September 27, 2007

Fritch's Big 12 Tour: Passing fancy

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell has already thrown for 1,941 yards, or 500 more than Colorado generated through the air in 2006. Big 12 quarterbacks have thrown for 400 yards in seven games and 300 yards in nine others. And every starting quarterback except for two has tossed at least three touchdowns in a contest. What's that we're hearing? It's a football whistling overhead. And the Big 12 season is just getting started.

There's no misconception here. The results are exactly as you'd predict. The Big 12 is going to the air like never before. And yet a glance at the national rankings remains an eye-opener each week. Nearly one-fourth of the nation's Top 25 leaders in average passing yards are from the Big 12. Eight rank in the Top 30.

After four games there are seven 1,000-yard passers and five with at least 10 touchdowns. This time a year ago only three passers had reached 1,000 yards and two had posted double digits in touchdowns.

The Big 12 today: 292.1 yards passing per game.

The Big 12 four games into 2006: 224.1 yards.

"There's a maturity of quarterbacks," Kansas coach Mark Mangino said. "Seemed like last year a lot of the quarterbacks were younger kids in situations where they weren't settled. They're settled this year and you're seeing quarterbacks performing at a high level."

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