Who was the Big 12's best player in 2012?

February, 25, 2013
2/25/13
9:00
AM ET
It's been a fun month or so counting down to today, but the day is finally here. It's time to crown the Big 12's No. 1 player.

I haven't heard too many big complaints, but here's my mailbag if you've got beef with the list. If necessary, we'll do an all-Top 25 players mailbag where I'll address your grievances.

Without further ado, let's get to it. Who was the Big 12's best player in 2012?

No. 1: Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State

2012 numbers: Completed 197-of-304 passes (64.8 percent) for 2,646 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Rushed 207 times for 925 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Most recent ranking: Klein was ranked No. 4 in our preseason list of the Big 12's top 25 players.

Making the case for Klein: Two things separated Collin Klein's stellar 2011 season and his Heisman finalist finish in 2012: his growth as a passer and ability to will his team to wins. Kansas State asked less from him in the running game this year (he had 110 fewer carries this season), but he showcased his more refined arm early in the season and beat defenses with both his arms and legs all year on the way to a Big 12 title and a third-place finish in the Heisman Trophy voting. He completed seven percent more of his passes this season and averaged nearly two more yards per attempt than he did in 2011.

He's not flashy -- don't look for any spin moves or breakaway speed from the 6-foot-5, 226-pound dual-threat passer. He's not the best passer in the Big 12. He wins, though, and in the most important part of the field -- the red zone. He was the Big 12's best player and for each of the past two years he would not be denied around the goal line. He might be the most difficult player in the league to prepare for, and if you're backed into third and short or inside the five-yard line, Klein showcased why he was the most frustrating player to defend in the entire league.

Certainly, some players across the league have more raw talent than Klein, but nobody was better in 2012, and Klein's trophy case and win total can attest to why he was definitely the Big 12's best player in 2012.

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