College Football Rankings: Big 12 Quarterbacks

Kyle CrawfordContributor IIOctober 7, 2010

College Football Rankings: Big 12 Quarterbacks

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    Since the Big 12 came into existence in 1996, it has had some memorable quarterbacks come through the ranks.

    From Eric Crouch and Vince Young to recent signal callers Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford, the Big 12 has churned out some of the best college quarterbacks in recent memory.

    This is a list of how the current Big 12 quarterbacks stand up against each other, giving you an idea of whether they have a chance to put themselves in the class of the previous greats.

12. Austen Arnaud, Iowa State

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    Austen Arnaud, who is a senior at Iowa State, had a rough start to his year. Arnaud threw one touchdown and five interceptions combined through two games against Northern Illinois and Iowa.

    However, from there on out Arnaud has played much better.

    Although he only threw two passes against Northern Iowa after injuring his non-throwing shoulder in the game before against Kansas State, he came out firing against Texas Tech. Against the Red Raiders Arnaud threw four touchdowns while completing 20 of his 28 passes and taking care of the ball.

    Arnaud has been fairly inconsistent early, but if he can take care of the ball he'll at least keep the Cyclones in most games.

11. Tyler Hansen, Colorado

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    Hansen has led the Buffaloes to a 3-1 record in this young season, including a home win over Georgia (1-3), inciting the fans to embarrassingly rush the field.

    Hansen's numbers have been inconsistent at best, but the junior has gotten the job done. Hansen has thrown an equal number of touchdowns and interceptions (five) but got three of those interceptions out of the way in the Buffs' lone loss, a 52-7 beatdown at the hands of Cal.

    Hansen has gotten the job done on the ground, scoring three total touchdowns and scampering for 51 yards against Georgia.

    While Hansen has the Buffs above .500, look for that to change as they move into a little stiffer Big 12 competition.

10. Jordan Webb, Kansas

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    Jordan Webb is quarterbacking what could very well be the worst team in the Big 12. The upside of that entire situation is that Webb is only a sophomore, so he'll continually improve.

    Webb's numbers aren't terrible, but they also aren't anything that jump out at you. Webb has thrown six touchdowns opposite three interceptions, but in their lone Big 12 game he threw two INTs against an average Baylor Bears defense.

    Webb had his best game in a win over Georgia Tech, throwing three touchdowns, so look for another couple games with similar results.

    Webb is young and unpredictable, just like this Jayhawks team. He'll improve as the year goes on, even though his numbers could show otherwise as he plays tough Big 12 defenses.

9. Garrett Gilbert, Texas

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    Garrett Gilbert was in a lose-lose situation coming into this year, and guess what he did? He lost.

    Gilbert has led the Horns to a 3-2 start, which normally isn't too terrible, but it is when you're talking about a team that expects to be in the national championship talk every year.

    Gilbert, who is only a sophomore, was never expected to be the next Colt McCoy (the winningest quarterback in FBS history), but he was expected to keep the Longhorns' winning traditions alive.

    So far this year Texas has looked mediocre at best, with a loss at home to UCLA and a neutral site loss to Oklahoma. Gilbert has only thrown four touchdowns through five games while throwing five interceptions. 

    Gilbert has struggled mightily early, and with a winning tradition as deep as the Longhorns', you have to wonder when they'll think about trying a new guy under center.

8. Carson Coffman, Kansas State

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    Bill Snyder continues to work wonders with the Wildcats, leading them to a 4-0 start in large part due to Carson Coffman's ability to not throw the game away.

    Coffman's statistics haven't been jaw-dropping, but they have been good enough. Completing 60 percent of his passes, Coffman has thrown for five touchdowns and only two interceptions and has rushed for two more scores.

    Coffman started off much hotter than he has been over his past two games, when he has thrown just one touchdown and two interceptions, and that has shown as the Wildcats have barely squeaked out wins.

    Coffman is a senior for the Wildcats this year, so if the Wildcats want to win they'll rely on him to manage the game well.

7. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri

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    While Gabbert was supposed to come in and lead a potent Missouri offense, they have found themselves relying more on the defense than anything. Gabbert is a junior whose numbers are down from last year, when which he threw 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

    Through four games this year Gabbert has his Tigers undefeated, but they'll need more production out of him as Big 12 play rolls around if they want to contend for the North title.

    Gabbert has thrown only five touchdowns compared to his three interceptions, but he is completing 68 percent of his passes this year. He has rushed for two touchdowns but only has one game in which he has positive rushing yards, and his longest run of the year is just 11 yards.

    Gabbert has the skill set to be a better quarterback than the numbers he has put up so far; the only question is, will he?

6. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

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    The good news: Martinez has accounted for 10 Nebraska touchdowns. The bad news: Only two of those are through the air.

    Martinez has the Cornhuskers out to a 4-0 start as they look forward to a date with Kansas State, which is also 4-0, this Thursday.

    Martinez has been excellent on the ground, running for 496 yards on only 53 carries while scoring eight times. However, Martinez has yet to prove that he can do it through the air, throwing only two touchdowns and three interceptions.

    Martinez is just a freshman, so don't be surprised if he gets rattled in some big games. However, he is a freshman, so look for his passing game to improve dramatically through the year.

5. Taylor Potts, Texas Tech

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    Although former coach Mike Leach has moved on, Taylor Potts is still putting up excellent offensive numbers for the Red Raiders. Potts is a senior at Tech who has had to move on from his excellent relationship with Leach to a Tommy Tuberville-coached team. 

    The Red Raiders have gotten off to a slow start, going only 2-2, but Potts has put up good numbers. However, those numbers haven't been good enough to fight off the speculation that Potts could get benched in favor of Steven Sheffield.

    Potts has thrown an astounding 46 passes per game, completing 64.7 percent of them on the season. He has thrown for 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. However, he could be in danger of losing his job.

    Potts is an excellent quarterback who is a volume passer, but he hasn't been able to lead the Raiders to wins over elite opponents. What Potts does this week against Baylor could very well determine the senior's fate.

4. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M

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    Jerrod Johnson's worst enemy is most definitely Jerrod Johnson. Johnson is a freak of nature at quarterback with all of the tools to be the best in the league. However, he's keeping himself from getting there.

    Johnson has thrown for 12 touchdowns so far this year, but he has also put up big numbers with eight interceptions. Johnson hit rock bottom for the year throwing one touchdown against four interceptions against 0-4 Florida International.

    Johnson also threw four interceptions against the Cowboys of Oklahoma State in his next game, but he threw five touchdowns as well.

    If the Aggies want to be competitive in the Big 12 South, then they'll need Johnson, who is a senior this year, to take care of the ball and not beat himself mentally.

3. Robert Griffin, Baylor

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    No team in the Big 12 relies on its quarterback to gain them yards more than the Baylor Bears. Robert Griffin is coming off a week when he set the Baylor record for total yards gained.

    Griffin, barely a year removed from surgery on his ACL, has the Bears searching for their first bowl bid since 1994. Griffin is a dual-threat quarterback and has thrown for 11 touchdowns and run for four more. Griffin has completed 62 percent of his passes in Baylor's spread offense, which runs a lot of screens.

    As Griffin goes, so do the Bears, with his worst game coming in a blowout loss to TCU. Griffin has the Bears at 4-1 and in the bowl hunt with a big game coming up against Tech this weekend.

    You can continue to look for correlation between Griffin's numbers and the Bears' in the win-loss column, and the Bears better hope RG3 stays healthy.

2. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State

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    Weeden, who was drafted by the New York Yankees in 2002, is back in college playing some great football. The 26-year-old junior has the Cowboys looking like a solid football team at 4-0 with a gutsy win over Texas A&M to open Big 12 play.

    Weeden has put up some very impressive numbers, throwing for over 300 yards per game and completing 71.3 percent of his passes. Weeden has thrown 13 touchdowns and four interceptions, with nine of those touchdown passes going to Justin Blackmon.

    The one knock on Weeden is that he isn't the most mobile, averaging negative 13.5 rushing yards via getting sacked. However, Weeden proved he is a winner while leading the Cowboys to a 38-35 win over A&M.

    Weeden is using his age to his advantage, playing very mature football and getting the job done in leading the Cowboys to a great start. Look for him to pad his stats this week against Louisiana-Lafayette.

1. Landry Jones, Oklahoma

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    Landry Jones has put up impressive stats for the Sooners while leading them to a 5-0 start, including a huge win over rival Texas.

    Jones, like Weeden, isn't one to rush for many yards, as he has been in the negatives every game, but he too is getting the job done.

    Jones has thrown for nearly 1,500 yards with 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions. In Jones' biggest game of the season he threw four touchdowns while dissecting the Florida State secondary.

    If Jones wants to keep the Sooners in their winning ways, he'll have to keep up the big number production to account for the lack of Sooners defense.

    The Sooners have a great chance to reach a Big 12 Championship game with no games remaining against a team in the Top 20 as of this week's rankings. Look for Landry Jones to lead them there.