Our man John Helsley asked an interesting question Monday. If we concede that Baylor’s Bryce Petty is the Big 12′s best quarterback — which seems likely but hasn’t exactly been proven just yet — then who is the second-best quarterback in the league?
The answer just might be, there isn’t one.
The Big 12 not so long ago was a quarterback-rich league. But now it’s quarterback-deficient. Think about it.
OSU: J.W. Walsh is the unquestioned starter, but he’s been so-so as the Cowboys’ prolific attack has been grounded.
OU: Blake Bell looked really good against Notre Dame, but he was just so-so against TCU and downright bad against Texas. His hold on the job seems precarious.
Texas Tech: True freshman Baker Mayfield, who came to Lubbock without a scholarship, was OK until an injury on Oct. 5. Davis Webb replaced Mayfield and has been effective. But Michael Brewer was going to be Tech’s quarterback, until an injury.
Texas: David Ash might be the answer, except he’s fought concussion symptoms for weeks. The job is Case McCoy’s for now.
TCU: Casey Pachall figured to be the Big 12′s best quarterback. But he was injured early in the year, and now the job is Trevone Boykin’s.
Kansas State: The Wildcats have been playing Daniel Sams more, but Jake Waters has been just as effective.
Kansas: Is Jake Heaps still playing? I guess he is.
Iowa State: Sam Richardson is the man in Ames. Surely Sam Richardson is not under consideration, is he?
West Virginia: The Mountaineers have used three starting quarterbacks. None have been any good.
Can you believe it? The much-maligned Walsh might be the second-best quarterback, behind only Petty.
Mike Gundy seemed to espouse the cyclical theory. Just last year, the Big 12 had Geno Smith, Landry Jones and Collin Klein. The year before, Robert Griffin, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. A couple of years before that, Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell and Zac Robinson.
Great quarterbacks all. Now, it’s great quarterbacks none, unless Petty proves to be the real deal. We’ll see.
“Unless you have an NFL-type quarterback playing for you … you’re susceptible,” Gundy said. “I think it’s all across the country. If you don’t have that type of player in that position…”
Gundy mentioned Missouri, where veteran James Franklin was leading the Tigers to a strong start before he suffered a separate shoulder Saturday. Franklin now is a senior but he played against the Big 12 schools in 2010 and 2011.
“When he was a freshman and a sophomore, he made some mistakes,” Gundy said. “We knew he was a good player.” But Gundy saw Franklin on Saturday against Georgia and realized that Franklin had grown up.
Maybe the same will happen with whoever emerges from a variety of quarterback messes at Big 12 schools.
But what the Big 12 needs is what the Big 12 had. NFL-caliber quarterbacks.
“They’re hard to find,” Gundy said. “That doesn’t mean Texas’ quarterback, OU’s quarterback, OSU’s quarterbacks, at some point can’t play at that level.”
But for now, Baylor is getting good quarterbacking. The rest of the conference goes into each Saturday hoping for the same.