Home / Notre Dame Football / 2006 Notre Dame Football Season / Troy Smith vs. Brady Quinn: The 3.3% Doctrine

Troy Smith vs. Brady Quinn: The 3.3% Doctrine

Last Saturday night I found myself halfway catatonic and all-the-way hungover on my friend’s couch in Annapolis. The Navy-ND game had ended with an Irish victory and about a half dozen of us sitting in the M&T Bank Stadium parking lot trying to sate our drunkenness with the false promise of charred animal flesh and leftover ginger ale from the Dark and Stormy’s–a traditional Navy tailgate drink, DANGEROUS stuff–that first kicked off the drinking some eight hours prior.

Thanks to a sinus infection that prevented one of us from drinking, we secured a DD and managed to safely return to Annapolis from Baltimore. (Although not without a belated stop at the Green Turtle in Edgewater for a couple rounds of Golden Tee and, for whatever reason, more beer and more Dark and Stormy’s.) As I sat there on the couch, ESPN started running its highlights.

The Minnesota-Ohio State recap came on with the headline, “Troy Smith added to his Heisman Trophy resume by running for one touchdown and throwing for another to lead No. 1 Ohio State past Minnesota 44-0.” Almost as an aside they printed Smith’s actual stats for the game: 14 for 21, 183 yds, 1 TD passing, 1 TD rushing.

That’s when it dawned on me: the national college football media is now officially blindly conceding the Heisman Trophy to Troy Smith.

Look, I’m not disputing that Smith is a superb all-around athlete and an efficient QB. And if he pulls off the win against Michigan, and does so in impressive fashion, the Heisman will be and should be his to lose.

But come on, ESPN!

Three of the four highlights you showed from the OSU-Minnesota game were of Troy Smith, and then your lead-in paragraph on ESPN.com actually used the phrase, “Troy Smith buffed up his Heisman Trophy numbers by running for one touchdown and throwing for another…” All this, for a 14-21, 183-yds, 1-TD game? Great, he had a rushing TD too. That’s what you call “buffing up” your numbers? Nice to see this “dual threat” phenom get his FIRST FREAKING RUSHING TOUCHDOWN OF THE SEASON–you know, now that we’re nine games into the season and all, and now that Smith has played the likes of Northern Illinois, Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Indiana.

Once I sobered up, I decided to look at the numbers. Maybe ESPN just forgot to mention that Quinn’s current streak of 169 consecutive passes without an interception leads all Div I-A QBs by a considerable margin. Maybe I was just imagining that Quinn, projected out over a 12-game regular season, would have an obvious statistical edge over Troy Smith. Or maybe I was simply being a naive “Domer Homer.”

Then again, maybe not…

Troy Smith, after nine games: 145-214, 1,898 yds, 67.8%, 22 TDs, 2 INTs, 1 rushing TD

Brady Quinn, after eight games: 193-303, 2,233 yds, 63.7%, 21 TDs, 4 INTs, 2 rushing TDs

Troy Smith, vs. Penn State: 12-22, 115 yds, 1 TD, 2 INTs

Brady Quinn, vs. Penn State: 25-36, 287 yds, 3 TDs, 0 INTs

Troy Smith, vs. Michigan State: 15-22, 234 yds, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

Brady Quinn, vs. Michigan State: 20-36, 319 yds, 5 TDs, 1 INT

Troy Smith isn’t getting love from NFL scouts because he’s undersized and hasn’t shown a genuine ability to be a pro-style QB aside from the occasional highlight reel play. By his own admission, Smith actually scrambles to see over linemen’s heads, and all reports are he’s closer to 5’11” than the 6’1” touted by the Ohio State media guide. He could likely go after not only Quinn in the draft–which is a given–but after Brohm, Stanton, Edwards, Palko, and Ainge.

Meanwhile, as Heisman voters ejaculate at the altar of Ohio State, Brady Quinn will quietly surpass Smith in every passing category except for completion percentage all the while playing significantly better than Troy Smith against like opponents. (Granted, the Buckeyes signal caller has a shot to change this like-opponent equation dramatically with a win over Michigan.)

But hey, for the sake of argument let’s go ahead and concede the OSU win over Michigan. Let’s assume Troy Smith leads his Buckeyes into the BCS Championship Game and is the runaway Heisman winner. Based on their current numbers, the projected stats of Troy Smith and Brady Quinn would be as follows:

Troy Smith: 193-285, 2,531 yds, 67.7%, 29 TDs, 2 INTs, 1 rushing TD

Brady Quinn: 290-455, 3,350 yds, 64.4%, 32 TDs, 6 INTs, 3 rushing TDs

Wow, I can already envision Troy Smith’s acceptance speech:

“I want to thank everyone for this great honor. A personal shout out to Brady Quinn. [Troy turns to Brady.] Yes, I realize you threw for 800 more yards and three more touchdowns, that you even ran for more touchdowns than me, and that in the only meaningful comparison—our stats against like opponents—you embarrassed me, but I have a 3.3% better completion percentage, which was obviously too impressive for the Heisman voters to ignore.”

A preemptive congrats on your Heisman, Mr. Smith. See you in the second round of the NFL draft.

And as an added note, why not give every major award to an Ohio State player: the Jim Thorpe Award, the Butkus Award, etc. If the only overriding requirement for an award is that you’re an athletic and efficient player on the #1 team in the country, then why isn’t Ted Ginn, Jr. putting the finishing touches on his Biletnikoff acceptance speech?

(I have no doubt that somewhere in Columbus a red-faced Buckeyes fan is preparing a rambling defense of why Ginn, contrary to the belief of every living soul in the college and NFL football media, is superior to Calvin Johnson.)


  1. Im closing comments on this post b/c there’s been too many ones I had to delete from both ND and OSU fans.

  2. Differing opinions are more than welcome here, I delete posts people might find offensive or that have profanity. We more than welcome other fans to post here, but keep the posts clean and they won’t be deleted.

    For the record, the Ohio State fans have taken this whole post way out of context. McSweeney’s point was that everyone in the media seems to have completely written off Quinn at this point when both are comparable quarterbacks.

  3. To Notre Lame. It is quite clear that you can make up a very original name. If you’re trying to offend someone, its not working. Something I don’t understand is how everyone is obsessing over Troy Smith when he is 32 in the Top 50 list for the NFL First Round Draft Pick. Brady Quinn is number 1. Brady Quinn makes great plays and is truly one of (if not the) best quarterbacks in college football. Now I also think that Troy Smith is talented and I understand that he should be considered for the Heisman, I just think that Brady Quinn shows more of what a Heisman winner looks like. Troy Smith depends on his team to help him on plays. Quinn makes the plays happen. I hope he wins the Heisman.

  4. To: Notre Lame

    1. Weis is an Offensive guru (meaning throws the ball alot)
    2. Notre Dame not a strong defense (meaning games are closer than Ohio State vs. Sisters of the Poor)
    3. ND weak schedule? (Indiana / Minnesota / Illinois (almost lost) / Bowling Green / NIU / Cincy / Michigan St. / Northwestern..last time I looked they had Div. II talent
    4. Douche Bag (meaning every Ohio State that is Jealous over Notre Dame again being in the spotlight)
    5. Sleep Tight….and pray you don’t awake to find Troy stealing money, oh wait he already did that

  5. The truth hurts, doesn’t it, Bucks fans?

    After the Illinois game Troy Smith has gone from average to mediocre.

  6. im from ohio my girlfriend goes to school in columbus and also lives on campus i party there and have a good time I also i bleed blue and gold and i have proof that all ohio state fans are the biggest idiots in the world most of the people at the games are freshman volley girls who ask each other what a 1st down is. its true just drive down 23 ill prove it go irish and brady will win the heisman

  7. Nice sweaters Jimmy boy, your Offense is as unimaginative as your clothing. By the way, your punter gets more action than your 4th down calls (no guts). Take a shower and wash the yellow streak off your back, then grab for your nuts which you do not have, then maybe you can dream about all the rings Charlie has on his fingers compared to you.
    By the way nice Big Ten schedule…Don’t worry GOLDENBOY, a Buckeye fan is one that either never played a sport except for “pocketpool” or thought by playing MADDEN Football you knew football. By the way, where were all you bandwagoners when COOPER was in town, oh that’s right you were drinking your draft beer and watching the Browns or Bengals….

  8. I thought the Heisman goes to the best college football player but apparently it’s based on a comparison of common opponents.

    By the way, Brady’s leading Troy in another category as well…number of picks returned for TD’s.

    Go Bucks!

  9. Regardless of what the North High Street Institution (otherwise known as OSU) does next week, it will just be another example of a padded schedule and a “gimme” win. Too bad Illinois couldn’t come back today. But mark my words, there will be the day that the air comes out of that balloon and the idiot fans will crawl back into the woodwork where they belong. I can’t stand Michigan but I hope they knock the snot out of Troy Smith and put him right on his ass because he’s just a good QB at best. OSU’s day will come and I will celebrate for a year when they go down. My greatest hope is that they experience 10-plus years of a downward slide just to prove the point that everyone in this state is a bandwagon fan. I’m always tickled to see a team like OSU fall from the top. And when they do, I’ll have to be just like the fans in this town and set my mattress on fire. God, I hate Ohio State!

  10. Troy, way to show that you are the front runner against a powerhouse like Illinois. Zero TD’s – 1 Int. – barely 100 yards. Can’t wait till Michigan…It must also suck for the Buckeye nation that a home grown boy from Dublin, Ohio went out of state. Anyways, another subpar performance against another powerhouse like Northwestern (nice Conference)and a drubbing by Michigan will leave Troy searching for a home in the late rounds on NFL draft. Anyone catch ESPN pre-game: Q: ask of Troy was name the last three Heisman winners – 2 right and clueless on the other. I guess we know what he is not studying!

  11. How about these stats of the day

    T. Smith (OSU) 13-23, 107, 0 TD. big day Troy nice job

    B. Quinn (ND) 23-35, 346, 4 TD

    Basically the exact same opponent, nearly identical records.

  12. How about some more fact.

    –Troy Smith: 214 pass plays. 1898 Yds, 22 TDs, 2 ints.
    8.87 Yds per attmpt, .10 Td’s, 0.009 ints.

    –Brady Quinn: 303 pass plays. 2233 Yds, 21 TDs, 4 Ints.

    7.37 Yds per attmpt, .07 Tds, .013 Ints.

    Brady Quinn is an excelent QB.
    Troy Smith is in a league of his own this year.

  13. The only reason Brady has better stats is because he’s thrown nearly 100 more passes.

    Smith – 8.9 YPA
    Quinn – 7.4 YPA

    Smith – 1 TD every 9 passes
    Quinn – 1 TD every 14 passes

    Smith – 1 INT every 107 passes
    Quinn – 1 INT every 75 passes

    Smith – 174.3 QB Rating
    Quinn – 145.8 QB Rating

    Smith: 9-0
    Quinn: 7-1


  14. Terry,

    Wow, you’re a little off topic there aren’t you? Can you spell DEFENSIVE? I guess the thought of OSU picking up that seventh Heisman is more than you can stand. I thought this thread was about Smith and Quinn. Brady Quinn may well be the best quarterback in college football this year and would me a deserving winner of the O’Brien(?) Award. I believe that Troy Smith is the best football player, even if he isn’t the best QB. Smith brings more to OSU’s offense and team than most quarterbacks around the country. I don’t know how to quantify his leadership with statistics, other than 9-0. Brady definitely is the far better NFL prospect, but that’s not what the Heisman is about.

  15. These are hypothetical ?s but worthing asking:




    Keep this in mind: Smith doesn’t have to put up eye-popping #s b/c he’s supported by a fantastic running game, an overpowering O-Line & an unexpectedly awesome defense. On the other hand, Quinn’s O-Line has regressed since last year (look at those sack #s) and his defense is average or worse which means he’s constantly playing in shoot-outs w/ average or worse teams.

  16. This is regarding the “Notre Lame”:
    Can you spell JEALOUSY…Ohio State Fans, Media outlets, all other non-Notre Dame fans across the country. It must be a real “pain the ass” to imagine that the Most recognized University, with the Greatest Football program, Best fight song (voted year after year), is back in the spotlight after several mediocre years. With most National Championships (11) (Ohio State how many?), most Heisman Winners (7) (How many Ohio State-not “7” as you think), with the greatest names in College Football (Rockne, Leahy, Gipp, Four Horsemen, Montana, Brown)…the list is too many to recount. Now the Buckeyes..can you say Maurice Clarett (the Best known criminal to ever play College football)Oh yes, he won you a National Championship after decades of not having won one…feather in the Buckeye Nation cap!
    By the way, when you won the Fiesta Bowl what did you do with the 14 million dollars…that’s right you kept maybe 1.5 million then gave the rest to the rest of the Big Ten teams…We kept it all! By the way speaking of “weak schedules”, try to play less than three “Ohio” schools a year…Playing talent that is on the Division 1-AA level is sad. Also, can you name who was the last Ohio State Alumnus elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame or won an MVP award? Me neither… I know ND will have Bettis and Brown, and there was a guy named Montana who took several MVP trophies. Truth be told Ohio State might get guys drafted, but within a year or several they are out of football and retelling their College heroics at the neighborhood pub or from under a bridge without a college degre in hand….
    Did you catch the Weis story on 60 Minutes (CBS) the other day. Probably not, you were looking for an Ohio State story, right. Court TV or COPS had ran several stories.
    Finally, Brady looked real good playing on the Baltimore Ravens Home field last week, just getting used to playing on Sundays. Troy, get used to possibly playing in the defensive backfield, if your drafted.

  17. I grew up in Dublin, Ohio and want to see Brady Quinn succeed. I have no doubt he will be the MVP of a Super Bowl one day. However, we are talking about an award that is for the best college football player. If OSU beats UM and wins the NC, Troy will absolutely deserve the Heisman. Why? Well we can debate stats all day – but in the end you want the guy that can lead his team to a victory in the big games. Based on both of their college careers – that battle my friend goes to Troy. (It is too bad we can’t have a rematch in the NC game)

  18. Troy Smith with never be a quarterback in the NFL. At most, at the very most, he will be another Antwaan Randle El. He’s a undersized QB who will follow in the footsteps of all black quarterbacks……those footsteps are no where. Quinn is by far the best QB in college football, bar none.

  19. Here’s what’s going to happen: Troy Smith & mighty OSU will beat Michigan & their #2 defense; Smith will have average numbers that may not be pretty but will be timely. The TV talking heads (Musberger, John Saunders, Mark May, Rodney Gilmore, Michael Wilbon, etc) will cream their pants singing the praises of the greatest dual threat QB of the century…Troy Smith.

    The fact that ND QB Quinn will fail to win Heisman is still little consolation for the aforementioned idiots who were praying that Weis would do no better than Willingham & continue their “ND is racist rant”. I never understood that viewpoint…if ND were racist why would they hire Ty to begin with? Oh yeah, when the PC police & liberal (yes, even in sports) media are involved, the only “free speech” allowed is the speech that they agree with.

    Anyway, as an ND fan, I’m man enuf to admit that Quinn had his shot vs. Michigan & blew it. Take away the preseason media hype over ND and this is still a team that’s 2 yrs away.
    Remember Weis is stuck w/ playing average, at best, leftover athletes from the failed Bob Davie/Ty Willingham regime. This includes a junion class that now consists of 8 players! Weis has a quality QB in Quinn, great receiver in Samardzjia & NFL prospect in TE Carlson. Other than that: AVERAGE and not worthy of a BCS invite. I’m not being defeatist just realistic…they go to another BCS and you’ll see another embarrassing loss which means no bowl victory since after ’93 season.

  20. well if you would have read into it a little i was referring to how the media blows their performances way out of per portion and praises them for every damn thing that they do and living in ohio it is very disturbing to hear all of that day in and day out

  21. OSU dominant over pathetic teams? Are we saying that ND doesn’t play pathetic teams? Judging from their schedule, I would say they do. I must say that I am glad ND will not have the opportunity to play Ohio State this year. OSU would then, how was it put? Oh yes, it was Dan who said it: “dominance over pathetic teams continues.”

  22. To all ND fans:

    Please remove Brady Quinn’s member from your mouths.