Big 12: College Football's Best Quarterback Conference
If there’s a tried and true predictor of success in college football, it’s quarterback play. And this fall, the Big 12 will welcome back the best crop of returning quarterbacks in the country—maybe of all time.
Of the top 15 rated quarterbacks in 2007, five played in the Big 12: Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford (No. 1), Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell (No. 6), Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson (No. 12), Kansas’ Todd Reesing (No. 14) and Missouri’s Chase Daniel (No. 15).
Even more stunning? With names like Dennis Dixon, Paul Smith, Colt Brennan, and Brian Brohm either out of eligibility or lost to the NFL, the Big 12 will be home to five of the top nine returning signal callers.
Furthermore, Texas’ Colt McCoy has the potential to be the best of the Big 12 bunch. After all, as a freshman, McCoy rated in the top 10, throwing for more than 2,570 yards and 29 touchdowns. Despite a sophomore slump, the Longhorn still finished as the 24th-ranked quarterback nationally—giving the Big 12 six of the top 25.
By contrast, the SEC and Pac-10—widely regarded as 2007’s best conferences—had just two signal callers rated in the top 25.
Beyond their efficiency, it’s also important to note the experience among the Big 12 corps, minimizing the likelihood of a severe drop-off in production this season. Bradford is the youngest of the group as a rising sophomore. And as a junior, Robinson will be entering his first full season as a starter.
However, Daniel, Reesing, and Harrell will be experienced upperclassmen, and all five led their team to a bowl game in 2007.
Admittedly, passing efficiency isn’t the only measure of quarterbacking success. But it’s the most comprehensive.
And while it would be foolish to predict that the Big 12 will produce this season’s BCS champion simply because of returning experience and efficiency at the quarterback position, it’s undoubtedly a reliable, early indication that the conference will be well represented from the opening polls all the way through bowl season.
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