The most important position on the field is often the last position battle to be officially settled. Of course that is sometimes a strategic maneuver, forcing opponents to prepare without knowing exactly what kind of offense they’ll face. But for many of the biggest programs, the QB1 line remains unfilled simply because they don’t know yet.
Compared to those programs, the five power conference teams that have settled on their starters have seized an advantage. For these programs, spring practice was enough to shore up their succession plans under center.
Determining who has actually settled on a starter can be a little difficult with nearly three months until the season kicks off. On one end of the spectrum, there are programs like Auburn, where Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham seems extremely likely to be the starter, but last year’s starter Sean White was limited this spring due to injury and could conceivably regain his role in preseason camp. On the other end of the spectrum, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney declared that Kelly Bryant would be the Tigers’ starter if they played a game now, but Swinney couched the announcement so as to indicate that starter distinction merely places Bryant in the lead of a still contested battle.
But for these five quarterbacks, there’s just about no ambiguity. When their teams open the 2017, they’ll lead the offense onto the field.