As the 2017 football season approaches, we want to take a look at the Big 12 conference on a position-by-position basis, ranking the teams from first to worst. We’re starting out with the “money position” that will either make or break a team. Of course I’m talking about the quarterback position, and there’s no shortage talent in the conference.

The Heartland staff looked at the conference picture and voted the Oklahoma Sooners as the top team in the Big 12 at the quarterback position. While the starting quarterback is the primary case in the argument the backup spot also plays a role as well, and the Sooners have more experience here than anyone else.

The points system was based on value of the vote. For example, a first-place vote was worth 10 points, second-place 9, third 8, and so on.

Consensus Preseason QB Rankings
Rank Team Points
 1 Oklahoma 40
 2 Oklahoma State 36
 3 Kansas State 29
 4 Texas 26
 5 Baylor 22
 6 TCU 20
 7 West Virginia 18
 8 Texas Tech 13
 9 Iowa State 12
 10 Kansas 4

Oklahoma State was the clear number two in the conference with Kansas State just narrowing out Texas for the third spot. Below is how we each voted for the position and an explanation of our top and bottom picks.

Craig

There is no doubt that the Sooners should be number one on everyone’s rankings. The Hiesman favorite Baker Mayfield will return this year, and Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray will back him up. Baker Mayfield has led the Sooners to 22-4 as a starting quarterback. Coming back for his senior year, you can’t help but to expect impressive numbers from this guy.

The Cowboys have the best NFL talent quarterback in the Big 12, Mason Rudolph. He has an amazing arm, and he has the receiving core around him that he needs. Rudolph is the most experienced quarterback in the Big 12. If he can keep his head on his shoulders this season, the Cowboys will be dangerous.

The Wildcats come in at number three thanks to Jesse Ertz. He missed all of the 2015 season due to injury, but came back last season and had an incredible year. He was the only quarterback in the Big 12 to rush for over 1,000 yards last year. It will be exciting to see how Ertz does coming back with even more experience.

The Cyclones played two different quarterbacks throughout last season. Joel Lanning earned the starting job at the beginning of the season, but then Jacob Park took over the job towards the end of the year.  Lanning was recently moved to the linebacker position, so it looks like Park will be the guy for the upcoming season.

The Jayhawks might have had something going last season with freshman Carter Stanley. Stanley received playing time after both Ryan Willis and Montell Cozart were injured. He led the Jayhawks to their first conference win since 2014. After Ryan Willis transferred this summer, it looks like it will be up to Stanley once again. The young quarterback will have quite the task this year, leading what has been the worst offense in the Big 12 for six years.

Matt

I shouldn’t have to defend having Oklahoma at number one, but I will. Baker Mayfield led the conference in passing efficiency last season and threw 40 touchdowns to just 8 interceptions. The Sooners got even deeper at the position this season with Kyler Murray being eligible after having to sit out last season due to the NCAA transfer rule.

I also shouldn’t have to defend Oklahoma State at number two. I said before the start of last season that Mason Rudolph was the best NFL quarterback that the Big 12 had to offer and I’m sticking to my guns on that.

What I do need to defend is my vote for TCU at number three. I have the Frogs as my team to bounce back in 2017. Most of the eyes of the conference will be on Texas in terms of a team that will rebound from a disastrous 2016. My eyes are on the Lone Star State as well, just way north of Austin to Ft. Worth. I’m expecting Kenny Hill to be a big reason the Frogs are once again a player in the conference title.

I’m also a big different than the rest of the crew at picking the bottom of the pack. Yes, we all agree that Kansas is in the worst situation right now, but I don’t agree that Iowa State and Jacob Park are right behind them. The Cyclones were clearly a different team with Park at the helm of the offense last fall and having that season of experience under his belt, I think propels, ISU a bit higher on the list.

Can anyone tell me what Kliff Kingsbury has on his roster at the quarterback position? If you answered that question with Nic Shimonek then you either went to Google or you are a Red Raider at heart. I’ll take Tech at #9 please.

Rich

The Oklahoma Sooners remain at number one of the list with the likes of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray on the roster. The display of athleticism shown from the two easily pushes OU to the top spot. On the other hand, Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph put up better numbers than Mayfield a season ago. Without a stable of running backs, that was to be expected. Look for Rudolph to compete for the title of best in the conference this upcoming year. It’s the back up situation that forces the Cowboys to remain slightly behind the Sooners here.

Rounding out the top 3, I took Kansas State due to Jesse Ertz. The kid had a stellar outing in the bowl game pulling off an upset of Texas A&M. An unconventional quarterback in an unconventional system has led to success and it will continue to do so in the future.

As far as the bottom two are concerned, Iowa State moved one potential candidate to linebacker leaving Jacob Park as the man. It’s tough to say that he’ll find a high level of success without the competition in practice. But of course, it’s Kansas bringing up the rear. Without a known starter, the battle will continue into the fall. These guys may be better athletes than us sitting at home but they remain at the bottom of the totem pole in the Big 12.

Zack

The Bake Show is real and despite losing his top wideout, Baker Mayfield is the reigning Big 12 king. He was a Heisman finalist last year, and he very well could find himself back in New York in December again. Throw in backup Kyler Murray, and the Sooners are tops in the league at the quarterback position.

Oklahoma State falls into the number two spot because of Mason Rudolph. With arguably the best receiving corp not just in the Big 12 but the nation under his leadership, Rudolph is poised to finish out his stellar career at Oklahoma State on top.

I have Baylor in the three spot as I think Big 12 Newcomer Anu Solomon is set to have a breakout year. Before dealing with injury for most of last season at Arizona, Solomon had a solid couple of seasons for the Wildcats. Baylor has a knack for producing solid quarterbacks, and if Solomon can tap into the success he experienced his first few years in Arizona, he’ll put up some good numbers for Baylor.

As far as the bottom two go, Jacob Park from Iowa State and probably Jayhawk starter Peyton Bender play for the two worst teams in the Big 12, so they naturally fall to bottom of the pack.

Heartland’s 2017 BIG 12 Preseason QB Rankings
Craig Matt Rich Zack
 Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma  Oklahoma
 Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Oklahoma State  Oklahoma State
 Kansas State TCU Kansas State Baylor
 Texas Kansas State Texas  Texas
 TCU Iowa State West Virginia  Kansas State
 Baylor Texas Baylor  West Virginia
 West Virginia Baylor Texas Tech  Texas Tech
 Texas Tech West Virginia TCU  TCU
 Iowa State Texas Tech Iowa State  Iowa State
 Kansas Kansas Kansas  Kansas