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CRFF Ranks: Big 12 Quarterbacks

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Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

In this league which is known for dynamic spread offenses and inflated box scores, there's one thing you must have to be successful. That's right, a quarterback.

So I posed this challenge to our staff: Rank the Big 12 schools based on QB situation entering the 2016 season. Here's what we came up with.

(Check out everyone's votes at the bottom of the page and be sure to let us hear it in the comment section.)

No. 1 Oklahoma

Projected Depth Chart
  • Baker Mayfield - Sr
  • Austin Kendall - Fr
  • Connor McGinnis - R.So
  • Kyle Murray - So (ineligible)
Last Year's Stats (Mayfield)
  • 3,700 yards passing / 68.1% completion /  36 touchdowns / seven interceptions
  • QBR of 173.32
  • 405 yards rushing / seven touchdowns

After a trip to the College Football Playoff and recently finding out he has another season of eligilbility, senior QB Baker Mayfield enters 2016 as a Top 5 Heisman candidate at the helm of the favorite to repeat as conference champions.

Summary

Mayfield deserves to be here after taking his team to the CFP. He doesn't have Sterling Shepard this season, but he's definitely the best dual threat quarterback in the Big 12. - Gallagher

No. 2 Oklahoma State

Projected Depth Chart
  • Mason Rudolph - Jr
  • Taylor Cornelius - Jr
  • John Kolar - R.Fr
  • Keondre Wudtee - Fr
  • Nyc Burns - Fr
  • Gabe Neph - R.So
  • Josh Green - Fr
Last Year's Stats (Rudolph)
  • 3,770 yards passing / 62.3% completion / 21 touchdowns / 9 interceptions
  • QBR of 149.04
  • -35 yards rushing / one touchdown

It's hard to believe that the true freshman Bedlam hero is entering his junior season. After sharing the reigns with "super backup" J.W. Walsh, Rudolph will finally get his chance to lead this offense all the way into the end zone. While the Walsh package was necessary to supplement the Cowboys' rushing attack, it robbed Rudolph in the box score. But you'll never hear him complain.

Can Rudolph prove the doubters wrong? He's got probably the Big 12's deepest receiving corps headlined by the leading returning receiver James Washington to help him prove it.

Summary

For me, this isn't even a question. What he accomplished on a team with a poor offensive line and no running game was phenomenal. - Robert

No. 3 Baylor

Projected Depth Chart
  • Seth Russell - Sr
  • Jarrett Stidham - So
  • Zack Bennema - R. Fr
  • Zach Smith - Fr
Last Year's Stats (Russell)
  • 2,104 yards passing / 59.5% completion / 29 touchdowns / six interceptions
  • QBR of 189.72
  • 402 yards rushing / six touchdowns
Last Year's Stats (Stidham)
  • 1,265 yards passing / 68.8% completion / 12 touchdowns / two interceptions
  • QBR of 198.96
  • 70 yards rushing / two touchdowns

Yeesh... So we'll just let that elephant see his way out of the room as we try to focus on football.

If Russell is healthy, he should be the starter but Stidham shined in Russell's absence before missing time himself.

We know that Baylor has skill players, at least for now. But with all the turmoil surrounding the program, it's hard to know what to expect from the Bears. Still, with Russell and Stidham both still in Waco the Bears are in good shape at QB.

Summary

If Russell had stayed healthy Baylor may have won it all last year. Only question is the health. - Josh

No. 4 Texas Tech

Projected Depth Chart
  • Patrick Mahomes II - Jr
  • Nic Shimonek - Jr
Last Year's Stats (Mahomes)
  • 4,653 yards passing / 63.5% completion / 36 touchdowns / 15 interceptions
  • QBR of 147.23
  • 456 yards rushing / 10 touchdowns

Looking at those numbers, Tech fans may think we are selling their junior QB short. They may have a point. Mahomes was fourth nationally in passing yards last season, amassing over 1,000 more yards than the second leading Big 12 QB (Trevone Boykin).

Mahomes may be a "system QB", but he's really good in that system. Expect him to put up more gaudy numbers this year. If the Red Raiders would just improve defensively, they could be competing for a Big 12 title every year.

Summary

This could be so wrong by the end of the year. I think Mahomes has the most potential to have the best stats at the end of the season, on a team that will only be held back by another awful defense. - Phillip

No. 5 West Virginia

Projected Depth Chart
  • Skyler Howard - Sr
  • William Crest Jr. - R.So
  • Chris Chugunov - R. Fr
  • David Sills - So
  • Cody Saunders - Fr
  • Will Grier - R. So (ineligible)
Last Year's Stats (Howard)
  • 3,145 yards passing / 54.8% completion / 26 touchdowns / 14 interceptions
  • QBR of 134.73
  • 502 yards rushing / six touchdowns

It appears Skyler Howard will keep his job going into 2016. The Mountaineers could be a sleeper team in the Big 12 this season. If that's the case it will be due to Howard's improvement. Though inconsistent, he has shown the ability to make plays.

The backup spot looks to be less than cut and dry. William Crest and David Sills seem likely candidates until Florida transfer Will Grier is eligible in 2017.

Summary

Howard was inconsistent last year but still threw 26 TD's. In his second year at the helm I expect him to have a more consistent season. - Josh

No. 6 TCU

Projected Depth Chart
  • Kenny Hill - Jr
  • Foster Sawyer - So
  • Brennen Wooten - Fr
  • Grayson Muehlstein - So
Last Year's Stats (Hill in 2014 for Texas A&M)
  • 2,649 yards passing / 66.7% completion / 23 touchdowns / eight interceptions
  • QBR of 154.65
  • 156 yards rushing / 0 touchdowns

Kenny Hill last played two seasons ago for the Aggies then transferred to TCU a year ago as the beginning of a max QB exodus from College Station.

Hill should get his chance to take the reigns in Fort Worth. He's got skill and with Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie in charge of the offense, he'll have every opportunity to succeed.

Summary

Probably the toughest job in the conference belongs to Hill who will replace Boykin. Hill should get the nod to be the starter and I think he will keep the job. Has experience and can sling it to a talented WR corps. - Josh

No. 7 Kansas State

Projected Depth Chart
  • Jesse Ertz - So
  • Joe Hubener - Sr
  • Alex Delton - R.Fr
  • Hunter Hall - Fr
  • Skylar Thompson - Fr
Last Year's Stats (Hubener)
  • 1,837 yards passing / 47.6% completion / 9 touchdowns / 10 interceptions
  • QBR of 107.28
  • 613 yards rushing / 13 touchdowns

Although last year's starter, Joe Hubener, returns for his senior year, it appears he will have to earn his spot. Sophomore Jesse Ertz and even freshman Alex Delton both have a chance to earn the QB1 job. Ertz was recently voted team captain although never playing a snap for the Wildcats.

Whoever it is, if we know anything about Bill Snyder teams, the following statement will probably apply.

Summary

Joe Hubener is basically every other K-State quarterback. But they're effective. - Gallagher

No. 8 Iowa State

Projected Depth Chart
  • Joel Lanning - Jr
  • Zeb Nolad - Fr
  • Jacob Park - Fr
Last Year's Stats (Lanning)
  • 1,246 yards passing / 55.4% completion / 10 touchdowns / four interceptions
  • QBR of 122.62
  • 330 yards rushing / four touchdowns

New head coach Matt Campbell seems to be set on Lanning as his starter. Sometimes a little confidence and some fresh energy can be all you need. Lanning should improve plus he has a couple of potent weapons in junior wide receiver Allen Lazard and sophomore running back Mike Warren to help him.

Summary

Despite the fact that I hate watching OSU play in Ames, I think the new HC will be very proud of him. - Robert

No. 9 Texas

@TexasFB (Twitter)

Projected Depth Chart
  • Shane Buechele - Fr
  • Tyrone Swoopes - Sr
  • Jerrod Heard - So
Last Year's Stats (Heard)
  • 1,214 yards passing / 57.9% completion / five touchdowns / five interceptions
  • QBR of 126.08
  • 556 yards rushing / three touchdowns
Last Year's Stats (Swoopes)
  • 537 yards passing / 50.5% completion / four touchdowns / one interception
  • QBR of 111.08
  • 451 yards rushing / 12 touchdowns

This will be a competition. Tyrone Swoopes should have a chance at the starting spot as well as Heard who showed flashes last year as a freshman. But all the buzz in Austin is about true freshman Shane Buechele.

Buechele is a four-star dual threat quarterback who impressed in the spring game. New offensive coordinator, Stephen Gilbert will have the task of making that call as he installs his offense. Either way, expect Tyrone Swoopes to be involved in red zone and short yardage packages even if Buechele gets the nod.

Summary

I though Heard had potential but was clearly not the guy. Shane Buechele is an intriguing freshman who can hurt you both ways. It all depends on how they use him and if he actually has someone to throw it to. - Kyle

No. 10 Kansas

Projected Depth Chart
  • Ryan Willis - So
  • Montell Cozart - Sr
Last Year's Stats (Willis)
  • 1,719 yards passing / 52.1% completion / nine touchdowns / 10 interceptions
  • QBR of 100.98
  • -70 yards rushing / 0 touchdowns

What can we say? It's been a rough go for Willis and his Jayhawks. I think Robert sums it up best below.

Summary

Maybe he can start his college career 0-20. - Robert

CRFF QB Ranks
Phillip Andrew Gallagher Josh Robert Kyle
OU OU OU Baylor OSU OSU
OSU OSU Baylor OU Tech OU
Baylor Tech OSU OSU OU Baylor
Tech Baylor Tech Tech Baylor Tech
WVU WVU WVU TCU ISU TCU
KSU ISU KSU WVU KSU UT
TCU KSU TCU ISU WVU ISU
ISU UT ISU KSU TCU WVU
UT TCU UT UT KU KSU
KU KU KU KU UT KU