Winners and losers from back half of college season

In mid-October, we listed our 2022 NFL draft winners and losers for the first half of the 2021 college season. Now it’s time to wrap up the back half of the regular season.

We’ll do another winners-and-losers piece following the conference title games, bowl games and playoff contests sometime in January. But for the time being, here are the NFL prospects who have helped their 


Nevada QB Carson Strong

Strong has blowtorched several Wolf Pack passing marks and established himself as one of the best deep throwers in college football. There might be no better arm in the 2022 NFL draft, assuming he declares.

There is still a concern about the health of Strong’s chronic knee injury, which nearly delayed the start of his season. He also must be better at smelling pressure better and not hanging onto the football too long. Strong also has been dinged for some of his on-field histrionics when things don’t go othe way he wants.

Nevada QB Carson Strong has a chronic knee injury that’s concerning, but his play has been mostly terrific this season. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

But until the medical reports occur, Strong has done nearly everything you could ask as a thrower to help buttress his draft stock. In his past six games, he has a 16-4 TD-INT ratio and has made multiple eye-opening, NFL-caliber throws in each. 

It’s possible that some teams could have him graded as the 2022 class’ QB1 with a clean bill of health.

Western Kentucky QB Bailey Zappe

Zappe was pretty wild and a bit careless in Saturday’s win at Marshall, and he has some obvious things working against his NFL ceiling as a prospect. But there’s also no doubt that he’s put himself on the map with his efficiency, lightning-quick release and fearless approach.

Yes, the offensive system and some good weapons helped Zapppe throw for 4,968 yards with a 52-9 TD-INT ratio while completing 70.1% of his passes. But we can’t hold that against him enough to suggest that he has put himself in a…


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