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Bedlam Could Be The Best QB Matchup In Big 12 History

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Friend of the blog Adam Lunt had an interesting thought on Twitter last night:

After Kyle brought it to my attention, I immediately began thinking of the best way to empirically decide what the best matchups are in the history of the conference. I decided to use QB rating to put together a list. I’m not crazy about QB rating — among its glaring flaws is completely ignoring the QB running game — but it’s easily accessible and it tends to do a decent job of sorting the wheat from the chaff.

The only restriction I added was a minimum of 20 attempts per game. This takes out a couple notable Cowboy seasons. For example, Donovan Woods was 2nd in the conference in QB rating as a freshman in 2004 (see for yourself). I love Donovan but I think we all know he wasn’t the second-best QB in the league in any year.

Also, J.W. Walsh was incredibly efficient in the limited time he saw in the 2012 season. Walsh finished first in QB rating that year, but he only passed the ball 16 times per game. On to the list.

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I found the top two QB ratings in every season in the Big 12’s history and simply added the two together to find the best matchup. Sure enough, the 2016 matchup is the best. Rudolph is doing his part, but the top spot is mostly due to Mayfield’s QB rating of 194.7 — the highest by any QB in the history of the Big 12 (Rudolph is No. 13 on the list).

Adam Lunt mentioned the 2008 OU-Texas matchup, and he was right to do so. It is a very close second, followed by the Weeden-RG3 matchup in 2011.

Other matchups mentioned in response to Adam’s tweet:

  • 2014 TCU-Baylor (Boykin-Petty). Petty led the league in QB rating, but it was K-State’s Jake Waters in second place that season.
  • 2008 Texas-Texas Tech (McCoy-Harrell). McCoy finished 2nd, but Harrell was fourth behind Zac Robinson.
  • 2000 OU-Nebraska (Heupel-Crouch). I think this is where QB rating fails us. Heupel did indeed lead the conference in QB rating during OU’s national championship season, but his QB rating of 139.2 is pretty weak by modern standards. Eric Crouch didn’t make the list due to lack of passing attempts, but his QB rating of 121.7 isn’t a good representation of how good he was. I would put Heupel/Crouch near the top of the Big 12 matchups list.
  • 2004 OU-Texas. (White-Young). Again, QB rating probably fails us here. White led the league, but Vince Young was most dangerous on the ground until he really became efficient through the air in 2005.

So Cowboy fans — enjoy the QB battle on Saturday. You may not see another matchup like it for a long time.*

*At least until it happens twice next year.

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