Who will be the top quarterback in the Big 12 in 2011?
Athlon Sports' editorial staff is knee-deep in 2011 college football production. For the 45th year in a row, Athlon Sports will release its in-depth preseason preview annual complete with coaching changes, behind the scenes features, pages of recruiting rankings, and most importantly, in-depth predictions and previews.
Each year, a select group of Athlonians order some pizza and lock themselves in a room until all 120 teams have been hammered into place. And every year, there are some seriously heated discussions that result in not-so-cordial commentary.
The finalized 2011 preseason top-25 countdown will begin with team No. 25 on Monday May 2. But every day until then, we will offer the college football fan a peek behind the curtain at some of the most heated debates that we the editors at Athlon had to work through.
Check out all the debates linked below.
The Debate: Who is the first-team All-Big 12 preseason quarterback?
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Very, very, very tough. I went with Robert Griffin. Brandon Weeden and Landry Jones are both great players who are going to put up monster numbers, but I just think Griffin is the best player of the group. His team won't win as many games — or at least, I don't believe it will — but he is such a good quarterback.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Landry Jones will likely play for the eventual champion and has the most talent around him. Brandon Weeden is likely the best pro prospect but has lost mad offensive genius Dana Holgorsen to West Virginia. But the most gifted player of the bunch – and clearly the most valuable to his team – is Robert (or Bob, as we call him) Griffin III of Baylor. Just imagine what his skills could accomplish if he played for Oklahoma or Texas. There may be no more valuable player to his team in the nation than Bob Griffin.
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
You really can't go wrong with any of the three choices — Robert Griffin, Baylor, Landry Jones, Oklahoma or Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State. Although Weeden earned first-team honors last year, I'm going to put him No. 3 on this list. Yes, Justin Blackmon returns, but there's a new coordinator calling the plays. The same offense may be in place, but Oklahoma State will miss Dana Holgorsen. Griffin's play has elevated Baylor to a bowl team, but I have to go with Jones. The junior had some question marks last year, but played better on the road and against Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. If Jones continues that same improvement this year and Oklahoma is in discussion for the national title, then it would be hard to pick against him as the top quarterback in the Big 12.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
This is a tough pick every season in such a pass-happy league, but I’m going with Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. He was thrown into the fire a little early in 2009 when Sam Bradford was injured, but Jones had a great leap in production as a sophomore in 2010. His touchdown passes rose from 26 to 38, and his interceptions went down (14 to 12) despite throwing 168 more passes. I look for more of the same in 2011, when Jones and the Sooners should light up scoreboards each week. Both Robert Griffin of Baylor and Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State are great candidates as well, but I believe Jones will be the best of the bunch and lead his team to a top-five ranking and a possible national title.
Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden was first-team All-Big 12 last season (completing 66.9 percent of his passes for 4,277 yards, 34 TDs and 13 INTs), throws the ball to arguably the best receiver in the country (Justin Blackmon, who had 111 catches for 1,782 yards and 20 TDs in ’10) and will turn a Chris Weinke-esque 28 years old this October. It’s an easy answer; Weeden is the grown man to beat. (What do you think Coach Gundy? “He’s a man! He’s 28 years old!” That’s what I thought you’d say. I agree — Weeden should be the preseason first-team All-Big 12 quarterback.)
Debate: Who will finish second in the ACC Atlantic?
Debate: How far will Auburn fall in 2011?
Pre-order your team’s Athlon Sports cover here (athlonsports.com/store) and find out where Athlon has your team picked when the 2011 Top 25 countdown begins on Monday, May 2.