Long wind-up could cost both Harper and his team

Draft-eligible quarterbacks have seen their NFL stock rise and fall like yo-yos the past few years. In 2006 it was Matt Leinart falling out of the consensus No. 1 in favor of Vince Young, whose Texas team had upset Leinart's USC squad a few months earlier in an epic Rose Bowl. In 2007 it was Brady Quinn's turn to tumble in favor of fast-rising junior JaMarcus Russell, whose LSU team smashed Quinn's Notre Dame squad in the Sugar Bowl.

Most recently, Brian Brohm (Louisville) entered his senior season in 2007 as most experts' top-rated quarterback -- and top overall prospect, for that matter -- only to be surpassed by Matt Ryan (Boston College) and small-school product Joe Flacco (Delaware) during April's NFL draft.

What makes this year's crop of senior quarterbacks unique (a kind word for uninspiring) is the absence of such a front-runner. Purdue's Curtis Painter is certainly in the mix, but Cullen Harper is earning far more attention as the leader of the heavily-hyped Clemson Tigers. In fact, I have already heard the Harper-Ryan comparison from two NFL scouts and another college football analyst -- and the season is just beginning.