The Davey O’Brien Award semifinalists have been announced.
From the American Athletic Conference: Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and Central Florida’s Blake Bortles.
From the ACC: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
From the Mountain West: Fresno State’s Derek Carr.
From the Pac-12: UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Oregon State’s Sean Mannion and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.
From the Mid-American Conference: Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch.
From the Big Ten: Ohio State’s Braxton Miller.
From the SEC: Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron, LSU’s Zach Mettenberger, Georgia’s Aaron Murray, South Carolina’s Connor Shaw.
From the Big 12: Baylor’s Bryce Petty.
There’s the new catchphrase for our conference here in Middle America. Big 12 football: As much star power as the MAC.
The beleaguered American Athletic Conference, which once was the Big East but disintegrated into mediocrity, has more name-brand quarterbacks than does the Big 12.
Big 12 football is down this year, no doubt about it, and you can’t blame this one on Dan Beebe or DeLoss Dodds or David Boren or the Texas Aggie brain trust. Oh, well, maybe you can be mad at A&M, since if the Ags had stayed, Johnny Football would be in the Big 12. But what’s done is done.
And what’s been done is a lack of quarterback development in the Big 12. Everyone can say it’s a transitional year, that the Big 12 broke in too many new quarterbacks. Except the one good quarterback on the Big 12 list, Baylor’s Petty, is a first-year starter. And some veteran guys, notably OSU’s Clint Chelf and J.W. Walsh, seem to have regressed since last season. And while yes, TCU’s Casey Pachall and Texas’ David Ash have been injured, they weren’t lighting it up before they got hurt.
It’s just a dud year in Big 12 quarterbacking, which is the major reason why it’s a dud year in Big 12 football. I asked the question a few weeks ago: Who is the Big 12′s second-best quarterback. Here we are approaching the second week of November, and there’s still no good answer.
You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you. In passing efficiency, the No. 2 quarterback in the Big 12 is Kansas State’s Daniel Sams. And Sams can’t throw a lick. He’s KSU’s running QB.
In fact, in the Big 12 pass efficiency ratings, the top four are: 1. Petty; 2. Sams; 3. Baylor backup Seth Russell; 4. KSU alternate Jake Waters.
If you’re starting to believe that Art Briles and Bill Snyder know what they’re doing, move to the head of the class.
After that comes Blake Bell, who grabbed the OU job on Sept. 7 and has been both good and spotty ever since; Texas Tech freshman Davis Webb, who is sporadic but promising; OSU’s Walsh, who has lost his job to Chelf; Texas’ Case McCoy, who grabbed the ‘Horns when Ash was injured; Iowa State’s Sam Richardson, who’s just not very good at all; and TCU’s Trevone Boykin, who couldn’t throw it in the ocean if you put him in a liferaft.
Who’s the second-best QB? I don’t know. Bell, maybe. McCoy, who isn’t impressive but seems to win. The K-State guys. Whichever one Snyder happens to like at the moment.
The lack of quarterback acumen has made the Big 12 a mediocre league in 2013, and it’s not gotten any better as we hit the home stretch of the conference.
You want good quarterbacking? Watch the SEC. Heck, watch the American Athletic Conference.