An OP Original Ranking the Big 12's Best Quarterbacks

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A/V Subscriber
Nov 23, 2010
Ranking the Quarterbacks in the Big 12

The Big 12 has enjoyed an enormous amount of success at the QB position in recent years. Big names such as Vince Young, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden exploded onto the scene and dominated college defenses. Seeing high caliber quarterback play has become familiar territory for both fans and coaching staffs of Big 12 teams. Even Coach Gundy has said in an interview with ESPN’s Mike and Mike TV and Radio show, “The level of quarterback play we are getting is fantastic. We went through this four or five years ago when we had several first-round draft picks”. So when looking forward to the upcoming football season and projecting how each team will fare, it makes sense to start by looking at how each team stacks up against each other at the QB position.

1. Oklahoma- No surprise here as OU returns Baker Mayfield who is a near unanimous addition to any preseason Heisman watch list. Last season he threw for 3,700 yards with a 68.1% completion percentage and a 173.3 quarterback rating. His completion percentage and 5:1 touchdown to interception ratio was tops in the league when looking at QB’s with 150 or more attempts. He also seems to have shaken off the turnover tendencies which plagued him at Texas Tech and summarily earned himself the nickname of “Baker the Turnover-maker”. Although he lost his number one target from last season in Sterling Shepherd (drafted by the New York Giants), there is no reason to suspect a step back from Mayfield. In fact, year two for Mayfield at OU could bring improvements for the transfer QB.

2. Texas Tech- Possibly the best thing going for Tech is Patrick Mahomes who has shown flashes of brilliance in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. While Mahomes and the #3 team in this ranking are very close in terms of passing numbers, what sets Mahomes apart is his ability to run the ball. While his passing numbers were explosive, to the tune of 4,653 yards passing and 36 touchdowns, he also ran for 456 yards and 10 touchdowns. His total of 46 touchdowns is the most of any Big 12 QB last season, with Baker Mayfield in second place at 43. Mahomes lost some huge pieces on offense, lead running back DeAndre Washington (5th round selection by Oakland) and lead wide receiver Jakeem Grant (6th round selection by Miami), Mahomes will be asked to step up to the challenge and shoulder a greater responsibility of offensive production which should result in him beating the numbers he posted last season.

3. Oklahoma State- Though he doesn’t pose the same running threat that Mahomes and Mayfield offer, he is arguably the most prototypical NFL QB the Big 12 has to offer. At 6’-4” and close to 220 pounds, his big arm and stature have NFL teams excited to see what he can do in his first full season as the main guy in Stillwater. Departing QB JW Walsh took a lot of snaps from Rudolph, especially in the end zone. Although Walsh accounted for 26 touchdowns, Rudolph was still able to post a stout 21 touchdowns, not including the one rushing touchdown he earned in the first game of the season. His 3,770 yards passing was second to only Mahomes, yet Rudolph had a higher yards per attempt than Mahomes. He also limited interceptions at 47.1 attempts per interception, good for second in the conference behind Mayfields 56.4 attempts per interception. More importantly, nearly every important piece to the OSU offense returns, which should help Rudolph surpass a majority of his numbers from last season.

4. Baylor- Seth Russell will be looking to bounce back after an abrupt end to a season that was looking very promising for Russell and the Bears. In 200 pass attempts on the nose, Russell threw for 2,104 yards, good for a conference leading 10.52 yards per attempt. He also threw for 29 touchdowns at another league leading 6.9 attempts per touchdown, an astounding 4 attempts ahead of second place Mayfield who was at 10.9 attempts per touchdown. Russell also posed a real running threat, accounting for 402 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. Where Russell will look to improve will be turnovers and completion percentage. His 59.5% completion percentage is underwhelming and his 33.3 attempts per interception put him at number 5 in the conference in this category. The biggest question mark surrounding Russell, and why he is at number four in our rankings, is can he stay healthy. His back up, Jarrett Stidham, has transferred leaving question marks at the QB spot behind him. If he can stay healthy however, and improve his accuracy and turnover tendency, he will finish this season higher than the 4th best QB in the Big 12.

5. West Virginia- The story this season in the Big 12 at the QB spot is the discrepancy between the top four teams in the league and everyone else. West Virginia is the closest to bridging the gap between the two divisions that exist. WVU and Coach Holgorsen return their starting QB from last season in Skyler Howard. Howard struggled with accuracy and turnovers throughout last season, yet looked promising at times as well. He threw for 3,145 yards which is nothing to slouch at. He was also able to post 502 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns to add to his 26 passing touchdowns. As OSU fans know, the Holgorsen offense can be a great offensive system for quarterbacks and if Howard can improve his consistency and accuracy, he should be able to not just improve his numbers from a year ago but should also improve upon WVU’s 8-5 record.

6. Texas Christian- Two years ago, with the college football world still recovering from Texas A&M’s exciting and enigmatic quarterback Johnny Football, we saw the breakout of another A&M quarterback Kenny “Trill” Hill who broke A&M’s single game passing record in his first game as a starter. Two years later, a quieter Kenny Hill looks to be the lead candidate to take over the starting position with the departure of Trevone Boykin. In Hill’s career, he has thrown for 2,382 yards on 343 attempts, resulting in 24 touchdowns and he will look to improve on those numbers in Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie’s offense. If he finds the same success at TCU that he found at the beginning with A&M, hopefully the new Hill will leave the old “Trill” behind.

7. Texas- Texas enters this season with more question marks than most schools in the Big 12 at the QB spot. Despite success running the ball last season, Texas never found consistency in the passing game. Jerrod Heard eventually replaced Tyrone Swoopes, who would go on to take on a JW Walsh kind of role within the Texas offense, and posted fairly average numbers leaving Coach Strong and the Texas offensive coaching staff to look at a potential change yet again. Enter incoming 4 star dual-threat freshman Shane Buechele. Though nothing is official, rumors swirling around Austin have reported that Buechele looks to be the favorite in the clubhouse to take the starting spot. He promising athletic ability and an established running game could help Buechele solidify himself as the QB of the future in Austin.

8. Iowa State- Iowa State split time between their two quarterbacks almost evenly. Sam B. Richardson, who entered the season as the starter, threw the ball 213 times while his replacement, Joel Lanning, threw 193 times. While neither quarterback looked great, separated by .8 points in quarterback rating, they were good enough to earn themselves the 8th spot in this ranking by being better than any quarterback on #9 and #10’s roster.

9. Kansas State- Kansas State is difficult to rank in terms of quarterbacks because they ask their quarterbacks to run the ball more than any other team in the conference. KSU started Joe Hubener last season after Jesse Ertz, who won the job after the spring, injured himself on the first offensive snap of the season. Hubener performed admirably throughout the season, struggling himself with injuries, posting 1,837 passing yards on 275 attempts and 613 rushing yards on 180 attempts. However, the QB race is back on in Manhattan and this time includes Alex Delton, a 3 star dual threat from the 2015 class. Whoever wins the starting job, expect them to find success in Snyder’s offense without torching defenses through the air.

10. Kansas- Kansas, who is simply looking to win a game this year, is not surprisingly #10 in our list. As was said in the beginning, Big 12 teams have gone as their quarterback has gone and Kansas hasn’t had good quarterback play since the days of Todd Reesing when Reesing took them to an Orange Bowl victory under (literally) Coach Mark Mangino. Kansas featured two quarterbacks last year, yet Ryan Willis solidified himself as the starter as the season progressed throwing for 1,719 yards on 315 attempts. Entering a second full season under new Head Coach David Beaty, Willis will look to improve upon his completion percentage of 52% last year and minimize the turnovers after throwing 10 interceptions against 9 touchdowns. If Willis can improve his accuracy and decision-making, the Jayhawks could look to get not just their first win since 2014 but their first conference win since 2014 as well as they host Rhode Island and Ohio in their first two games this year and host Iowa State as well.


Federal Marshal
Oct 13, 2004
Mahomes is the best QB and it isn't close.
I would contend that his production will go down now that his, by far, best target for YAC (J. Grant), and perhaps the Big 12's most underrated player in the last two years, is gone to the nfl.

NYC Poke

The Veil of Ignorance
A/V Subscriber
Sep 24, 2007
Is it possible to throw for almost 3,800 yards and still be overlooked? Because I think that's the position Mason finds himself in. If we're able to manage any semblance of a running game, look out. His numbers could be astronomical.


A/V Subscriber
Nov 24, 2014
Lavon, TX
Is it possible to throw for almost 3,800 yards and still be overlooked? Because I think that's the position Mason finds himself in. If we're able to manage any semblance of a running game, look out. His numbers could be astronomical.
If our offense isn't in the 520-540 yards/game... I'll be disappointed. I think Mason will be in the 4000-4200 range if he stays healthy. With the potential of 2 recievers having 1000 yard seasons. :koolaid: