Far too quickly college football teams are learning that without a quality signal caller under center then they are doomed for a sub par season. They say that defenses win championships, and while that may be true a strong and talented leader at quarterback goes a long way as well.
As the Big XII heads into the 2014 season there is a load of talent at the quarterback position within the conference.By gauging a player's experience, talent, and success we've come up with the following rankings for the quarterback position. As always, please feel free to discuss.
1) Baylor Bears - As the preseason gets into full swing, Bryce Petty may be the best thing that the Big XII has in way of a Heisman candidate. In 2013 he set the conference on fire with 4,200 passing yards, a 62% completion rate, and an outstanding TD/INT ratio of 32/3.
2) Texas Tech - Kliff Kingsbury had a lot of good options at quarterback last season but ultimately settled with Davis Webb who didn't disappoint. The youngster finished with a 62.6 completion percentage and a touch more than 2,700 yards along with 20 scores. He's got to do a better job at taking care of the ball in 2014 by cutting his interceptions down from the nine he threw last season.
3) Kansas State - Much like Texas Tech, the Wildcats had to weigh through their options at quarterback last season and finally landed with Jake Waters. The former JUCO signal caller will take the helm this fall after having thrown for 2,469 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, while splitting time with Daniel Sams. Becoming the full-time starter, and having adjusted to the FBS level of play, I would also expect to see his interceptions drop from the nine he tossed last season.
4) Oklahoma - Consistency is the only thing keeping the Sooners from being higher on this list. Bob Stoops didn't want a quarterback controversy last season but he got one anyway because Trevor Knight couldn't stay healthy. It was Blake Bell (who is now a tight end) that led OU to their biggest regular season wins (Notre Dame/O-State) but Knight showed his full potential in the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. The big question now is, can he stay healthy this fall?
5) Texas - The quarterback position in Austin has been a merry go round since Colt McCoy graduated. Charlie Strong has options on the table with senior David Ash owning the experience and sophomore Tyrone Swoopes possessing a bang load of talent. If I had to place money on it, I would bet that Swoopes takes the field against North Texas on August 30th.
6) Oklahoma State - To be quite honest, Mike Gundy doesn't seem to have any great options at quarterback. Clint Chelf started the season in 2013 but was quickly hooked for JW Walsh who then was replaced by Chelf because of questionable arm strength and lack of effectiveness. Chelf has graduated now leaving Walsh, a junior, as the front-runner to win the job but freshman Mason Rudolph could make a push as well.
7) West Virginia - Dana Holgorsen used three quarterbacks last season with juniors Clint Trickett (1,605 yrds/7 TD/7INT) and Paul Millard (1,122 yrds/6 TD/6 INT) getting the bulk of the snaps. The result was a struggling Mountaineer offense that failed to keep up with their Big XII counterparts week in and week out. Sitting firmly on the hot seat, Holgorsen has to pick a guy and stay with him in order to have a fighting chance. My best guess is that guy will be Trickett.
8) TCU - Gary Patterson would like to move Trevone Boykin (1,198 yards/7 TD/7 INT) to other positions around the field to capitalize on his athleticism but in order to do that Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel has to pan out. Joeckel, a graduated senior, was 22-37 for 293 yards and two touchdowns in spot duty for the Aggies last season.
9) Iowa State - The Cyclones have a miracle worker in new offensive coordinator Mark Mangino. Seriously, if this guy can lead the Kansas Jayhawks to a BCS Bowl win then he can find and mold a decent quarterback in Ames, Iowa. The most likely candidate for that is Sophomore Grant Rohach who threw for 1,208 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 7 interceptions, in 2013.
10) Kansas - Speaking of the Jayhawks, they'll have a three-way battle between sophomore Montell Cozart (front-runner), UCLA transfer and sophomore TJ Millweard, and junior Michael Cummings for their signal caller. May the Lord have mercy on whoever wins the spot.