The Contestants: Ricky Stanzi (Iowa) and Stephen Garcia (South Carolina)
|2008 - Ricky Stanzi||12||135.3||137||235||58.3||1809||150.8||13.2||13||7||52||14||1.2||0.3||0||-||-|
Other than an occasional surprise play-action pass, Iowa doesn't throw the ball a whole lot until they get into third-and-long situations, preferring the put the offense into the capable hands of Shonn Greene. In contrast to South Carolina, Stanzi has attempted 235 passes this year, whereas Garcia and Smelley have combined for over 370. That said, Stanzi comes into this contest as a proven asset with a respectable resume. His 135.3 rating is solid, as is his 13-7 TD-INT ratio. Fumbles have been a problem for him at times, but he's typically been a reliable player.
|2008 - Stephen Garcia||7||124.1||56||104||53.8||753||107.6||13.4||6||5||65||173||24.7||2.7||2||-||-|
The most talked about player in Gamecocks history has had his ups and downs this year. At halftime of the LSU game, there was reason to believe that he was one of the best QBs in the SEC after he played well against UAB, bailed us out against Kentucky, and led us to a momentary lead over the Tigers after a stirring second-quarter performance. If I remember correctly, he sported a QB rating of over 150 after the Kentucky game and a lot of us thought he might be the second coming of Tim Tebow. Since halftime against LSU, however, Garcia has come back down to earth. His inability to respond to LSU's blitzes likely cost us that game. His performance against Tennesee was OK but was unspectacular. He played fairly dismally against Arkansas and Florida while rotating with Chris Smelley.
Why the change of fortunes? I, for one, believe Spurrier when he says that Garcia's problems stem from a lack of knowledge of the playbook. In early performances, that wasn't so much of a problem because teams didn't know what to expect from him. Now, however, that's not the case, and it shows. I still believe that Garcia has all the physical tools necessary to be a great SEC quarterback. He has a strong, accurate arm and can pick up yards on the ground occasionally. But despite the rants of the clowns that say Spurrier should let Garcia "do his thing," Garcia must improve his football smarts if he's ever going to live up to his potential. Garcia is a mobile QB, but he's not Kordell Stewart. That said, I wouldn't be averse to hearing that Spurrier has added a few plays to his playbook that take advantage of Garcia's mobility.
Although I think Garcia has the potential to be much better than Stanzi one day, Stanzi has clearly been the better player this year due to his having demonstrated a level of consistency that Garcia has lacked. That said, there's hope that Garcia can learn a few things over the next two weeks, and if he does, he could be a dangerous player that could transform this offense. Early reports out of practice are positive, but until we see the results on the field, Iowa wins this battle.