STILLWATER — This time last week, the Big 12 region was buzzing about the performance of Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin. He had just led the Bears to a road win over Texas and had Baylor atop the Big 12 South.
Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden heard the talk.
"People were comparing us all week," Weeden said. "And I would say it was unanimous that people thought he was better than I was."
On Saturday, Weeden let his actions speak for themselves. The junior was 34 of 42 for 435 yards and three touchdowns passing as OSU knocked off Baylor, 55-28. Weeden left no doubt who was the best quarterback on the field that day. On Monday, the Pokes signal caller was rewarded with the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honor.
"It's human nature, it's hard not to take that (personally)," he said. "Obviously, you want to be the best quarterback on the field and when people are telling you (that) you're not, you want to prove people wrong. And I think I did my part in that."
With three games left in Big 12 Conference play, Weeden appears to be the favorite for All-Big 12 quarterback honors.
What about Taylor Martinez? He's had highlight plays, without a doubt, but there are times this season when his own coaches were unsure if he gave the Huskers the best chance to win.
Robert Griffin? He went head-to-head with Weeden and came up short.
Landry Jones? The Oklahoma quarterback will have his say during Bedlam on Nov. 27.
As of today, it's hard to argue Weeden is not the guy. His consistent production, coupled with the Cowboys 8-1 record, makes him hard to ignore.
But the biggest obstacle to earning All-Big 12 honors could be regional perception of his numbers and two simple words:
"It's my biggest pet peeve in the world," Weeden said. "Even when Graham Harrell was (putting up big numbers) at Texas Tech, you're still throwing comebacks, still throwing posts, still throwing all the throws they make in the NFL. It's no different, I've never understood the term 'system quarterback.' It's bogus."
The incredible numbers put up by quarterbacks in "Air Raid" type systems — at Texas Tech and Houston — could change the perception of Weeden's numbers because they could be considered normal instead of exceptional.
Weeden has proved to be an elite quarterback, regardless of system, through nine games. In comparison to the other contenders, the numbers are on Weeden's side: 229 of 341 pass attempts for 2,982 yards, 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions. And he sits atop the Big 12 in passing yards per game as well as ranking No. 2 in total offense and No. 3 in pass efficiency.
"My job is to get him better each week," offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen said. "And, up to this point, I think he's gotten better each week."
If that continues, Weeden could become the first All-Big 12 quarterback in OSU history.
Hereâ€™s a look at Brandon Weedenâ€™s top competition for All-Big 12 quarterback, including pros and cons for each contender.
Robert Griffin III, Baylor
Pros: The sophomore has energized the Bears program, first in 2008, then again this season after missing 2009 with a knee injury. He leads the Big 12 in total offense with 327.5 yards per game.
Cons: Was essentially shut down by Oklahoma Stateâ€™s defense in the Bearsâ€™ biggest game of the year on Saturday. Will he shake off that bad game and prove himself worthy against Texas A&M and Oklahoma?
Taylor Martinez, Nebraska
Pros: Presents plenty of problems for defenses with his exceptional acceleration and quickness. His career day against OSU wonâ€™t be forgotten anytime soon, and visions of him running through Kansas Stateâ€™s secondary remain fresh almost a month later.
Cons: Even though heâ€™s a highlight waiting to happen, Martinez has been inconsistent. Heâ€™s been pulled from the game twice with the final outcome still in doubt. Can you be the All Big 12 quarterback with that on your resume?
Landry Jones, Oklahoma
Pros: Jones has been outstanding at home this season with 14 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. He had all-league level performances against Florida State, Iowa State and Colorado in Norman.
Cons: Jones is a different quarterback on the road as the Sooners have lost their only two true road games (Missouri, Texas A&M) in Big 12 play. He has eight touchdown passes and four interceptions in three road games.