Fun with college football stats: Matt Barkley, our most tragic hero

Jeff Gross

Which college football quarterbacks did the most with the least?

Matt Barkley had a rough senior season. And it's too bad, because he performed well most of the time. The only issue was that Barkley was often performing his best when the rest of his team was not, as Lane Kiffin has pointed out.

In fact, 2012's Barkley had the highest quarterback rating for a college football passer whose team trailed by 15 or more points in all of the mighty cfbstats.com's six-year database.

Here's a list of the best-performing college football quarterbacks under these dire circumstances since 2007. Tragic heroes, all of them.

The sample size is minuscule for most, but it's okay to have fun with numbers.

Name School Year Attempts while down by 15 or more Rating Comments

Matt Barkley USC 2012 34 246.25 You could write a senior thesis on how Matt Barkley is college football's Sisyphus.

Nathan Enderle Idaho 2009 36 211.91 Oh, you just knew Idaho was going to make this list.

Willie Tuitama Arizona 2008 27 204.7 Pretty sure 80 percent of these passes went to Gronk.

David Johnson Tulsa 2008 23 200.5 When you play offense like Tulsa, it figures that someone would be on this list.

Darron Thomas Oregon 2008 15 193 Remember when Oregon trailed in football games?

Shane Austin Hawaii 2010 16 190.38 Down 40? Throw deep. Up 40? Throw deep. Doubt strategy changes much in Hawaii.

Max Hall BYU 2007 19 187.84 Even BYU's stats here are boring.

Graham Harrell Texas Tech 2007 52 186.32 This list wouldn't be complete without a Mike Leach quarterback.

Colby Cameron Louisiana Tech 2012 56 184.56 Might be the exception to the rule. I'm not sure you can apply despair to a Sonny Dykes offense down 35, much less 15.

Jimmy Clausen Notre Dame 2009 19 183.86 Put him on the Heisman watchlist!

Case Keenum Houston 2008 117 182.2 Houston went to a bowl game this year.

Jeremiah Masoli Oregon 2009 28 181.43 Chip Kelly doesn't let this happen much anymore.

Austin Boucher Miami (Oh) 2010 14 180.14 MACtion doesn't stop happening when the game is over.

Jordan Rodgers Vanderbilt 2012 23 180.01 That Vandy was down by 15 so seldom that only 23 attempts met criteria is the story here.

Matthew McGloin Penn State 2010 21 179.13 This season did not exist.

Jeremy Young USM 2007 17 179.03

David Fales San Jose State 2012 41 175.58 Fales was also top-20 when down by 8-14 points and top-10 when down by a score. He is the guy who falls behind in Scrabble to horde the Xs and Qs and Zs.

Bryn Renner North Carolina 2012 40 174.92 The most UNC name ever.

Ryan Nassib Syracuse 2012 61 174.87 Falling behind by 15 points is a rite of passage for a Syracuse QB. Nassib handled it well.

Giorgio Morgan Kent State 2010 17 173.3

Casey Pachall TCU 2011 28 173.14 Gary Patterson probably eats a horned frog everytime his team falls behind by this much.

Jacory Harris Miami (FL) 2008 23 172.9 He was actually just as good at falling behind by two touchdowns or more, so it was like a recursive loop.

Jonathan Perry UAB 2012 59 172.76

Geno Smith West Virginia 2011 22 172.3 Anyone noticed a bunch of air raid quarterbacks on this list?

Carson Coffman Kansas State 2010 41 171.01

Jeff Tuel Washington State 2010 103 166.52 Never has so much been sacrificed for so little.

Name School Year Attempts while down by 15 or more Rating Comments

College Football:

All in, at last: SB Nation inside Gus Malzahn's Auburn

Why Big Ten coaches should listen to the hive mind before hiring

Kiffin says USC's defense cost Barkley the Heisman

How to recruit 8th graders: Tips for Alabama and LSU

The best (and we mean worst) quotes from the Combine

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