Another look at Christian Ponder

Christian Ponder had a great 2009 season until suffering a shoulder injury against Clemson. Looking at the stats on how Christian Ponder stacked up for the year, he finished 18th in the Country in passer efficiency. Something does not feel right about that rating. All educated seminole fans know that Christian Ponder is much better than the 18th ranked QB in the country.

Looking at the list of the top 25 quarterbacks, it becomes blatantly obvious that many of the top passers this year were passing against subpar defenses. This is how players like Nathan Enderle of Idaho finish the year with a passer rating of 155.75. This got me thinking about how to even the playing field in terms of comparing passer efficiencies.

Gathering the data for the game stats for the top 25 QBs in the country (and Greg McElroy and Jacory Harris) and comparing the passer rating for a QB in a game against the defensive FEI of the teams he faced, I constructed a regression test to see how a Quarterback would fare against a hypothetical number 1 defense.

The table below has the top 10 QBs in the country and a few other recognizable ones and their respective passer ratings against a hypothetical number 1 defense.

QB School Rating Rank
Kellen Moore Boise St 150.08 1
Christian Ponder Florida State 143.99 2
Tony Pike Cincinnati 141.10 3
Sean Canfield Oregon St 135.11 4
Tyrod Taylor Virginia Tech 134.96 5
Max Hall BYU 134.46 6
Tim Tebow Florida 131.83 7
Andy Dalton TCU 127.17 8
Chandler Harnish N. Illinois 126.42 9
Riley Skinner Wake Forest 125.95 10
Russell Wilson NC State 124.64 12
Case Keenum Houston 123.70 14
Jacory Harris U of Miami 117.78 15
Greg McElroy Alabama 112.33 16
Ryan Mallett Arkansas 108.88 18
Colt McCoy Texas 108.23 20
Jimmy Clausen Notre Dame 96.22 22
Nathan Enderle Idaho 85.27 24


As you can see, Christian Ponder was phenomenal this year, exactly what Florida State fans have known all along. But based on these numbers, I would assume that Colt McCoy is not going to fare too well against Alabama, and many of the perceived top QB prospects in the country who are entering the NFL draft might not do so hot once they start throwing against the elite NFL defenses.

Note: This is not for all 120 Division I-A Quarterbacks, just the top 25 Quarterbacks by Passer Efficiency re-ranked by rating against a number 1 Defense FEI.

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