LITTLE ROCK — Judging the Best Quarterback in the SEC contest, there are no rules.
The winner is not necessarily the most prolific passer nor the guy taking the snaps on an unbeaten team. Re: the latter, note that LSU was 13-0 with two nondescript quarterbacks.
The quarterback competition will unfold during the next 90-plus days. Meanwhile, here is a pop quiz about the starters at all 14 schools. Found at the end, some answers are easy; others require research.
1. Just win: Never in any conversation about the best in the league, he completed 67 percent of his passes in 2011 with 16 TDs and five interceptions. Hint: Owns a national championship ring.
2. Best dual threat: More impressive than his 63 percent completion rate is the fact that he carried the ball 11 times or more in 12 of 13 games. Hint: A newcomer to the SEC.
3. Most upside: Only threw a dozen passes in 2011, but was third on the team in rushing. Beat out a junior who started six games last year. Hint: Has an Arkansas following.
4. Best NFL prospect: A trick question with two acceptable answers from the trio with the same first name. Hint: Because of the supporting cast, one will do better than the other.
5. Best football genes: An erratic passer, he ran for two touchdowns, staking his team to a 21-7 lead over Arkansas. Hint: His brother might be the best qb in the NFL.
6. Wide-eyed: A redshirt freshman, his first start was supposed to be a warm-up for his school’s SEC debut. Hurricane Isaac altered that and now his first assignment is Florida. Hint: His selection as the starter was in a news release.
7. Break-out year: He and his coach are on the same page, a welcome change for a coach who has had a habit of yanking quarterbacks. Hint: Handing off to a great running back will help.
8. On the spot: If, as proclaimed, he can throw downfield, the team will play for the national championship. Hint: His predecessor’s 31 touches produced 68 yards in the BCS title game.
9. Sharing time: One will play the first quarter, the other the second quarter this week. Hint: Both are sophomores at a school with three Heisman-winning quarterbacks since 1966.
10. What have you done for me lately: Won 10 in a row last year, but hit only 50 percent of his 72 passes in his final two games, both losses. Hint: Second team behind Tyler Wilson on the coaches’ preseason All-SEC team.
11. Long wait: Once the top-rated quarterback in Mississippi, he sat out a year and played sparingly during the next two. Hint: The head coach prefers the run, but will adjust to his passing ability.
12. Sympathetic figure: At 6-4, 224, he looks the part, but his team was 1-3 last year when he was the primary quarterback and little improvement is expected. Hint: Sat out the season finale with an injury while a wide receiver played quarterback and beat Tennessee.
13. Dead even: His coach promised to avoid the word “starter” when choosing between a junior and a junior college transfer. Hint: Folks in Conway will pay attention to the decision.
The answers: 1, A.J. McCarron, Alabama. 2, James Franklin, Missouri. 3, Kiehl Frazier, Auburn. 4, Tyler Wilson, Arkansas, and Tyler Bray, Tennessee. 5, Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt. 6, Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M. 7, Connor Shaw, South Carolina. 8, Zach Mettenberger, LSU. 9, Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel, Florida. 10, Aaron Murray, Georgia. 11, Tyler Russell, Mississippi State. 12, Maxwell Smith, Kentucky. 13, Bo Wallace and Barry Brunetti, Ole Miss.
The best? Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said it best when he wrote that hard-core pornography was hard to define, but that “I know it when I see it.”
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.