Football: Quarterback rankings, 2005-2007

Important note (Oct. 28): An error on my part threw off the 2007 numbers. This post remains for archival purposes only, not for reference. A corrected version of this post is here. Kids, always proofread your work.

A few notes before the rankings:

I used adjusted net yards per pass attempt (which counts sack yardage, adds 10 yards per TD, and penalizes 45 yards per INT) for all quarterbacks with at least 112 attempts. (UPDATE: As noted by Greg Layson, rushing yardage/TDs don't count here.) This number was then compared to their conference average, under the assumption that some conferences are more conducive to the passing game than others.

The second number below is adjusted net yards per attempt. First number, which they're ranked by, compares the player to his league, with 100 representing league average. Bigger than 100 is that much above conference average, less than 100 is that much below (e.g., 74 is 26% below).

Brief example: "1. 167, 9.6, John Makie" means Makie led the CIS that year, and passed for 9.6 adjusted yards per attempt, which was 67% better than the CanWest average.

With that out of the way, let's see the rankings. I've included everyone, not just the top 10 or top 20:

1. 164, 9.1, Joshua Sacobie, Ottawa
2. 163, 8.0, Dan Brannagan, Queen's
3. 163, 9.1, Adam Archibald, McMaster
4. 140, 8.7, Erik Glavic, Saint Mary's
5. 131, 7.4, Jean-Philippe Shoiry, Sherbrooke
6. 121, 6.7, Teale Orban, Regina
7. 119, 6.9, John Makie, Manitoba
8. 118, 6.8, Ian Noble, Laurier
9. 116, 6.9, Laurence Nixon, Saskatchewan
10. 114, 6.8, Bret Thompson, Saskatchewan

11. 109, 6.1, Jesse Andrews, Bishop's
12. 107, 4.8, Steve Snyder, StFX
13. 104, 5.5, Marc-olivier Brouillette, Montreal
14. 101, 4.9, Justin Dunk, Guelph
15. 95, 6.7, Cesar-roberto Sanchez, Laval
16. 92, 4.8, Quade Armstrong, Alberta
17. 89, 4.8, Michael Faulds, Western
18. 87, 3.5, David Hamilton, Toronto
19. 83, 4.6, Keith Lockwood, Acadia
20. 81, 3.8, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser

21. 81, 4.4, Kelly Hughes, Mount Allison
22. 80, 4.6, Matt Connell, McGill
23. 73, 3.7, Luke Balch, Waterloo
24. 67, 3.0, Michael Hyatt, York
25. 49, 2.0, Andrew Gillis, Toronto
26. 49, 2.4, Marc Mcveigh, UBC

Notables missing the cut:
n/a. 140, 9.8, Benoit Groulx, Laval (87 attempts, would have been fourth)

1. 167, 9.6, John Makie, Manitoba
2. 155, 8.8, Benoit Groulx, Laval
3. 153, 8.1, Dan Lumley, Windsor
4. 146, 7.8, Joshua Sacobie, Ottawa
5. 146, 7.7, Adam Archibald, McMaster
6. 141, 8.1, Teale Orban, Regina
7. 123, 7.0, Billy Robinson, Saint Mary's
8. 113, 6.0, Jamie Partington, Laurier
9. 112, 6.4, Jean-philippe Shoiry, Sherbrooke
10. 112, 6.4, Chris Judd, Acadia

11. 109, 6.3, Bret Thompson, Saskatchewan
12. 109, 5.8, Justin Dunk, Guelph
13. 107, 6.1, Blake Smelser, UBC
14. 103, 5.9, Justin Connors, StFX
15. 97, 5.5, Matt Connell, McGill
16. 96, 5.5, Scott Syvret, Concordia
17. 93, 4.9, Dan Brannagan, Queen's
18. 88, 4.7, Bart Zemanek, York
19. 86, 4.6, Jon Morbey, Waterloo
20. 83, 4.4, Michael Faulds, Western

21. 83, 4.7, Kelly Hughes, Mount Allison
22. 76, 4.3, Dalin Tollestrup, Calgary
23. 72, 3.8, David Hamilton, Toronto
24. 61, 3.5, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser
25. 60, 3.4, Jesse Andrews, Bishop's
26. 53, 3.1, Cameron Linke, Alberta

Notables missing the cut:
n/a. 137, 7.8, Erik Glavic, Saint Mary's (66 attempts, would have been seventh)

1. 167, 9.3, Benoît Groulx, Laval
2. 162, 9.9, Michael Faulds, Western
3. 152, 9.3, Ryan Pyear, Laurier
4. 149, 7.8, Steven Bilan, Saskatchewan
5. 144, 7.5, Darryl Salmon, Alberta
6. 142, 6.6, Billy Robinson, Saint Mary's
7. 136, 8.3, Adam Archibald, McMaster
8. 126, 7.0, Jonathan Jodoin, Montréal
9. 123, 6.4, Teale Orban, Regina
10. 122, 6.4, Ryan Zahara, Manitoba

11. 122, 5.7, Chris Judd, Acadia
12. 116, 6.4, Scott Syvret, Concordia
13. 114, 6.9, Danny Brannagan, Queen's
14. 110, 6.7, Justin Dunk, Guelph
15. 108, 6.6, Josh Sacobie, Ottawa
16. 106, 4.9, Nick Chessa, StFX
17. 105, 6.4, Jon Behie, McMaster
18. 103, 5.4, Blake Smelser, UBC
19. 92, 4.8, Jason Marshall, Simon Fraser
20. 86, 4.8, Matt Connell, McGill

21. 84, 5.1, Jon Dent, Windsor
22. 76, 4.6, Jon Morbey, Waterloo
23. 68, 3.6, Charles Guedo, Calgary
24. 65, 3.9, Bart Zemanek, York
25. 64, 3.9, Mark Stinson, Toronto
26. 63, 3.5, Marc-andré Tougas, Sherbrooke
27. 60, 3.3, Joel Lefebvre, Bishop's
28. 50, 3.0, David Hamilton, Toronto
29. 3, 0.1, Eric Morris, Mount Allison*

* 97% below average?! That can't be possible. Well, believe it: he threw 524 yards in 8 games, with no touchdowns against ten interceptions.

What can we see here?
  • Josh Sacobie's rise to the top: 16th in 2005, 4th in 2006, 1st last year.
  • Same idea for Brannagan, too.
  • A weird 2006 for Western's Michael Faulds. 20th out of 26th for a 5-3 team? A year after he was second-best? Must be something more there.
  • Toronto QBs were, technically speaking, never the worst in the country, so they've got that going for them.
  • The inability of the CIS to handle hyphenated names. Sorry, wrong topic.
  • The Top 10 passing seasons in the last three years: Makie '06, Groulx '05, Sacobie '07, Archibald '07, Brannagan '07, Faulds '05, Groulx '06, Lumley '06, Pyear '05, Bilan '05

Now, crunching the numbers is all well and good, but this is where you come in to provide context, reader. For instance, these rankings (which are only called "rankings" to spark debate, not declare "Orban is #6") may mirror the quality of the team and not necessarily the QB, but I have to say more sophistication makes little sense when the quality and size of the statistics we have aren't great. Other comments are welcome.

It also goes without saying that, in a few weeks from now when real games start, you'll have a much more current version of all this "adjusted net yards per attempt" business.
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  1. Interesting that;

    -Glavic finished no better than 4th but beat out Sacobie, who ranks first, for the Hec.

    -that Teale Orban who has often been touted by some as the best QB in the CIS has never ranked higher then sixth

    -that Brannagan did so well last season, I always thought that he was inconsistent. When he is good he is very good, but he has turned in some pretty bad performances in the last three years as well. Probably has not helped that once you get by Rob Bagg, he has not had a particularly impressive receiver corps.

    -that Sacobie improves a lot each season. Bodes well for this season where he also will have a pretty good veteran receiving corps and a decent o-line.

    -that Matt Connell ranks so low each year. Yet he along with Sacobie, has a shot at surpassing the current all-time CIS passing yardage record. Both may do it

  2. Connell ranks low because he just throws so damn much. McGill must not trust their running game.

    Same deal with Teale. I don't pretend to know why he's touted as the best, but if the touters are basing that on total yardage, then they're guessing just as much as we are.

  3. The touters aren't evaluating Teale solely on yardage. He QB'd a team for 3 years that had absolutely no running game and not much of an OLine, yet they were often competitive mainly because of him. Last year was the first time that he had some run support and protection.

    Laurence Nixon making it into the top 10, in his first season as starter, when he had the worst pass protection that Huskie fans have seen, confirms that he is going to be a good one.

  4. That Nixon ranks so high in his rookie season does make him one to watch in the next three or four.

    Orban's situation makes him sound like Hec winner Tom Dennison who basically carried Queen's on his shoulders during his CIS career.

    Glavic is highly regarded, I think, because his running ability, along with his passing, adds a lot to the SMU offence.

    Glavic is out for some , or all, of this season due to injury. Let us hope the others remain healthy so that we can have a real horse race for the CIS first team all-star QB.

  5. Very interesting to see that this system ranks Brannagan so highly, and that he improved so much last year. It seems to be one of those rare occasions of statistics confirming impressions: Brannagan looked much better last season than he had previously, even if his previous years were still pretty good. The funny thing is that he had a great year and not many people noticed, because Mike Giffin was getting a lot of the credit for the Gaels' success. Brannagan does much better under this combined ranking than he does in any one stat alone (yards, completion percentage, TDs, lack of INTs, etc). This stat shows that he was effective when the Gaels decided to throw (especially considering that his receiving corps wasn't too scary, as the first commenter noted), even if they weren't as pass-happy as many teams.