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Staff Roundtable: The Colorado Buffaloes quarterback controversy

Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez have both been incredible, but who should be CU’s starter going forward?

Oregon State v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

This season has provided us with an embarrassment of riches. Not only are the No. 21 Colorado Buffaloes ranked for the first time since 2005, have a chance at winning the Pac-12 South, and now have two quarterbacks in Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez deserving a starting role. The Ralphie Report staff takes sides in this fierce quarterback controversy.

Matt Reynolds: Before anything else, I have to say that Steven Montez has been extremely impressive and he definitely has a bright future. However, if he’s healthy, Sefo Liufau has to be the starter for the Buffaloes. Simply put, he’s a four-year starter and a three-year captain, and if he doesn’t even get a chance to earn his job back it will look bad on the coaching staff in the players’ eyes.

Statistically, they’re very similar, but I think the Michigan game is telling. Sefo was carving up one of the top defenses down the seams over and over again, and after his injury Montez was unable to complete a pass. To be honest, the two defenses Montez picked apart were two of the weakest in the conference. This is not a knock on Montez, but he hasn’t faced the challenge of a really tough defense yet.

Sefo is the leader of this team and after overcoming his Lisfranc injury and handling the whole Davis Webb saga, he deserves at least the opportunity to take the reins once again. He was one of the top 10 most efficient passers in the country prior to his ankle injury, and the offense was operating at an insanely high level. Sefo is on a mission to turn this program around, and there would be no better way to see this season end than a Sefo-led bowl win.

Colorado fans should just be glad we have the problem of a "quarterback controversy". All that really means is that we are capable of winning big games with two different quarterbacks. If Sefo were to miss any more time this year, I would have confidence that we would be in good hands with Montez at the helm, but for now, Sefo has to be the guy.

Jack Barsch: I stopped by here just to say that I’m already tired of the quarterback controversy. Yes, Steven Montez has put up great numbers in the past two games and led CU to wins. Yes, Montez and Sefo have near identical stats in the same number of quarters played. But Montez played Oregon State and Oregon, which is suddenly losing its luster. Those are not elite level defenses. On the other hand, Sefo has only played CSU and Idaho State, both of which were bloodbaths. The only game where both Sefo and Montez played meaningful snaps was Michigan, which may be a little unfair to Montez. But it’s not unfair to Sefo. He alone scored more points than Wisconsin and Penn State COMBINED against the Wolverines. He has the experience against the Pac-12 that is so important on the road (against USC, at least) and when he’s 100%, there’s not a tougher and better leader in the country. Start your senior leader on the road. He’s earned it. Though, really, you can’t go wrong.

Sam Metivier: Dual-QB systems almost never work. This season’s Notre Dame’s Kizer-Söze-Zaire tandem ended with DeShone Kizer running away with the job. The 2015 Ohio State Buckeyes tried a duality, but J.T. Barrett took over after Cardale Jones’s inconsistency. And so on. The failures of the dual-QB system drastically outnumber the successes and for good reason: It’s almost impossible to maintain offensive cohesion without a consistent presence at quarterback. Yet this is my suggestion to the Liufau-Montez situation.

Ten years ago, the greatest dual-QB system in college football history saw a National Championship, which is not coincidentally CU’s goal this season. The Florida Gators won because they had a QB in Chris Leak who could throw through any defense and a QB in Tim Tebow who could run through any defender. Florida’s system worked because their throwing quarterback could run and their running quarterback could throw. These passer-runner offenses (like Texas’s, most notably) often fail because once the runner comes in, the defense packs the box knowing that there’s going to be a run. Colorado could avoid that system because they have two dual-threats options at QB.

Sefo Liufau would play the role of Chris Leak, as he is the more consistent, more experienced passer. Steven Montez would play the role of Tim Tebow, as he is faster, more elusive and less injury prone than Liufau. (And yes, this system would entail Montez winning the Heisman next year, leading the Broncos to a playoff win, and hitting a homerun in his first minor league at bat.) Coach Chiv could still run the same offense at the same pace, but this would mitigate the damage Liufau takes and help prolong his career. The Buffs could still pass through anybody and keep their quarterback-heavy running game, and possibly increase the latter. This monster of efficiency is named Stefo Monfau and he will lead us to the promised land.