Wide Open Race in the Big 12
The Big 12 is going through changes, with 2023 being the final season before Oklahoma and Texas head to the SEC. However, BYU, UCF, and Cincinnati will join this season, which has a chance to shake up College Football odds for the best quarterback in the conference.
On top of that, the top quarterback from last season, Max Duggan, a Heisman finalist, was drafted by the NFL. That opens up opportunities for other options for College Football picks.
The only issue is that compared to other seasons, there is no clear leader of the pack for a conference usually paced by quarterback play. No star player is headlining College Football news, which is another reason the top quarterback spot is wide open.
Out of the new schools joining the Big 12, one quarterback could make an immediate impact. NCAA odds could see John Rhys Plumlee rising in the quarterback rankings. In his first season with UCF, he accounted for 3,448 yards, passed for 14 touchdowns, and rushed for 11. It might be hard for the Knights to have an immediate impact in the Big 12, but Plumlee will be at the center of it.
Many of the other honorable mentions have interesting circumstances surrounding them. Some have a freshman quarterback behind them that could make noise or were injured in 2022, leading to lower stats.
Quinn Ewers, the starting quarterback for Texas, will suffer from both of these issues. NCAA football odds had him being one of the top quarterbacks in 2022 until a shoulder injury in the second game forced him to miss three weeks. He finished with 2,177 yards and 15 touchdowns but was inconsistent. Then the Longhorns recruited Arch Manning, who will likely be breathing down Ewers’ neck all season.
Texas Tech’s Tyler Shough also had to deal with injuries last season, playing in seven games for 1,304 yards and seven touchdowns. With the Red Raiders’ pass-heavy offense, there is a good chance that Shough can put up some big numbers. Texas Tech had three different quarterbacks throw for over 1,000 yards in 2022.
Dillon Gabriel was arguably the second-best quarterback last season. He threw for 3,168 yards with 25 touchdowns for Oklahoma. He could have an impressive season but is also on the hot seat with freshman Jackson Arnold behind him. Despite the Sooners’ struggles, Gabriel showed more than enough to be the starter in 2023.
Kansas State’s Will Howard was a backup for most of last season until injuries moved him into the starting role. Howard played in seven games, 1,633 yards through the air and 15 touchdowns. He also led the Wildcats to the Big 12 Championship Game and a bowl game but lost both.
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Daniels Could Lead the Big 12 if He Stays Healthy
In early 2022, Jalon Daniels was in contention to be in the Heisman conversation. Kansas’ quarterback got off to a hot start before getting injured in the sixth game. He returned to play the final three games of the season, losing in each, but finished with 2,014 passing yards and accounted for 25 touchdowns. Based on what Daniels did at the start of last season, it is unsurprising that College Football projections might believe he could do it again. It is hard to tell if he would have stayed on the same trajectory last season, but maybe he can get off to another hot start in 2023. He at least showed the upside to be considered one of the top quarterbacks in the Big 12.
Get ready for the kickoff of the season with the latest college football lines!