In this week's Big 12 Take Two, we debate which quarterback left off Monday's all-time top five ranking deserved most to be considered:
Take 1: Brandon Chatmon -- TCU QB Trevone Boykin
It was tough to leave Boykin off this list.
True enough, the former TCU quarterback wasn’t a "no-doubter" in the mold of Vince Young, Sam Bradford or Robert Griffin III, but he was exceptional -- particularly during his final two seasons in Fort Worth, Texas.
His growth and development during his junior and senior seasons was amazing after subpar freshman and sophomore campaigns during which he often looked destined to be a better pass-catcher than throwing threat. Instead he became one of America’s top quarterbacks and overall players.
He also solidified his candidacy to land among the all-time best quarterbacks in the Big 12 with his stellar senior season. There were times that season when he took over games and saved his best for last with a 94.8 QBR during the fourth quarter. He was a terrific passing threat with the open-field playmaking of a running back, making him a defensive coordinator’s worst nightmare.
The Big 12 is a quarterback league full of top playmakers who would not look out of place on this list, but Boykin is the best of the bunch.
Take 2: Jake Trotter -- Oklahoma QB Josh Heupel
This was tough. Because I could've easily made a case here for Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, Missouri's Brad Smith, Nebraska's Eric Crouch or Texas Tech's Graham Harrell. Weeden led the Cowboys to their first conference championship in 35 years, and came within a whisker of playing for the national title. Smith became the first player in college football to throw for 8,000 yards and rush for 4,000 in a career. Crouch won the Heisman. And Harrell was the best of a long line of prolific Tech passers.
I went with Heupel, primarily for two reasons. One, he won a national championship, which none of the other quarterbacks under consideration accomplished. Two, he was a major part of the Oklahoma's resurrection at the turn of the millennium.
Before Bob Stoops took over in 1999, Oklahoma had reached a low point dating to the Bud Wilkinson era. Under Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake, the Sooners went four straight years without a winning season. When Stoops arrived, Oklahoma had some talent, but no quarterback. And it's unlikely the Sooners would have been able to make the dramatic turnaround so abruptly had Stoops and Mike Leach not unearthed Heupel out of junior college.
Instead, with Heupel pulling the strings, the Sooners instantly became a force offensively. That not only fueled Oklahoma's run to the 2000 national championship, it set the tone for Oklahoma's dominance of the conference for years to come.