KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson doesn't have the bulky passing statistics of Texas Tech's Graham Harrell.
He doesn't ooze arrogance like Missouri's Chase Daniel or boast the daunting physical presence of Kansas State's Josh Freeman.
Nor does he have a 12-win season in the bank like Kansas' Todd Reesing.
All Robinson has is a solid string of consistent performances. But in a conference with as many talented quarterbacks — many of whom are lightning rods for attention — as any in the nation, it might be hard for the laid-back and humble Robinson to garner the respect his play deserves.
"A quarterback could finish 12th out of 12 in the conference and be in the top 15 in the nation,” said Colorado coach Dan Hawkins Tuesday at Big 12 Media Days.
It's highly unlikely that Robinson will end up as the No. 12 quarterback in the conference, but Hawkins' point is that in a season like this, that wouldn't be a total disgrace. Hawkins' son and starting quarterback, Cody, is in a position similar to Robinson — a quality signal-caller on a middle-of-the-pack team who doesn't get noticed as much as comparable players on top-25 squads.
The latter fact, however, might be the key.
"Accolades at the quarterback position are directly tied to wins,” said Kansas State coach Ron Prince. "There's a lot of good quarterbacks, but those who get their team in the end zone more than the other guy, to them goes the spoils.”
But even that is overstating the situation a little.
Last week when the preseason watch list for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top quarterback, was released, it included five Big 12 Conference quarterbacks among its 31 candidates. But not Robinson.
However, the O'Brien list also included these three players:
•Sophomore Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame, who won only three games and averaged 106 total yards per game last year;
•USC's Mark Sanchez, who just this week was named the team's starter;
• and Louisville senior Hunter Cantwell, who has barely more than half as many passing yards in his three-year career (1,419) as Robinson had last season (2,824).