There's been considerable talk about the fact that (first) Ben Olson and (later) Pat Cowan were both starters for the first time this season.
It's one of the excuses for UCLA's 4-3 record, which sort of needs excusing - considering the fact that UCLA had two of the teams down and the other isn't all that good.
It sounds right on paper and resonates particularly with Bruin fans because so many of UCLA's better seasons were accomplished with a senior or redshirt senior at the helm. It's a rallying cry for the wait-until-next-year crowd. First-year starters become second-year starters, right?
It's interesting though to take a look at the BCS standings. As far as I can tell #2 USC (6-0 with John David Booty), #5 Texas (7-1 with redshirt freshman Colt McCoy replacing the nation's best player Vince Young, only loss to #1 Ohio State) and #14 Arkansas (6-1 with true freshman Mitch Mustain, only loss to #2 USC). You could also throw #12 California in there (7-1 with Nate Longshore, only loss in the opener at #9 Tennessee in the season opener) because Longshore only started one game last season -- the opener, got hurt -- and only attempted 11 passes. He's not exactly what I'd call a seasoned veteran
Not sure, except that it's certainly possible to win with a first-year starter. Programs that expect to win every year don't even consider the alternative, because by definition off-years with first-year starters would be inevitable as veterans graduate and some programs don't ever expect to have off years.