CBS Sports releases College Football QB Power Rankings ahead of Week 1

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Some are already calling the 2023 college football season the year of the quarterback, as the position seems more loaded than ever with elite players and top-notch talent. And ahead of the opening weekend of college football, CBS Sports decided power ranked the nation’s top passers.

The Pac-12 Conference, which will look a whole lot different next season, is seemingly stacked at the position with three QBs making the top 10. But which other conferences and teams have their QB1s represented on the list?

Check out CBS Sports’ power ranking of college football top signal callers below, a long with a handful of honorable mentions that just missed the cut.

1. Caleb Williams

QB Caleb Williams
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

To no surprise, former Heisman Trophy winner and shoo-in to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL Draft Caleb Williams ranks atop of the CBS college football QB rankings. Along with taking home the Heisman, the USC quarterback won the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Award after throwing for 4,537 yards and a nation-leading 42 touchdown passes.

Like one other quarterback on the list, Williams already got his second Heisman campaign already started by playing in Week 0 last weekend. In his first game of the season he already looked in midseason form, throwing for 278 yards and four touchdown passes versus San Jose State, including a jaw-dropping fumble turned 76-yard touchdown.

2. Drake Maye

QB Drake Maye
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North Carolina‘s Drake Maye comes in just behind Williams in the power rankings after displaying one of the most impressive freshman seasons in college football history last year. As a redshirt freshman Maye established himself as one of the premier dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, leading the Tar Heels in passing and rushing with 4,321 yards in the air, 698 on the ground, and 46 total touchdowns.

Maye spent his true freshman seasons sitting behind current Washington Commanders QB Sam Howell, and it clearly paid off. He kicks off the season in one of Week 1’s marquee matchups, taking on South Carolina in a game being featured by ESPN’s College GameDay in Charlotte, North Carolina.

3. Sam Hartman

QB Sam Hartman
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Hartman‘s Week 0 performance definitely helped boost his spot in the CBS power rankings, handling business in his Notre Dame debut. Hartman led the Fighting Irish into battle across the pond in Ireland, completing 82.6% of his passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns to defeat Navy 42-3 last weekend.

Hartman transferred into Notre Dame this offseason after an extremely accomplished five seasons at Wake Forest. He left the Demon Deacons as the school’s career leader in career completions, attempts, total touchdowns, and total yards and the ACC’s all-time leader in touchdown passes with 107.

4. Bo Nix

QB Bo Nix
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Bo Nix makes the top five after becoming one of the most impressive turnarounds in recent college football history. After three seasons of decent play at Auburn, Nix transferred to Oregon last season and looked like a completely transformed and revamped QB.

Nix notched outright career highs in nearly every statistical category, throwing for 3,593 yards and 29 touchdown passes on an extremely efficient 71.9% completion percentage. He also got it done with his legs, rushing for 510 yards and leading all Pac-12 passers with 14 scores on the ground.

5. Quinn Ewers

QB Quinn Ewers
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn Ewers has had some great expectations to live up to, formerly ranked a five-star prospect and the No. 1 QB in the nation for the 2021 class according to On3’s Industry Ranking. And last season it’s safe to say he showed why he earned that top spot.

Ewers threw for 2,177 yards and 15 touchdown passes in his first season under center for Texas, earning honorable mention Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year. But this season, all eyes are on him to take Texas to new heights and officially stamp the Longhorns as ‘back’.

6. Michael Penix Jr.

QB Michael Penix Jr.
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Michael Penix Jr. also served as a major breakout star last season for the Washington Huskies. After spending the first four seasons of his career at Indiana, Penix joined the Huskies and led one of the nation’s best offensive attacks.

He had a career season throwing for 4,641 yards (ranking second in the nation) and 31 touchdown passes. The Huskies led the nation in passing yards per game with 369.8, and will look to do the same again this season with Penix Jr. under center.

7. Carson Beck

QB Carson Beck
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest unknown of the power rankings is likely Georgia quarterback Carson Beck. The reason being that Beck has not started a single game for the Bulldogs in his entire career.

Beck won Georgia’s starting job this offseason and has big shoes to fill as he looks to uphold the national championship standard now set at Georgia. In his limited snaps in the last two seasons, Beck has completed 62.1% of his passes for 486 yards and six touchdown passes.

8. Jordan Travis

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Another quarterback, another career season. Jordan Travis like many others had a breakout season last year, throwing for a career-high 3,214 yards and 24 touchdowns along with a career-low five interceptions.

He also got it done with his legs with 417 yards on the ground and his third consecutive season with seven rushing touchdowns. He led Florida State to their best record since 2016 last year, and the expectations are high this season with a loaded roster to take the Seminoles to the promised land.

9. Jayden Daniels

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Travis will battle head-to-head with LSU QB Jayden Daniels yet again to open up the college football season. Like many others on the list, Daniels is a transfer portal success story, joining the Tigers from Arizona State.

Dual-threat was the name of the game for Daniels last season, throwing for 2,913 yards and rushing for 885. His 28 total touchdowns helped lead LSU to the SEC championship game in their first season under head coach Brian Kelly, and he’ll look to do so again this season.

10. J.J. McCarthy

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy rounds out the top 10 after leading Michigan to the College Football Playoff in his first season as a starter. McCarthy was surgical last season, throwing for 2,719 yards and 22 touchdowns last season on a 155.0 passer rating.

The rushing attack is a staple of Michigan’s offense, and he contributed to that as well with 306 yards on the ground and five scores on the ground. The Wolverines have made a CFP appearance and won the Big Ten in two straight seasons, the question is can McCarthy take them to new heights this year?

Honorable Mention

Dillon GabrielOklahoma
Cade Klubnik | Clemson
Joe Milton | Tennessee
Michael Pratt | Tulane
Conner Weigman | Texas A&M

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