Quarterback is the position that everyone talks about. When you've got a star then the eyes of the nation will turn towards you. However, when that position under performs then the Board of Regents begins to have conversations about your head coach. For a long time now the Big 12 has been a conference that regularly produces top-notch talent at quarterback and the potential is there for that to continue again in 2016. Here's how we rank the Big 12 in terms of signal callers.
1. Oklahoma Sooners | There's no experience behind starter Baker Mayfield but there also isn't a better quarterback in the conference than Mayfield. A two-time conference Player-of-the-Year award winner, Mayfield guided the Sooners into the playoffs in 2015 behind 36 passing and 7 rushing touchdowns.
2. Baylor Bears | If there was a player that was going to beat out Mayfield for the Offensive Player of the Year award in 2015 then Seth Russell had the best chance. A severe neck injury cut Russell's season short and while he returned for spring practice last month he was held out of contact. If Russell can be 100% in the fall then he and Mayfield will make quite a few appearances on highlight reels.
3. Oklahoma State Cowboys | It's unclear yet what the talent around Mason Rudolph will look like but there's no doubt that the graduation of J.W. Walsh will lead to more touchdown opportunities for Rudolph. A 62% completion rate, and 21 passing touchdowns, were enough to lead the Cowboys to the Sugar Bowl in 2015. They'll aim higher in 2016.
4. Texas Tech Red Raiders | Patrick Mahomes is no longer playing baseball for the Red Raiders and that's a good thing for his NFL aspirations. In 2015 Mahomes passed for 4,653 yards and 36 touchdowns but ball protection must become a priority after 15 interceptions last fall.
5. West Virginia Mountaineers | Skyler Howard was very solid as a sophomore in 2015 with nearly 3,200 passing yards and a talented crop of weapons around him should help improve his 54.8% completion rate.
6. TCU Horned Frogs | TCU had a gift drop in their lap in former Texas A&M starter Kenny Hill but he has yet to be named starter. I would expect that to change shortly after fall practice starts as he and Foster Sawyer battle it out.
7. Iowa State Cyclones | Joel Lanning grabbed hold of the ISU starting quarterback position midway through the 2015 season and has yet to relinquish it. He'll be the key figure that new Cyclones coach Matt Campbell will try to build around.
8. Texas Longhorns | Shane Buechele seems to be the new best thing at quarterback for the Longhorns but this position has doomed the team since even before Charlie Strong arrived. Production on the field is a must and 2016 is crucial for Strong's tenure.
9. Kansas State Wildcats | Jesse Ertz was named the starter coming out of camp last summer but a knee injury ended his season before it ever got started. Now Ertz is healthy again and coming off a solid spring where he was named as a team captain.
10 Kansas Jayhawks | Ryan Willis came out of spring ball as the Jayhawks starter but he'll certainly need a lot of help to get KU competitive again.