The unfortunate thing for Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is that Sooners fans will always compare him to Sam Bradford. The problem is that only a few college quarterbacks in the history of the game compare favorably to the Sooners' 2008 Heisman Trophy winner.
What Oklahoma fans should understand is that Jones is truly one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the program. Most of his numbers fall just short of Bradford's, but they are just as good if not better than many of the greatest all-time college quarterbacks.
Jones currently has 12,218 passing yards going into the Insight Bowl against Iowa. That is good for a ranking of 18th all-time. His 92 touchdowns have him at 23rd all-time. In both categories the junior is the best in Oklahoma history.
In his redshirt freshman season, Jones took over most of the season after an injury to Bradford and ended up with one of the best freshman seasons ever for a quarterback. That season, he threw for 3,198 yards and 26 touchdowns despite coming in as the second-string guy and not starting when Bradford returned temporarily.
Jones' 2010 season was superb, but has to be one of the least appreciated seasons ever. His 4,718 yards were the 13th most ever in a season and his 38 touchdowns, while way short of Bradford's 50, were good for 22nd all-time and just two short of Jason White's total from his 2003 Heisman year.
A return in 2012 for his senior season could put him near the top of several career passing records.
If Jones were to return and have what would be considered an average season for him, he would end up in the top five all-time in career passing yards and touchdowns. A great season, which he is capable of, would leave him only behind Case Keenum—who, it seems like, has been playing at Houston since the days of Phi Slama Jama.
Jones took full responsibility for the Bedlam loss to Oklahoma State. His four turnovers came at key moments in the game and all but handed the Cowboys a Big 12 championship. However, a loss like that to a rival can serve as major motivation going into next season.
The loss of WR Ryan Broyles played a big part in the dip in Jones' production down the stretch. But, who wouldn't miss one of the best receivers to ever play at Oklahoma?
Losing RB Dominique Whaley for half the season had a bigger effect on the Oklahoma offense than most would think. All you have to do is watch film of Jones' first fumble against Oklahoma State when Roy Finch missed a blocking assignment. Whaley was known as the Sooners' best blocking back.
Even without Broyles and Whaley, Jones was able to throw for 447 yards at Baylor. That loss had nothing to do with quarterback play and everything to do with a secondary that looked more confused than Jessica Simpson at a spelling bee.
Before we dismiss Jones' career and try to serve him with an eviction notice, perhaps Oklahoma fans should try to appreciate what they have now before it's gone. What they have now is a future top 10 NFL draft pick who just might win the Heisman Trophy if he returns in 2012.