On Saturday we started our Big 12 roundtable discussion by talking about the most intriguing storylines of the spring. Last year, the Big 12 was second to only the SEC but this year they face some changes as Missouri and Texas A&M move to the SEC and West Virginia and TCU enter. Our panel includes our usual gang from College Football Zealots (myself, Jay and Ross) and we are joined by Jay Beck of the great Big 12 site Turfburner.
Feel free to chime in down below in the comments section or you can shoot us an e-mail at collegefootballzealot at gmail.com. If there is a question you would like to see discussed you can also leave it in the comments, shoot us an e-mail or hit us up on Twitter or Facebook.
QUESTION: Who will be harder to replace for their team, Brandon Weeden or Robert Griffin III?
Jay: Gotta go with RG3 here, for the same reason I think Stanford is in for a rough transition post-Andrew Luck: If he really was that special of a player, then he HAS to be difficult to replace, by his very nature as a special, "once-a-generation" type of player for his school. If Baylor is able to rattle off anywhere close to another 10-win season or those nearly 5,000 total yards of offense from the QB position that RG3 gave him with (presumably) Nick Florence, Art Briles should be the hottest coaching commodity in the country next offseason. But my guess is that most of that was purely the result of RG3's natural ability.
Conversely, while Weeden was a great college QB, he accomplished what he did while very much playing within the bounds of OK State's version of the Air Raid. He was just a cog in a machine (a very productive cog, granted), and I think it'll be easier for the Cowboys to slip another cog into his place. Whoever ends up being the QB there will also have the benefit of an experienced backfield that will take some of the pressure off him, as opposed to Baylor, which is losing all their top skill players.
Jay Beck (Turfburner): Robert Griffin. What Weeden did in Stillwater the last two seasons was remarkable but Griffin was simply a one man show. Yes, Kendall Wright and Terrance Ganaway were great players, but Griffin simply put that team on his shoulders and took Baylor to heights many didn't think was possible. While the Bears' talent has improved tenfold under Art Briles, without RGIII running the show, Baylor is going to have a tough time staying at the same level they were at the past two seasons.
Ross: Robert Griffin III, hands down. Weeden was very good and very productive at Oklahoma State and the offense reached new heights while he was calling the shots there... but there's still a definite "plug and play" aspect to that offense. Mike Gundy is a very good offensive coach and I have little doubt that he'll be able to find a good replacement for Weeden. Said replacement may not immediately duplicate Weeden's numbers or success, but he'll be solid. But RG3 was a program-changer and a transcendent figure for Baylor. He was an enormous reason they went from being Baylor, Big 12 after-thought, perennial cellar dweller, and the butt of every joke, to Baylor, 10-win team, top-10 caliber, and owners of one of the most fearsome offenses in college football.
Art Briles is also a very sharp offensive coach, so I'm sure he'll develop a solid replacement for Griffin... but Griffin was so much more than solid. His production was off the charts and his athleticism was breathtaking... to say nothing of his leadership skills, his poise under pressure, or the grace with which he carried himself. Guys like that don't come along too often, as I suspect Baylor will discover this fall.
Kevin: What people don't remember about Brandon Weeden is that he did what he did last year with a brand new Offensive Coordinator. That Offensive Coordinator had never called plays for the type of offense that Oklahoma State had. When the Cowboys lost Dana Holgersen, it was Weeden that kept the offense rolling and allowed Monken to come in and ease into the position.
This year Monken goes from cruise control to the pressure cooker as he no longer has Weeden to run the offense for him. Baylor won't be the same without RG3 but I do think they have a guy that will be able to slip into position and has some nice weapons to work with. People have been calling for the demise of Oklahoma State for the last few years but they've risen up above those expectations. Can they do the same this year? I think it will be harder than ever before.
Come back on Wednesday as we continue our Big 12 discussion as we talk about which teams can step up and challenge Oklahoma for the Big 12 crown this season.
ACC- Is this FSU's year?