Ranking the Big 12's top 25 players: No. 3

March, 8, 2012
3/08/12
3:00
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Our countdown of the Big 12's top 25 players continues. The official list is locked away in a vault in an undisclosed location, but we're revealing a new member every day.

Here's a quick rundown on my criteria for this list.

We're officially in the top 10 now. That means it could be a little heated from here on. Got beef? Send it to my mailbag, and we'll have a later post logging and answering your complaints.

No. 3: Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State

2011 numbers: Completed 408-of-564 (72.3 percent) passes for 4,727 yards, 37 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Most recent ranking: Weeden was ranked No. 3 in our preseason list of the top 25 players.

Making the case for Weeden: The simple fact about the 2011 season? If Quinn Sharp's field goal late in regulation at Iowa State is a foot -- maybe a couple inches -- to the inside of the post, Brandon Weeden wins the Heisman Trophy and Oklahoma State plays for a national championship.

Alas, an awful loss in Ames derailed Weeden's Heisman campaign -- unfair or not -- and forced the Cowboys to settle for a Big 12 title and dramatic overtime win over Andrew Luck and Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl. Luck was only the latest in a long line of top quarterbacks Weeden toppled. He was dominant in wins over Arizona (Nick Foles), Texas A&M (Ryan Tannehill), Baylor (Robert Griffin III) and Oklahoma (Landry Jones), adding Luck to that list in his career finale.

Weeden threw the ball more than every FBS quarterback but Houston's Case Keenum and Texas Tech's Seth Doege. Harp on about balance if you must, but Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle ran for 26 touchdowns and 1,200 yards, and if anything, Weeden's attempts total signifies two things:

1) His ability to string together completions and move the chains, and

2) His coaching staff's confidence in him.

Oklahoma State ran a lot of plays last year, and scored more than everybody but Houston. Weeden was the catalyst that made it all run.

The rest of the list:

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