<
>

Big 12 Tuesday mailbag: Ranking the quarterbacks

In Tuesday's mailbag we discuss the nation's sack leader, rank Big 12 quarterbacks and talk Texas Tech's chances of starting 5-0.

As always thanks for your questions.

Chatmon: This is a really good question. I like both players, and think both can lead their teams to a Big 12 title. But I might lean toward Howard right now just because he’s done a great job taking care of the ball during his time as West Virginia’s starter, and he seems to have a really good feel for Dana Holgorsen’s offense. It’s a tough call though.

Chatmon: Another good question. Outside of the top spot, this ranking will change weekly, particularly since there is minimal difference between 2-6 in my eyes. As of today, I’d go Trevone Boykin, Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Mason Rudolph, Skyler Howard, Seth Russell, Sam Richardson, Jerrod Heard, Joe Hubener, Montell Cozart. Russell feels low but that’s mainly because he hasn’t been tested and didn’t take care of the ball last weekend. I can’t wait for conference play to start so we can start comparing these guys against like competition.

Brandon Chatmon: My thoughts on the Cyclones didn’t change much from post-Week 1 to post-Week 2, although it’s probably fair to say Iowa State’s defensive line is better than I expected. I figured Demond Tucker would have an impact along the interior, but Dale Pierson has come out of nowhere to lead FBS with five sacks. I don’t think he’ll keep up his 2.5 sacks-per-game-average, but I do think he will end up as one of the conference’s sack leaders. He’s been stellar. As far as the Cyclones overall, they’re probably a little better than I expected, but this weekend is critical. If they can win at Toledo, that would be huge for Iowa State and the Big 12.

Chatmon: I’d probably give them a solid B. They’ve been productive and are stepping up to fill the void left by Kevin White and Mario Alford, but I think they can be even better. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Shelton Gibson, Jovon Durante or Gary Jennings quite yet. Daikiel Shorts is consistently contributing, and Jordan Thompson can be a playmaker. But I think ultimately, Durante, Jennings and Gibson will be the guys who make the difference. And I think they’re just scratching the surface of what they can be.

Chatmon: I don’t like Tech’s chances of stopping Arkansas' run game on Saturday, especially with the Razorbacks taking the field wanting to prove the Toledo loss was a fluke. I do, however, think they might be able to create a turnover or two that can help give the Red Raiders a lead that might spark an upset. If it comes down to the Razorbacks controlling the game, with a lead, it doesn’t bode well for a defense that has allowed 5.91 yards per carry against Sam Houston and UTEP.

Chatmon: This one’s easy. That would be Baker Mayfield. I had major reservations about Mayfield heading into this season, but he erased all those questions against Tennessee. The Oklahoma quarterback has been the most impressive performer -- Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes included -- thanks to the clear improvements and maturity he’s shown compared to the Mayfield who played for Texas Tech in 2013. The composed way Mayfield approached the entire game in Neyland Stadium and stepped up when the Sooners needed him most has put OU right alongside Baylor and TCU as a Big 12 favorite in my eyes. Before the season Mayfield was a question mark. Now he’s a clear strength.

Chatmon: I don’t think so. Patrick Mahomes is the real deal. Any troubles the Red Raiders have this season won’t be his fault, I think he is a special talent. The sophomore will be feared by every Big 12 coordinator he faces this fall. I wouldn’t worry about the offense, Tech’s main concerns are on the other side of the football.

Chatmon: Not at all. It’s hard to play 12 perfect, or even outstanding, games in a regular season. There will be times this season when every unit in the Big 12 struggles. You shouldn’t be worried about the Mountaineers’ defense, especially with Karl Joseph setting the tone on a daily basis.

Chatmon: Not much. Unless, of course, a contender loses to them. The committee clearly values quality wins as a top priority so I don’t they’re sitting in the conference room comparing the bottom of each Power 5 conference to each other. I think they’re much more worried about how those contenders perform against quality teams.

>

Chatmon: Well 5-0 means wins over Arkansas, TCU and Baylor. If that happens, the Red Raiders are legit College Football Playoff contenders. I don’t think Kliff Kingsbury’s program is at that point, so I’ll say 10 percent chance.