College football passing records are falling like autumn foliage and the culprits have a common link, most are from the same conference.
From a fan perspective, college football never disappoints. The 2008 season is no exception. This year, fans have seen historic highs, like the defiant return to prominence for Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions or the resurgence of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Fans have also endured dramatic lows, the demise of a struggling powerhouse like Michigan or the unfulfilled promise of Clemson and their stable of speedy runners.
One thing is certain, college football and its fans have witnessed the year of the Quarterback, as evidenced by the gaudy numbers thrown up by the gunslingers of the Big XII.
Regardless of one’s views on which FBS conference is best, Big XII quarterbacks have left no doubt as to whom the power player (conference) at their position is. Sam Bradford at Oklahoma—who some believe to be the front runner for the Heisman Trophy—heads a list of signal callers from a conference in which the QB’s boast a passer efficiency rating of no less than 116. Looking down the list of top passers in the conference, passer ratings exceed 140 all the way to the 8th rated player, Baylor’s Robert Griffin.
In completion percentage, Colt McCoy leads this category with a jaw dropping 77.2-percent. Todd Reesing from Kansas is seventh in the conference with a completion percentage just under 65%. The 12th rated passer in the conference, Cody Hawkins at Colorado chucks the pigskin at a rate of 57.1 % completion.
Graham Harrell, the ballyhooed rifleman for the Red Raiders of Texas Tech has posted 4,438 passing yards with one regular season game remaining on the schedule. Bradfordhas recorded over 3,700 yards passing, and last year’s Heisman finalist, Chase Daniel at Missouri slides in at number three in passing yardage with just over 3,500 yards.
Bradford also leads the Big XII in touchdown passes with a whopping 42 and one regular season game left to be played. He is followed by Harrell with 39 while McCoy and Daniel have each connected on 30 touchdown passes.
Even more remarkable is that there are nine QB’s in the league who have attempted over 300 passes thus far and none have thrown more than 11 interceptions.
On a national scale, Big XII QB’s rank at or near the top in every statistical category as well. Harrell Leads the Nation in passing yards, completions and attempts. Bradford tops the nation in touchdown passes while McCoy leads in completion percentage at 77.2%.
In each of the five major passing categories, Big XII QB’s occupy three of the top five spots in three categories and as many as five of the top 10 in one category nationally.
Surely one could make a case indicting defenses in the Big XII. As a conference, the defenses have yielded as many yards and points as anyone. The bigger picture, as any football fan would know, is the degree of difficulty in compiling passing statistics like this against no opposition at all.
While it may be true that teams from the SEC have a monstrous schedule to navigate, it has also become a fact in the Big XII. Currently, four of the top 12 teams in the BCS standings hail from the Big XII conference, with Missouri at No. 13, poised to slip into BCS bowl position with a key loss by a current top 12 standing team. Once again, these numbers cry out for a Playoff system in the FBS, but that is for another story.
Big XII passers are treating college football fans to a level of play that has never been seen before. Records are being set, and legends are being made, which is re-defining the measurable results of passers past.
NFL Draft War Rooms are already buzzing, sifting through hours and hours of video from the mentioned players, in hopes of crafting an offensive juggernaut at the next level of football. (My phone just rang, and it was the Detroit Lions. Told them I had Kansas City on hold).
Time will only tell if the current group of starting QB’s from this installment of the Big XII will go down in history as the greatest group statistically. Judging by the number of sleepless nights defensive coordinators have had, and by the offenses that are as wide open as the Midwestern plains, this group may be just the beginning.