The title of this post is meant to be humorous: of all the positions you want behind you in a fight, quarterback is the last of them. They're valuable, they're often man-pretty, and they've spent so much of their playing lives being protected that they not only don't like being hit but more often than not throw punches with the effectiveness of an enraged Brian Sutherland. It should also be noted that this entire competition would be bullshit if Freddie Kitchens were around, because that man could displace force like no one could:
Left with the sad crop of mortals we have, here are the SEC's quarterbacks ranked by their ability to perform well in a barfight.
12. Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee. Too slow to even compete here. What kind of slow? That kind, really. Which kind, you ask again? Oh, take the whole spice rack of whatever slow means to you. It's all there.
11. Tim Tebow. Too pacifist by far, though he can certainly take punishment. Also, though you'd think bolts of divine lightning would probably level everyone arrayed against him, you'd be surprised at how far out on a limb the Lord will leave you no matter how much he loves you. Best to avoid getting caught in a gory Biblical plotline and pick someone else for a wingman in case a Kentucky Hailstorm breaks out one boozy night. Also: probability of Tebow being in a bar, much less one your ass is sitting in? Low.
10. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas. The good news: he will at least be comfortable in a bar.
The bad news: he's a big slow former Michigan qb once described as "a brain-damaged heron," so a solid kick to the nuts could send him scurrying fast. Or threaten him with a transition to a running spread offense. That could do it, too.
9. Mike Hartline, Kentucky. A Kentucky quarterback, so automatically granted three spots due to surgically reinforced ribs required to play the position. A one trick pony fightwise, though: avoid the 6'6"ers haymakers, and pretty soon you're whipping him around the place like a fun noodle at a pool party.
8. Jordan Jefferson, LSU. From Louisiana, so at least you know he's an experienced bar fighter. (It's taught in lieu of Civics as part of state curriculum.) Still a bit inexperienced, but elusive, and at 6'4" definitely possesses the reach needed to keep opponents at bay. Also has the number of Herman Johnson in his phone, and if he gets to it quickly enough, The Biggest Baby Ever Born In Louisiana will just come there and stare at everyone until they get frightened enough to act right.
7. Greg McElroy, Alabama. Still a relatively unknown quantity, but at least he's been training.
John Parker Wilson punched that same machine, and it failed to register anything, preferring instead to sprout roses and cooing noises. We quote: "DAMN THESE BEAUTIFUL BANGS OF MINE!!!!"--John Parker Wilson, every day of his life.
6. Larry Smith, Vanderbilt. Another selection based on his ability to take punishment as the quarterback behind an offensive line with an occasionally gracious style of blocking. He's also named "Larry," and it's surprising how many guys named "Larry" from the South fight like pissed-off Huns when cornered.
5. Steven Garcia, South Carolina. Garcia is huge, and thus capable of imparting great force behind his punches and kicks. He has no idea where they're going to do problems with accuracy, but that's why he's at five and not higher. Also prone to dropping things he's supposed to hang onto, like footballs, or in a fight something like brass knuckles or a knife. Besides those things, he's a solid choice, and one of our bets to withstand a chair broken across his back with ease.
4. Tyson Lee, Mississippi State. We know little about him, but we'll take a flyer on him at four because if he's willing to step up and play behind that offensive line, he must be able to take at least a few solid haymakers without falling down and throwing up blood. (If he were still around, we'd take Michael Henig here, because he really did come as close as anyone we've seen to bleeding internally out his mouth as anyone we've ever seen play football without dying.)
3. Joe Cox, Georgia. You never see the Ginger Ninja coming, unless it's at night, when his red hair sticks out and his translucent skin practically luminesces, or during the day when he'll ask you for some sunscreen before attempting to kill you, because it's really bright out here and that's not good for me, so could you sit still while I throw this throwing star at you from the shade, m'kay?
2. Jevan Snead. There's a dash of danger to Snead, a quarterback capable of beating Florida on their own field while coughing up losses to Wake Forest and Vanderbilt. He's wily like a fox, meaning he can sneak eggs unbroken out of a chicken coop, but will also sometimes put his foot into a bear trap lit with floodlights and big signs written in fox-language reading "DON'T STICK YOUR PAW IN HERE." For fightin' purposes, this means he's all roundhouse, knocking out three opponents before falling for the "tap-on-the-shoulder, turn, and get punched by smiling opponent" move you see in old Elvis movies. Personally, he'd be our favorite pick, if only because he'd also be dashing enough to do the trick where you punch someone, take a swig of beer, duck, and then punch someone and finish the beer.
1. Kodi Burns/Neal Caudle, Auburn. Because you get two bodies in one fell swoop by taking the platoon, even if it is cheating. (Since when has anyone had a problem with "creative advantage seeking" in our fair conference.) Admittedly, neither has any proven ability to knock anyone out, but Burns is elusive, and if all else fails you can throw one of them at the opposition Mongo-style. Especially Cauldle, who is still young, lanky, and thin enough to hurl like a bolo in a pinch. Pulling him from around the neck of an incapacitated opponent will be like untangling a yo-yo, but the look on the guy's face will totally be worth it. A case where the two-headed beast at quarterback really could help you, if only to use as a distraction on your way out of town. (It worked for Tuberville!)