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Ranking the top 10 pass-catch duos in college football (more challenges for Arizona)

Stanford's Andrew Luck will be surveying Arizona's shaky secondary this Saturday. Photo by Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats coach Mike Stoops, during his weekly news conference last Monday, marveled at college football’s superb pass-catch combinations.

That was natural, because he was facing the best one last week — Oklahoma State’s pair of quarterback Brandon Weeden and receiver Justin Blackmon. True to form, Weeden connected with Blackmon 12 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns vs. Arizona.

“I don’t know if I have seen this many extraordinary receivers and quarterbacks in one year,” Stoops said. “This may be the best group of combinations. … Shoot, it’s crazy.”

Unfortunately for Stoops — whose team has allowed the highest percentage of completions in the country (78.48 percent, 62 of 79) — he’s going to see more top pass-catch combos this season, starting Saturday when sixth-ranked Stanford comes to Arizona Stadium.

Let’s rank the top quarterback-receiver duos in the country:

1. Oklahoma State — QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon
Blackmon won the Biletenikoff Award last season as the nation’s top receiver, and he has 14 consecutive games with more than 100 receiving yards. Weeden is a strong-armed 27-year old former minor-leaguer who is rated as the sixth-best quarterback prospect for the 2012 draft, according to NFLDraftScout.com

In two games against Arizona, including the 2010 Alamo Bowl, Weeden completed 67 of 94 passes for 637 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.

“He’s pretty amazing,” Stoops said.

2. Oklahoma — QB Landry Jones and WR Ryan Broyles
Broyles, who had 131 catches last season, is set the shatter the NCAA career record for receptions. Jones will win the Heisman Trophy if he leads the Sooners to an undefeated season.

3. Arizona — QB Nick Foles and WR Juron Criner
Foles leads the nation in passing after two weeks (405 yards per game), and that was without Criner for the Oklahoma State game last week. Criner could return this week from an appendectomy, trying to build off the opener, when he had six catches for 151 yards and a touchdown.

4. Texas A&M — QB Ryan Tannehill and WR Jeff Fuller
The Aggies turned around their season last year when they inserted Tannehill into the lineup after six games; A&M didn’t lose for the rest of the regular season. Fuller is a big, physical receiver with go-up-and-get it skills. He had 12 touchdown catches last season.

Trevin Wade couldn't stop Stanford's Chris Owusu from scoring a touchdown in last year's game. Photo by Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

5. Stanford — QB Andrew Luck and WR Chris Owusu
Luck is the best NFL quarterback prospect in a generation, and Owusu is an underappreciated talent because he was healthy only sporadically last season.

Arizona knows what he can do, though. The speedy Owusu’s most productive game came against the Cats last season — nine receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Owusu caught seven passes for 106 yards and a touchdown at Duke on Saturday, but he also dropped a couple of throws.

6. USC — QB Matt Barkley and WR Robert Woods
Woods set a school record with 17 receptions in the season-opener against Minnesota, earning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week honors. He had eight catches for 102 yards in the win over Utah. Barkley is the No. 3 overall prospect for the draft, according to NFLDraftScout.com.

7. Baylor — QB Robert Griffin III and WR Kendall Wright
RG3 launched himself into the very early Heisman discussion with his 359 passing yards and five touchdowns in the opening-week upset of TCU. Wright, a senior, has been a playmaker since 2008. He is up to 206 career catches for 2,530 yards and 18 touchdowns.

8. Houston — QB Case Keenum and WR Patrick Edwards/Tyron Carrier
Keenum, granted a sixth season of eligibility after suffering an ACL tear last season, is back in pursuit of the NCAA career passing record. We can’t pick just one between Edwards and Carrier; each has a 1,000-yard season in Houston’s spread offense.

9. Michigan State — QB Kirk Cousins and WR B.J. Cunningham
Cousins, who beat out Nick Foles at Michigan State way back when, is the most accurate and most efficient passer in school history, as well as being an unquestioned leader. Cunningham, a senior, had five catches last week to set the school record for career receptions (153).

10. East Carolina — QB Dominique Davis and WR Lance Lewis
Not big names outside of Conference USA, but there is no argument with the production. Davis, who began his career at Boston College, set school season records in 2010 for TD passes (37) and passing yards (3,967). Lewis was his favorite target in the spread attack, catching 89 passes for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Three to watch: Arizona State (QB Brock Osweiler and WR Aaron Pflugrad), Notre Dame (QB Tommy Rees and WR Michael Floyd) and Wisconsin (QB Russell Wilson and WR Nick Toon).

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