By now you have probably seen or read or heard about Joe Southwick's stellar, starter-worthy performance in the Boise State spring game. The rumors are true. He was as good as I have ever seen him, and the thought of him starting on August 31 against Michigan State no longer gives me hives. In the eyes of everyone who is not a Nick Patti fan, Southwick's play on Saturday cemented his status as the favorite in the Boise State quarterback competition. But let's face it. We're all Nick Patti fans, aren't we?
Welcome to Boise State's complicated, clear-cut quarterback battle.
The consensus among partisan viewers is that Southwick is the clear No. 1 and Patti, while impressive, has some catching up to do. The consensus among Pat-heads is that the junior and the teenager are thisclose, and also, NICK PATTI TIL WE DIE!
How can a fan base watch the same scrimmage and come to different conclusions? Why do birds suddenly appear every time Nick Patti is near? The answers are not easy to come by.
Part of it is that Bronco Nation has seen Southwick in game situations and, after doing so, really would prefer to not see him again. Bitter feelings from five-yard checkdowns on 3rd and 10 tend to paint a guy in a corner.
Then there's the aura of a new, highly touted true freshman riding into Boise on his chariot of dreams and playing well enough in the spring game to warrant Bronco Nation's exceedingly high expectations and wishes of a four-year starter. Kellen Moore played as a freshman. Why can't Patti? (Note: Moore started as a redshirt freshman and was an afterthought in the QB competition won by Taylor Tharp.)
I left the scrimmage feeling confident that Joe Southwick could handle the starting job at Boise State and that, were the season to start tomorrow, he earned the opportunity to start against Michigan State. Then I got home and opened the Internet and realized half of Bronco Nation disagreed.
Fortunately, the Southwick - Patti debate can continue all summer long because Boise State has no intentions of naming a starter until Fall Camp is all but over (that gives even Jimmy Laughrea and Grant Hedrick a do-over). But don't think Saturday's scrimmage was played in vain. It gave Joe Southwick credibility. It calmed the nervous hearts of Southwick fatalists. It gave Patti fans all the more reason to dream. It couldn't have done a better job encouraging Bronco fans that, whether the starter is a seasoned veteran or a fresh-faced freshman, Boise State is going to be okay.
And though it may have done enough to decide the quarterback competition in the minds of the media, some fans, and perhaps, secretly, some of the coaches, it did nothing to keep Bronco Nation from talking QBs all summer long.
It's going to be a fun offseason.