October 29, 2008

Johnson key for A&M as QB play reigns supreme in Big 12

The Big 12 conference has taken the fundamentals associated with winning football and turned them upside down and inside out. The old adage that you need to be able to run the football and play defense gets worked over on a weekly basis, not just once or twice but in multiple games.

Numerous articles have been written on the theories behind the spread offense that dominates the league. However, it's the quantity and quality of a group of upplerclassmen quarterbacks that collectively form the best group in the country.

Ten of the top 28 rated passers in the NCAA are in the Big 12. It's a diverse group that includes a senior like Graham Harrell as well as a freshman like Baylor's Robert Griffin. And it's not a group that was necessarily highly recruited out of high school. Texas' Colt McCoy was an afterthought in the class of 2005, insurance against the fact that Ryan Perrilloux would not stay committed to the Longhorns. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was a three-star prospect per Rivals.com. Now the two lead most Heisman ballots.

Oklahoma State's Zach Robinson beat out the more heralded Bobby Reid who had a book written about his recruiting. None of the bigger name schools in the South wanted Missouri's Chase Daniel. Baylor's Griffin and Texas A&M's Jerrod Johnson have played other sports in college and were considered more athletes than passers when they arrived.

Most importantly, the depth of the quarterbacks in the conference means that on any given Saturday, two of them are typically facing off against each other.

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