West Virginia Football: Power Ranking Each QB Mountaineers Will Face in 2012
With the Big 12 Conference being a very pass-friendly league, the quarterback position is pivotal to any team's success.
Landry Jones, Geno Smith, Collin Klein, Seth Doege, Casey Pachall, Dayne Crist, David Ash/Case McCoy, Nick Florence, Wes Lunt and Jared Barnett all have important roles on their respective teams.
Some of these guys have to make a bigger impact on their teams this season. There are some new faces to start for their teams.
For West Virginia, quarterback Geno Smith has been starting since sophomore year. The experience is there, and the offense is now fully adjusted.
However, the defense will have to be solid against these high-octane offenses.
There are a few Heisman Trophy candidates/dark horses in the Big 12, and the Mountaineers will have to force turnovers for opportunities to be successful in such a tough league.
Here are the power rankings for each quarterback the Mountaineers will face in 2012.
1. Landry Jones, Oklahoma
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Landry Jones is the biggest favorite for the Heisman in the 2012 season out of the Big 12 quarterbacks.
His 12,379 career passing yards are the fifth most in Big 12 history. Add this with his nine 400-yard passing games and his 21 300-yard passing games, and you have a solid quarterback.
In the 2011 season, Jones had 4,463 yards with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptionss. His interceptions may need to come down in order for him to win the Heisman and lead the Sooners to a BCS game.
Jones' 2010 season was the most productive of his career, as he threw for 4,718 yards, including 38 touchdowns and 12 picks.
The Mountaineers will need to pressure Jones due to his weapons at receiver, including the always-dangerous Kenny Stills.
2. Collin Klein, Kansas State
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Collin Klein is one of the best quarterbacks in the Big 12. He simply plays smart football.
Klein had a superb season with the Wildcats last year. He led Kansas State in rushing with 1,141 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also had 13 touchdowns passing and six interceptions.
His 40 total touchdowns attracted college football fans. As a dual-threat quarterback, Klein is as dangerous as they come.
Klein will be a tough task for the Mountaineers defense because he isn't one-dimensional with his game. He could beat you in the air and on the ground. Not many quarterbacks are as mobile as Klein in college football.
3. Casey Pachall, TCU
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Replacing Andy Dalton is never an easy task, but that was Casey Pachall's duty last season and he did a pretty good job.
Pachall had a 66.5 completion percentage, 228 completions, 2,921 passing yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Pachall also had a 158.0 passer rating in 2011. The Mountaineers will need to pressure the junior if West Virginia wants to win this difficult game in Morgantown.
The Horned Frogs leader broke Dalton's record for completions, completion rating and passing yards. His 25 touchdowns were also just two shy from breaking Dalton's record of 27.
4. Seth Doege, Texas Tech
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Seth Doege had a breakthrough season as a junior last year.
Doege threw for 4,004 yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His passer rating was 138.9 and his completion percentage was over 68 percent.
Now, as a senior, Doege looks to have another solid season for the Red Raiders.
With a year of experience at the starting position, look for Doege to be a serious threat to the Mountaineers.
5. Nick Florence, Baylor
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The tough task of following in the footsteps of Robert Griffin III; yes, this is what senior Nick Florence must do.
He has some weapons at receiver with Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese.
Florence saw some action during his freshman season, throwing for 1,786 yards, six touchdowns and nine interceptions. His completion rating was at 62 percent.
Last season, Florence saw minimal action, going 9-for-12 with 151 yards, two touchdowns and a 75 percent completion rating.
His task is tough, but with his star receivers, Florence should have a solid season.
6. David Ash/Case McCoy, Texas
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The two quarterbacks may go back and forth all season, but David Ash and Case McCoy have prior experience.
Ash threw for 1,079 yards and a 56.9 completion rating last season. He only had four touchdowns, and also had an alarming eight interceptions.
McCoy did a bit better with 1,034 yards passing, seven touchdowns, four interceptions and a 61.1 percent completion rating.
Both quarterbacks will get the opportunity to start for the Longhorns. The duo has done well, but there have also been struggles. The quarterback situation must be settled in Austin.
7. Dayne Crist, Kansas
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Dayne Crist has had some experience with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. However, he's now a member of the Kansas Jayhawks football team.
The senior started in 10 games in the past. Crist started in nine of the 10 games during his sophomore season at Notre Dame before a season-ending injury.
As a sophomore, Crist threw for 2,033 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His completion rating was nearly 60 percent.
Kansas' head coach Charlie Weis brought Crist in with the intention of something special at the quarterback position. Time will tell how this goes, but Crist could have a solid season if he remains healthy.
8. Jared Barnett, Iowa State
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Jared Barnett has had experience starting with the Iowa State Cyclones.
While starting in six games, Barnett has had great moments in Ames, upsetting the likes of Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
He finished the season with 1,201 yards, including six touchdowns and six interceptions.
Barnett should be improved with extra game experience. The Cyclones are always capable of an upset at home, so the Mountaineers can find themselves in a trap game against Iowa State.
Barnett's completion rating was only at 50 percent last season so that category must be improved.
9. Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State
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Why is Wes Lunt this low on the list? Well, the reason is that he's a true freshman.
Lunt, a four-star recruit out of Illinois, threw for 3,650 yards, 31 touchdowns and four interceptions in his senior year in high school.
Lunt is Oklahoma State's first freshman starting quarterback since 1950.
No freshman is comfortable right away. While Lunt is obviously very talented, it's a tough adjustment from high school to college football. That, and the fact that Lunt is Brandon Weeden's replacement.