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Big 12 Quarterbacks Through the Lens of the ATVSQBPI

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As requested by LSUJonno, we continue looking at the And The Valley Shook Quarterback Productivity Index by looking at some different quarterbacks.  

Again, here is the formula:

Passer Rating = (yards passing + yards rushing - yards lost by sack + 5*(First down completions and runs) + 20*Number of Touchdowns - 30*Number of Turnovers)/(Number of pass attempts + rush attempts).

And here is the post where we talk about how we came up with the formula, and why it's better than a traditional passer rating.  Keep in mind, we have to take out the first down statistics, because we just don't have them.

On Saturday, we looked at the SEC Quarterbacks.  Judging by the weekend traffic numbers, most of you missed it.  So, if you want to see how the SEC quarterbacks stacked up, check out this link.  Today, we take a look at the Big 12, which has a reputation for having had a whole lot of good quarterbacks and good passing teams.  First, as with the SEC, let's look at our pre-suppositions, which are that the league had a lot more passing production than the SEC did last year, and that Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, and Graham Harrell were the best.  How do the numbers bear out?

Check them out after the jump:


Big 12 Quarterbacks Productivity Index
Quarterbacks ATVSQBPI (y/touch)
Sam Bradford, Oklahoma 10.72
Colt McCoy, Texas 8.93
Graham Harrell, Texas Tech 8.76
Zac Robinson, Oklahoma State 8.67
Chase Daniel, Missouri 8.17
Joe Ganz, Nebraska 8.00
Josh Freeman, Kansas State 7.75
Todd Reesing, Kansas 7.60
Robert Griffin, Baylor 7.51
Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M 6.50
Austen Arnaud, Iowa State 6.46
Cody Hawkins, Colorado 5.23


If you compare this to the SEC numbers, you are immediately struck by how inflated the numbers are. The SEC quarterbacks had no one with an ATVSQBPI above 8.73 and only 3 above 6.0. Eleven of the twelve QBs we're looking at in the Big 12 had ATVSQBPIs above 6, and the last place quarterback in the conference would have been mid-pack in the SEC with the same numbers.

The Big 12 really did have quarterbacks that were a lot more effective than the SEC quarterbacks.  It does not answer the question of whether this was the result of a huge differential in talent at QB or a differential in defenses.  I propose without proof or argument that it was probably a combination of the two in more or less equal quantities.

You would have also been right that Bradford, McCoy, and Harrell were the top 3, but the divide isn't between #3 and #4.  The big divide is between #1 and #2.  Bradford beats McCoy by almost 2 full yards per play, which is a HUGE difference.  In contrast, the difference between #3 and #4 is not quite 0.1 yards per play, which is essentially a tie.  When you consider that Zac Robinson of Oklahoma State saw his ATVSQBPI decrease markedly as a result of his running because he did a lot of designed runs, he may have actually been the second best QB in the conference.

I am still struggling with how to account for a quarterback who does a lot of designed runs.  I think the index properly accounts for a "scrambling" quarterback, but not a quarterback who is essentially a running back taking direct snaps.

Unlike the SEC, you see not only an upper class (Bradford), but you also see a pretty significant underclass.  Robert Griffin of Baylor is in 9th place, but he is not that far from the QBs a couple spots higher, and he is way ahead of #10.  In the SEC, you saw only an upper class and a jumble in the middle, which may properly be called an underclass (leaving a distinct lack of a middle class).

In the SEC, you can look at the numbers and see that everyone other than Florida, Georgia, and Ole Miss were held back by their quarterback play.  Here, only Texas A&M, Iowa State, and Colorado were really far behind the pack, while Oklahoma was set apart from the rest in terms of quality.  In comparison only to other Big 12 quarterbacks, Sam Bradford was spectacular, while everyone from McCoy to Griffin were varying shades of good, while Johnson, Arnaud, and Hawkins hurt their team relative to other quarterbacks.

We'll go over numbers for some specific quarterbacks over the course of their careers another day.