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Mid-American Mondays: A discussion of the best .25 Backs

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Is Cooper Rush the undisputed heavyweight champion of the MAC quarterback world? Maybe not.

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Welcome back to Mid American Mondays. This week, it's the quarterback edition.

We ran a Twitter poll that was quite simple: After three weeks of play, who has demonstrated themselves to be the best QB in the entire MAC? We gave you four choices, Cooper Rush, Zach Terrell, Logan Woodside and Thomas Woodson. You actually gave us a choice too, with many mentions throwing Greg Windham's name into the fold.

One of our favorite things about football is tirelessly debating things like quarterback play, because nobody can ever really agree. Our obviously scientific Twitter poll shows a clear favorite MAC quarterback, but there is much dissent in the ranks! We love this dissent, and it's all extremely interesting.

Cooper Rush

Justin: Cooper Rush is the hot name among quarterbacks right now, and most everyone's favorite to take home first team All-MAC honors at the end of the season. Given Central Michigan's inability to put together an effective running game, Rush's performance is not only phenomenal, it's required.

Rush's 950 yards through three weeks puts him on pace - using some back of the envelope math - for 3,800 yards (not including a bowl game), which is right around where he finished last year. Rush's big test going forward is limiting his interceptions. He's thrown double digit picks in each year at CMU and has already shown a tendency for odd decision making so far this season, throwing a late game interception at Oklahoma State - which should have cost them the game - as well as two more at home to FCS Presbyterian.

Kaleb: If you're a Rush fan, take your libertarian-loving behind to the polls for Gary Johnson. Get it? Jokes? Okay, moving on, Cooper Rush is the guy that draft fanatics have already decided to salivate over. For good reason though, the Central stud is the guy who is putting up darn nice stats despite teams coming into game knowing to expect the pass-heavy offense.

Rush is coming off a 6-touchdown performance and probably more impressively before, a 31-43, 4-touchdown performance against Oklahoma State. The guy just passed a mark of 10,000 passing yards. He's phenomenal.

However, I don't believe this conference to be a one-horse race when it comes to best quarterback. A few others arguably handle their responsibilities even better.

Logan Woodside

Justin: From a numbers standpoint, Logan Woodside is your league's best quarterback. He has 11 touchdowns to just one interception and averages over 11 yards per attempt. He's on pace to throw 44 touchdowns! That's probably not going to happen, because the MAC West is, you know, really good. Regardless, Woodside has as good a chance as any to have the best statistical season of any quarterback in the entire conference.

Standing in his way are any late season struggles that we saw in 2014. The struggles for Woodside are few and far between, and a stable rushing attack led by Kareem Hunt and Terry Swanson should put him in favorable down and distance in most games. But so far he shows no signs of slowing down. His QB rating is currently 200.2! Who knows if that's the proper stat to judge quarterbacks by, but it's still crazy.

Kaleb: I used my vote in the twitter poll for Logan Woodside. Hear me out.

A year removed from losing Phillip Ely and some of the coaching staff the Toledo offensive machine is still chugging along. They are decimating opponents thus far this season. While it doesn't hurt to have targets like Corey Jones and Cody Thompson hauling in catches, to
Rush is 10th in the country in passing yardage. Woodside is 12th, on 20 less attempts. After three weeks, that's a pretty rad stat. Hell, Tommy Woodson is 16th and Billy Bahl is 17th. With the latter of those guys in mind, I won't use too much of my spiel on passing yardage.

As Coffin notes, that QB rating is just stupid good. Woodside has the opportunity to really shine on a national stage when the Rockets play BYU next Friday. Hoping to get home in time to Woodside show his stuff in that one. He's playing as well as anyone could hope. If we look at a large frame of work, there's no argument, Cooper Rush is straight up better. As for this year, I really like Woodside's body of work in leading an offense that is scoring 46 ppg. On top of all this, Woodside is third in the entire nation in total QBR. He's only behind Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes in that respect. I think there's a very strong argument that Woodside's play has been better thus far.

Zach Terrell

Justin: Terrell is the best quarterback in WMU history. Seems like a good enough reason to be in this conversation don't you think? He's been a bit overshadowed by Rush's play in Mount Pleasant lately, but Terrell's improvements are visible and a huge reason why this WMU team is winning right now.

His yardage and touchdown totals are taking a bit of a hit this year, but don't blame Zach for that. Anyone would miss Daniel Braverman's presence, and considering the tear Jamauri Bogan is on in the WMU backfield there's not as many reasons to go to the air as there once was. This, for me, is what makes Terrell so impressive. He's basically whatever quarterback you need him to be. He nearly rushed as many times as he threw on Saturday against Illinois. The same guy that threw 50 passes against Michigan State in 2015 is rushing for touchdowns in 2016. But hey, I thought all these MAC teams were known for airing it out?

Kaleb: Don't let people who don't watch MACtion tell you about MACtion. Try as they might, an outsider is going to tell you that Cooper Rush is without a doubt one of the G5 quarterbacks in the country. But where does that leave Zach Terrell?

The dude is efficiency embodied. Employ him as a window-washer and those things are going to be spotless. To bring up an earlier stat, Terrell is second in the MAC in total QBR, and 16th in the country. Terrell is completing passes at 70.4% rate and hasn't gone below 68.2% in a game this season. He doesn't put the load on his shoulders, and he doesn't have to, but damn is he reliable. Terrell leads an attack that probably won't score less than 28 points game in a MAC game this fall.

Watching Woodside and Terrell do battle the last game of the regular season should be super enjoyable, especially if as much rides on the line as I think there will be.

Thomas Woodson

Justin: I am so excited about this year for Tommy Woodson. When I watched him last season I thought that as soon as Akron had more than one option for him to throw to he could be something special. Turns out Jo-Jo Natson is that missing option, and it's helped Woodson in a big way.

The play against Wisconsin left a lot to be desired, but the 379 yard, four touchdown performance against Marshall on the road allowed me to buy back into Woodson and this Akron offense. What happened in Madison was likely just a meaningless hiccup in what could be a special season.

Woodson's numbers are pretty explosive. 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions, 894 yards at 10.8 yards per pass. Yeah, you could say he's pretty good.

Kaleb: What we just saw from Thomas Woodson against Marshall was the utter destruction of a secondary for large portions of a game. I can't imagine that Bowden and crew just had the best gameplan coming into the game with the Thundering Herd considering how slowly the Zips came out of the gates as a team. While it sure doesn't hurt to have the combination of Natson Lane catching passes for you, could anyone have imagined THIS Tommy Woodson emerging in this offense? It's flabbergasting to me.

While an admittedly poor performance against a solid Wisconsin team keeps me from considering him as the best, we can acknowledge that this Akron passing game has the potential to tear up opposing defenses. Now I'm super anxious to see Akron go up against App State this coming Saturday.

Closing Thoughts

Justin: I think we have a tendency to mischaracterize the "best quarterback" argument in the MAC as Cooper Rush atop the mountain with everyone else battling for second. I think it's far closer than that, with any name on this list potentially being the "best" when it's all said and done.

Kaleb: We can all agree. Nobody here is Lamar Jackson. And that's okay. But really, Cooper Rush brings our conference some solid notoriety right now, but it might be smart to keep the QB situation in perspective when considering who the best are throughout the conference, and that Rush doesn't run away with the distinction as absolute best without an argument.

For those interested in the poll, these were the results as of 3 p.m. EST.

Through 312 votes

Rush 46%

Woodside 25%

Terrell 24%

Woodson 5%