. From those, we aggregated an overall top-10 list by using a points system. A player received 10 points for a first-place vote, 9 points for second place and so on through one point for a 10th-place vote.

Not surprisingly, there was a clear favorite for the No. 1 spot this week -- the darling of the college football world, USC's Sam Darnold. There's not nearly as much of a consensus about who comes after him in the pecking order, which is where these rankings get interesting.

RANK

1

Sam Darnold - USC

Points: 50

Week One opponent: Western Michigan

No surprise here. There's only one QB who received the same ranking from every voter -- Darnold was a unanimous choice for the No. 1 spot. He was voted the top player in college football, regardless of position, by our panel of experts earlier this summer.

RANK

2

Josh Rosen - UCLA

Points: 42

Week One opponent: Texas A&M

Rosen narrowly edged out Josh Allen for the No. 2 spot, so L.A. QBs hold the top couple slots in our rankings. Sunday's meeting with the Aggies will be Rosen's first game action in nearly 11 months (underwent shoulder surgery in November). He struggled in the opener last season against TAMU (three picks in an overtime loss) but the good news for Rosen is he won't be lining up across from Myles Garrett this time around.

RANK

3

Josh Allen - Wyoming

Points: 40

Week One opponent: Iowa

Allen has played against a Power Five team only once in his career, and it didn't go well -- he threw five interceptions in a 52-17 loss to Nebraska last season. He gets another chance against a P5 team on Saturday at Iowa, and the hype for Allen could really pick up if he rises to the occasion against the Hawkeyes.

RANK

4

Lamar Jackson - Louisville

Points: 36

Week One opponent: Purdue

Why isn't Jackson, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, higher in these rankings? Start with the concerns about how his game will translate to the next level. While there's no denying he's an electric playmaker, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks wrote this offseason that Jackson "needs to refine his overall game (pocket poise, footwork/mechanics and diagnostic skills) to become a franchise-quarterback prospect in the eyes of NFL evaluators." If Jackson shows improvement as a passer, he could rocket up this list.

RANK

5

Luke Falk - Washington State

Points: 27

Week One opponent: Montana State

Will Falk be the QB who weakens the stigma against QB prospects who come from the Air Raid offense? He certainly has the potential to be that guy, and adding a little more arm strength in 2017 could go a long way toward helping his cause.

RANK

6

Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma State

Points: 23

Week One opponent: Tulsa

He's not often placed in the same tier as the likes of Darnold, Rosen and Allen, but NFL.com analyst Charles Davis believes Rudolph belongs in the conversation with those QBs. With his top target, James Washington, back for another year, Rudolph is in line for a monster season.

RANK

7

Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma

Points: 15

Week One opponent: UTEP

Speaking of Big 12 QBs who put up monster numbers ... few can match Mayfield's playmaking flare. He was a Heisman finalist last year and is expected to shred defenses once more in his final collegiate season, even though he lost his top receiver, Dede Westbrook, and top RBs ( Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine) to the NFL draft. The questions about his deep-ball accuracy and pocket awareness aren't going away, but there's no college QB our Chase Goodbread would prefer over Mayfield with the game on the line.

RANK

8

Jake Browning - Washington

Points: 12

Week One opponent: Rutgers

Browning's 2016 season came to an end against a stifling Alabama defense, but, aside from a loss to USC, he tore through the Pac-12 in impressive fashion, earning conference offensive player of the year honors (tied Pac-12 record with 43 TD passes). The non-conference schedule sets up well for him to start hot out of the gate.

RANK

9

Deondre Francois - Florida State

Points: 9

Week One opponent: Alabama

No QB has a bigger stage or better opportunity to vault up these rankings in Week One than Francois. If he can outduel Nick Saban and the Alabama defense on Saturday night, he'll be the guy everyone is talking about.

RANK

10

Mike White - Western Kentucky

Points: 6

Week One opponent: Eastern Kentucky

If you're not familiar with White, the only non-Power-Five QB on this list other than Allen, he's one to get to know. He's a big QB with a strong arm who led the highest-scoring offense in the FBS last season (45.5 points per game). He also led the country in completions of 30 yards (44) or more.

Also receiving votes: Auburn's Jarrett Stidham (5 points), Missouri's Drew Lock (5 points), Mississippi State's Nick Fitzgerald (3 points), Memphis' Riley Ferguson (1 point), Ole Miss' Shea Patterson (1 point).

Voting panel: Bucky Brooks, Chase Goodbread, Daniel Jeremiah, Chad Reuter and Lance Zierlein.

Follow College Football 24/7 on Twitter @NFL_CFB.

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