Over the past decade, no power conference in college football has filled the air with footballs to the extent of the Big 12. Beginning with the pass-happy exploits of Texas Tech and Oklahoma in the early 2000s, virtually every team in the league – Texas (Colt McCoy), Oklahoma State (Zac Robinson and Brandon Weeden), Baylor (Robert Griffin III and Nick Florence), Kansas (Todd Reesing), Kansas State (Collin Klein) and West Virginia (Geno Smith) – has featured a star QB who has rewritten his school’s record book.
Yet in 2013, the best word to assess the overall QB situation in college football’s most pass-happy conference is “unproven.” Entering the season, eight of the Big 12′s ten teams feature a QB in their first full year as a starter. Even the QBs at the two schools that don’t fall into that category, David Ash (Texas) and Casey Pachall (TCU), are faced with questions and/or doubters of their own.
All that being said, the performance of all those record-setting passers of pseudo-yore has a lot to do with their coaches, who have proven their abilities time and again as QB gurus. Will that precedent hold true in 2013?
2013 Preseason Big 12 Starting Quarterback Rankings
|1||Casey Pachall||Sr.||66.0%, 948 PASS YDS, 10 PASS TD, 1 INT||The big question in Fort Worth is if Pachall has a handle on the substance addiction that derailed his junior season. If he does, he’s more than capable of exceeding the 25 TDs he threw for in 2011.|
|2||Clint Chelf||Sr.||60.4%, 1,588 PASS YDS, 15 PASS TD, 6 INT||Chelf’s performance over the last six games of 2012 suggest he can become HC Mike Gundy’s next prolific QB in Stillwater. He’s unafraid to make mistakes and lives for the big play.|
|3||David Ash||Jr.||67.3%, 2,699 PASS YDS, 19 PASS TD, 8 INT||Ash displayed a newfound steadiness in his first year as the starter. With his top two receivers from a year ago back, he’s expected to maintain that while also making the Longhorns passing game more explosive.|
|4||Bryce Petty||Jr.||70.0%, 97 PASS YDS, 1 PASS TD, 0 INT||Though unproven during two years spent behind RGIII and Nick Florence, Petty has Bears fans expecting big things from him after a 13-of-15, 181-yard and two-TD performance in Baylor’s spring game.|
|5||Blake Bell||Jr.||56.3%, 308 total YDS, 11 total TD, 0 INT||The “Belldozer” has more rushing TDs in his first two collegiate seasons (24) than pass attempts (20). OU fans no doubt hope the Kansas native can transform himself into a Sooners version of Tim Tebow – if he wins the starting job.|
|6||Jake Heaps||Jr.||*57.1%, 1,452 PASS YDS, 9 PASS TD, 8 INT||Charlie Weis’ tenuous tenure with the Jayhawks is largely dependent on how the BYU transfer will perform in 2013. From the sounds of it, Heaps has looked much better than Dayne Christ did at this time last year.|
|7||Michael Brewer||So.||70.8%, 375 PASS YDS, 4 PASS TD, 0 INT||The Red Raiders’ starting QB always seems to be changing, but their productivity never does. Pairing Brewer with new HC Kliff Kingsbury could be a Texas Tech match made in heaven.|
|8||Daniel Sams||So.||75.0%, 290 total YDS, 3 total TD, 0 INT||Sams is a dual-threat QB in the mold of Collin Klein and displayed big-play ability as a runner last year (7.3 YPC). His development as an equally competent passer, however, will take some time.|
|9||Ford Childress||Fr.||**63.0%, 3,171 pass YDS, 41 PASS TD, 7 INT||Childress has the size (6-foot-5, 224 pounds) and stats tailor-made for HC Dana Holgorsen’s Air Raid attack. But he epitomizes “unproven,” having not thrown a single pass as a redshirt last year.|
|10||Sam Richardson||So.||58.2%, 774 total YDS, 9 total TD, 1 INT||Richardson’s performance in the final three games of ’12 definitely opened some eyes in Ames. He’s still young, but unlike many of his Big 12 counterparts, he knows the starting job is his.|