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Which Big 12 Team Has Had the Worst QB Luck?

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Oklahoma State fans know as well as maybe any program in the country that a good backup QB comes in handy. In 2012 injuries led to OSU starting three different quarterbacks throughout the season. In 2014 J.W. Walsh started the season against Florida State, then injured his foot in a win over Missouri State. Later in the year, a concussion knocked Daxx Garman out of his starting job and introduced the Rudolph era.

OSU isn’t alone, of course. Baylor played five different QBs last year. Kody Cook served as an emergency QB for Kansas State last year and led the Wildcats to four touchdown drives in the first half alone against OSU.

With so many teams in our conference dealing with QB carousels in recent years, I thought it would be interesting to see what Big 12 teams over the last five seasons have reached the farthest down their QB depth chart – whether by choice or necessity.

For this analysis, I pulled every passing attempt for Big 12 teams over the last five seasons. I did not include a player’s attempts if they had three or fewer attempts in a game – this was an attempt to weed out light mop-up duty and trick plays. The table below shows each team’s QB1 through QB5 in a given season.

The table is sorted by my calculation of how many QBs they used. As an example, if a team’s QB1 was used for every single play, their depth rating would be 1.0. If QB1 was used for 50% of team snaps and QB2 was used for 50%, their depth rating would be 2.0. If QB1 was used for 75% of snaps and QB2 was used for 25%, the depth rating would be 1.5. In this ranking, it matters more how many snaps were used by the 2nd or 3rd guy than how many QBs were used outright. Here’s the table.

Team QB1 QB2 QB3 QB4 QB5 Deep
Oklahoma St – 2012 40.3% 32.9% 26.8% 2.73
Baylor – 2015 52.8% 27.4% 13.2% 5.8% 0.8% 2.49
West Virginia – 2013 50.0% 36.4% 13.6% 2.27
Texas – 2011 50.3% 40.6% 9.1% 2.18
Iowa St – 2012 59.4% 23.2% 17.4% 2.16
Texas Tech – 2013 50.9% 48.0% 1.1% 2.00
Iowa St – 2015 53.0% 47.0% 1.94
Iowa St – 2013 53.2% 46.8% 1.94
Iowa St – 2011 54.1% 45.9% 1.92
Texas Tech – 2014 62.1% 33.3% 4.7% 1.85
TCU – 2013 57.6% 42.4% 1.85
Oklahoma – 2013 61.4% 35.2% 3.4% 1.84
Oklahoma St – 2014 69.4% 21.6% 9.0% 1.79
Oklahoma St – 2013 60.7% 39.3% 1.79
Kansas – 2015 70.0% 23.5% 5.1% 1.3% 1.76
Texas – 2015 63.4% 36.6% 1.73
Kansas – 2014 65.4% 34.6% 1.69
Kansas – 2012 69.7% 30.3% 1.61
TCU – 2012 73.6% 24.6% 1.8% 1.56
TCU – 2015 78.4% 16.7% 5.0% 1.53
Texas – 2013 76.6% 20.4% 3.0% 1.53
West Virginia – 2014 78.9% 20.3% 0.8% 1.44
Kansas – 2013 80.1% 19.0% 0.9% 1.42
Texas – 2012 80.9% 19.1% 1.38
Kansas State – 2015 82.0% 18.0% 1.36
BIG 12 MEDIAN 1.35
Oklahoma St – 2015 83.5% 15.6% 1.0% 1.35
Baylor – 2014 83.3% 16.1% 0.6% 1.35
Oklahoma – 2014 83.6% 16.4% 1.33
Kansas State – 2013 85.0% 15.0% 1.30
Iowa St – 2014 89.3% 10.7% 1.21
Baylor – 2013 90.4% 9.6% 1.19
Oklahoma – 2015 91.2% 8.8% 1.18
Texas – 2014 91.9% 8.1% 1.16
Texas Tech – 2012 92.3% 7.7% 1.15
TCU – 2014 94.4% 4.0% 1.5% 1.14
Texas Tech – 2015 93.3% 6.7% 1.13
Kansas – 2011 94.6% 5.4% 1.11
Oklahoma St – 2011 95.1% 4.9% 1.10
West Virginia – 2015 95.3% 4.7% 1.09
Kansas State – 2014 96.4% 3.6% 1.07
Baylor – 2011 97.1% 2.9% 1.06
West Virginia – 2012 97.2% 2.8% 1.06
Texas Tech – 2011 97.5% 2.5% 1.05
Oklahoma – 2011 97.6% 2.4% 1.05
Kansas State – 2011 97.9% 2.1% 1.04
Kansas State – 2012 98.1% 1.9% 1.04
Baylor – 2012 98.1% 1.9% 1.04
Oklahoma – 2012 98.2% 1.8% 1.04
Texas A&M – 2011 99.3% 0.7% 1.01
Missouri – 2011 100.0% 1.00

Here’s the full chart with every QB listed by name.

A few notes.

• “QB1” in this context does not necessarily mean the QB who started the season – it is the attempts leader for each team during that season. For example, Wes Lunt started the season in 2012, but Chelf had the most attempts that year so he is QB1 in the table.

• The median depth rating was 1.35 in the 50 seasons covered in the table. OSU’s 2015 season was representative of a median QB rotation – QB1 using around 83% of the snaps, QB2 with almost all of the rest.

• OSU’s 2012 QB carousel rates as the deepest a team was forced to go out of the 50 seasons I looked at. 60% of OSU’s attempts in 2012 were used by someone other than the QB1 – the most in this study by a 10% margin. Sure, Baylor used 5 QBs in 2015, but their QB3 used 13% of attempts. In our case, Wes Lunt used 27% of team attempts as the QB3 in 2012.

• OSU had only 1 season in the last 5 that was materially below the conference median – Weeden attempted 95% of OSU’s passes in 2011.

• Who’s had it worst? Iowa State has the highest 5-year average at 1.83 (about on par with the Walsh/Garman/Rudolph season – not fun). Some of that is by choice, of course – just as OSU’s 2015 Walsh package led to a higher score. OSU’s 1.75 average is the 2nd highest in the conference.

• Who’s had it easy? K-State has the lowest 5-year average at 1.16, largely due to having three seasons where their starting QB used 96%+ of team attempts. OU has the 2nd lowest score at 1.28.

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