CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 25: Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws a pass during the game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Other sites are giving this a shot so why not us. The conference may have lost Nebraska and...what was that other school?...oh yeah, Colorado, and Texas was down in 2010 but that doesn't in any way indicate a lack of star talent in the conference. Truth is, the Big 12 is loaded with NFL caliber talent at every position and fans everywhere are anxious to see them unleashed to battle on the gridiron. When it comes to ranking the talent there's plenty of room for debate because everyone has an angle. Let's give it our best shot starting with the most popular position on the field.
Ranking The Big 12 Quarterbacks
1. Oklahoma - If any other school had the Big 12's leading quarterback in passing yards (4,718), passing yards per game (337) and touchdowns (38) then they would rank him atop their list as well. That's exactly what Landry Jones did last season as a sophomore and returns to the field this year to once again lead the Sooner attack. There is the argument out there that Jones is the product of a system and not really as talented as his stats may indicate. The simple response to that is Oklahoma's "system" has produced seven Big 12 championships and two Heisman winning quarterbacks. If you really feel that's the reason then why are you not pushing for your school to use the same system?
By the way, remember last off season when Texas fans were bagging on Oklahoma because all the Sooners had at quarterback was Landry Jones and they had Garrett Gilbert? Yep, I still smile when thinking about that. Jones will be backed up by Drew Allen and Blake Bell.
2. Oklahoma State - This may be a bit of a tough pill for Sooner fans to swallow but there's no denying the potent passing attack the Cowboys possess behind the arm of Brandon Weeden. In 2010 he had a slightly higher quarterback rating and completion percentage than Jones and finished next in line to Jones in total passing yards (4,277), yards per game (329) and touchdowns (34).
He led the Cowboys to the cusp of the final Big 12 championship game but OSU just couldn't overcome Landy Jones and the Oklahoma offense. Weeden will be backed up by Clint Chelf, Johnny Deaton and J.W. Walsh.
3. Baylor - Seriously! Yep I have the Bears at number three. My guess is that if you're questioning this then you either aren't a fan of Robert Griffin III or that you haven't seen him play. Either way, it is what it is. The notion that Griffin is only an athlete/run first quarterback and not a true passer doesn't hold ground when compared to his 67% completion percentage, 3,500 passing yards and twenty two passing touchdowns. Behind Griffin is Nick Florence who played well during Griffin's absence in 2009.
4. Texas A&M - Mike Sherman made the right move last season by benching Jerrod Johnson in favor of Ryan Tannehill. The move saved the season as Tannehill completed 65% of his passes for 1,638 yards and 13 touchdowns. Now he enters the fall preparing for his first full season as the Aggies starting quarterback and has the luxury of returning every starting skill position player from `10 and four of five offensive linemen. Matt Joeckel and Jameill Showers will back up Tannehill.
5. Texas Tech - Seth Doege appeared to have won the job during spring practice and has starting experience at the position. The Red Raiders are transitioning to a more balanced rushing attack so we shouldn't expect to see the passing milestones of the past decade in Lubbock. However, if Doege can keep a level head and make good decisions then he'll do fine. He'll be backed up by Jacob Karam.
6. Missouri - The truth here is that we really don't know what we're gonna see from James Franklin. He finished the spring barely ahead of Tyler Gabbert but his starting position wasn't secured until Gabbert transferred out at the end of the semester. Franklin played well in spot duty last season and is more of a dual threat quarterback than what Blane Gabbert was for the Tigers. Jimmy Costello will most likely be the backup to Franklin.
7. Texas - Where we don't know for sure what the Tigers have under center we do know what the Longhorns have and this is why they're number seven. When it comes to Garrett Gilbert his 10 touchdowns to 17 interceptions last season pretty much tell the story. The problem with having your spring game on national television is that when the guys you have as backups play better than the guy you have slated as the starter the whole world sees it. Case McCoy and Connor Wood are the backups.
8. Iowa State - While the Cyclones are unsettled at the position they have a bit of an edge on the Kansas schools in that Jerome Tiller has some starting experience. However, the name that many ISU fans are talking about is Steele Jantz who is a JUCO transfer from San Francisco with a legitimate shot at winning the starting job.
9. Kansas State - Coach Bill Snyder has not given an indication as to who he favors between the three quarterbacks competing for the starting position. Collin Klein seemed to outplay Samuel Lamur and Justin Tuggle but don't expect an announcement as to who the starter is until this fall.
10. Kansas - The good news is that the Jayhawks have three quarterbacks on the roster with playing experience from last season but the bad news is that they all threw more interceptions than they did touchdowns in `10. That's why they're hoping freshman Brock Berglund will bring a different change of pace. To do that he's going to have to beat out Jordan Webb, Quinn Mecham and Kale Pick.