Four games away from finishing the Iowa football regular season, senior QB Nate Stanley was named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
While the honor of being named one of ten finalists for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award is an accomplishment in itself for the third-year signal-caller for the Iowa football program, does he stand a chance?
If we’re being honest, not really. It’s just too good of a year for senior quarterbacks in college football, and there is almost zero chance that Stanley wins this thing unless the wheels absolutely fall off the wagon for multiple guys.
Even then, Stanley would have to put together, quite possibly, the most impressive six-game stretch for an Iowa football quarterback in the history of the program. And if you’re doing the math in your head, yes, this means the Hawks would also need to run the table and make the Big Ten Championship game for six games to happen.
I do think the Iowa football team could win out in the regular season, but it just won’t be enough when you consider who Stanley is going up against.
All four of the guys below are considered possible first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft with Hurts being the biggest question mark from a draft perspective, but in addition to being possibly high draft picks, they also have a better resume than Stanley.
For comparison’s sake, Stanley’s Iowa Hawkeyes are 6-2 and ranked just inside the top-20. This season, he is completing 60.7% of his passes for 1,950 yards 10 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions.
Joe Burrow, LSU: Burrow has to be the frontrunner for this award. He currently has thrown for almost 1,000 yards more than Stanley for the top-ranked LSU Tigers. He also has 30 touchdowns and 4 interceptions.
Justin Herbert, Oregon: Oregon has one loss and Herbert has thrown just one interception to go along with his 2,104 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma: Although the loss to Kansas State hurts the team, it wasn’t because of Hurts, the former starting quarterback of the Alabama Crimson Tide. He has thrown for 2,469 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 3 interceptions.
Jacob Eason, Washington: Eason’s resume most closely resembles Stanley’s. The Huskies have more losses (3) and Eason has thrown for just 31 more yards in a significantly weaker Pac-12, but he has thrown 6 more touchdowns and 2 fewer interceptions.
At best, Stanley could finish fourth, right in front of Eason, but it’s just very unlikely he surpasses all four of these guys considering he would need to average 5 touchdown passes in the next 4 games just to tie Burrow.
And unfortunately, even though it’s not all Stanley’s fault, he has thrown more interceptions and he has thrown for the least amount of yards of everyone in the bunch, and numbers matter for awards like this.
Maybe another year for an Iowa football quarterback.