The season is less than a week away. The most pivotal position on the field is the man behind the center. If you have one of the better quarterbacks, you have a chance to win a title in this dying league. If you are breaking in a new quarterback or returning a dud, you probably have no shot at winning the conference.
Here are the rankings for the starting quarterbacks in the Big 12:
1. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State
The elder statesman of the league gets the nod. He is helped out by one of the best wideouts in the conference and a run first offense. His age and maturity help him out tremendously. However, he’s yet been asked to win a game with his arm in the fourth quarter.
2. Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M
As is the case with most of the Big 12 media, we are penalizing Tannehill for playing for a team that is leaving the conference. In all honesty, he would probably be rated below Weeden anyway since he has only started six games. He is a gamer that can make any throw. His experience as a receiver helps him understand the game. He’ll be drafted by the NFL.
3. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Since Jones took the helm as the starting quarterback at Oklahoma, he has never looked back. He has improved every year but still has a tendency to make some strange throws at times, and he tends to fumble if hit from behind. However, he did throw for more yards than Weeden last year, so he is not afraid to put the ball in the air. Bob Stoops is hoping for a Sam Bradford clone this year, and that is possible. Jones has all the tools.
4. Robert Griffin III, Baylor
It’s really not fair that Griffin plays for Baylor. He is a great talent, maybe the most talented quarterback in the league. However, if he gets hit a few times in a game, he sometimes quits on his team. It’s hard to blame him since Baylor does not put much emphasis on winning football games and thus puts their most talented player in a position to get severely injured. Griffin originally committed to the University of Houston. If he had gone there, he would be a Heisman candidate and maybe none of us would have heard of Case Keenum.
5. Steele Jantz, Iowa State
I’m assuming Steele will beat out Jerome Tiller, who is also an incredible talent. I imagine both will play this year, but Steele has something special. Iowa State has churned out some great quarterbacks in recent years, including Seneca Wallace and Austin Arnaud. Steele fills that mold, except he’s more athletic than either one. He will make some mistakes this year, but he’ll also put the team on his shoulders and win some games.
6. James Franklin, Mizzou
Mizzou was smart last year and gave this guy some opportunities. He was impressive. He has familiarity with the offense and he is a duel threat. Mizzou faithful hope he is the second coming of Brad Smith. He may struggle in some games, but running quarterbacks have a way of assimilating themselves with the offense a lot faster than the non athletic types that just have a big arm. Look for Franklin to shoot up in this list next year.
7. Seth Doege, Texas Tech
Everyone is pulling for this guy. He’s truly a great guy and but he’s been forced into a position where it will take several years for the offensive talent to adjust to the new system. Frankly, Texas Tech misses Mike Leach. Doege has no future in pro football, so you just hope the Tech coaching staff will find a tight end for him and that they will learn to run the ball. He can be a Todd Reesing type of talent if he’s not asked to do too much.
8. Jordan Webb, Kansas
The Jayhawks were a bad football team last year. However, they were starting to show something on offense until Jordan Webb got hurt. As a freshman, Jordan was impressive, and you could tell he has that magical “it”. The problem is that there is a lack of talent around him. He will struggle this year, but he’s capable of taking over a game.
9. Collin Klein, Kansas State
Collin is a great college player. His passing skills are supposedly improving, but he did most of his damage on the ground last year. In a 39-14 defeat of Texas, Collin’s first start, he threw only four passes for 9 yards but still lead his team to 39 points and a blowout victory. In tough games this year he will have to learn to put the ball in the air.
10. Case McCoy, Texas
In the spring, Case considered transferring to Abilene Christian, but Mack Brown talked him into staying. With the talented Connor Wood transferring to Colorado, Case will be handed the quarterback job early in the season. The Texas coaches will start Garrett Gilbert against Rice and maybe for a few games, but Gilbert was the worst quarterback in the league last year and will hand over the job to McCoy by conference play. The question is, will McCoy still be the starter by the end of the year?