Here is the list in order of the top 25 ranked starting NFL quarterbacks (as assessed by the NFL.com fantasy prediction Web site) and their colleges:
Philip Rivers–NC State
Kurt Warner–N Iowa
Tony Romo–E Illinois
Ben Roethlisberger–Miami of Ohio
Brett Favre–S Miss
Eli Manning–Ole Miss
David Garrard–E Carolina
I was listening to Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio this morning, and he made a really interesting observation (yes, he is a misogynist right-wing dumbfuck asshole, but he does have some insight into sports). Of those top 25 NFL starting quarterbacks, only seven played in legitimate top-25 college programs; of the top ten NFL starters, only three played at top-25 colleges.
Cowherd’s interpretation of this is that college QBs who play in top programs rarely have to struggle to win and never get hit–and rarely even challenged–by defenses, because their offensive lines and receivers so overwhelmingly physically dominate the vast majority of defensive players they face. This provides very little preparation for what they will experience in the NFL. In contrast, QBs at lesser programs have been forced to routinely succeed in situations that are much more like what they will face in the NFL: defenses that are, at a minimum, very evenly matched physically with the offense, and able to hurry, harry, and beat the living crap out of them.
This got me thinking about the relative success of PIs who trained in “top-25″ labs–huge-ass, well-funded, with tons of outstanding technical support and fancy-ass equipment and reagents, and surrounded by many brilliant people–and those who scrapped it out in smaller, less-funded, tech-impoverished, and intellectually less vibrant environments. I have my own thoughts about this, but I am interested in readers’ thoughts first.