- David Ubben, College Football
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We did it last year, and it's time to rev up the engines one more time.
The Big 12 had five passers top 3,000 yards in 2011. WVU's Geno Smith also topped 3,000 yards, but Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill did, too. The league breaks even in that sense.
College football had 39 passers top 3,000 yards last year, up from 27 in 2010.
Which ones will crack the mark in the Big 12 next year? I'm glad you asked.
Remember: This isn't so much a ranking of the Big 12's best quarterbacks, but the QBs with the best chance to break the benchmark for a great season.
1. Geno Smith, West Virginia: Smith had his first season over 3,000 yards last year, and did it by a long ways, racking up 4,385 yards, which was 1,781 more than any other Big East QB. That's nuts. He may throw for more yards than any Big 12 QB this year, but it won't be that wide of a margin. He's got one of the best receiving corps in the league. Injury would be the only thing that could keep him under 3,000.
2. Landry Jones, Oklahoma: Jones has big question marks at receiver. Three of his top four returning targets are currently suspended. Still, he has Kenny Stills and hyped newcomer Trey Metoyer headlining the best class of incoming receivers in the country. He'll top 4,000 yards for the third consecutive season, and 3,000 for the fourth.
3. Seth Doege, Texas Tech: Doege took his place as the next in a long line of successful Tech QBs, throwing for 4,004 yards despite losing the heart of his running game and his two most talented receivers. Tech will throw it enough as always to make this one a no-doubter.
4. Nick Florence, Baylor: Florence will top 3,000 yards in his first full year as a starter with time to prepare for becoming one. He earned seven sudden starts when Robert Griffin III tore his ACL in 2009, Florence's true freshman season. He's got more experience now and arguably the best receiving corps in the league. That's a heck of a combo.
5. Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State: Lunt is a true freshman who better brace for growing pains, but he'll have plenty of great moments in OSU's loaded, pass-first offense. He'll top 3,000 yards by a narrow margin, but the biggest key for Lunt will be keeping his interception total low. If he does that, OSU could be scary.
6. Casey Pachall, TCU: Pachall will have to balance out TCU's running game, which should take advantage of some Big 12 defenses' weak interiors. He'll need to chuck it a whole lot more this season if TCU gets into shootouts or needs to come from behind. That'll happen a lot more in the Big 12 than in the Mountain West.
Just missed: Dayne Crist, Kansas. (Simply put, not enough offensive weapons to top 3,000 yards.)
We did it last year, and it's time to rev up the engines one more time.The Big 12 had five passers top 3,000 yards in 2011. WVU's Geno Smith also topped 3,000 yards, but Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill did, too.