Despite being a "quarterback-driven league," as Texas head coach Mack Brown said at conference media days last month, the Big 12 landed only one quarterback on the 30-player watch list for the Manning Award.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Longhorns junior David Ash is the Big 12's lone representative on the list, which was released Aug. 2. Ash started 12 games last season, the most by any returning signal-caller in the conference. Casey Pachall of TCU, who made the preseason all-conference first team, started four games before entering a drug treatment facility, while Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf took the first snap in five games and J.W. Walsh in three.
Given the history of the conference, someone -- perhaps Bryce Petty of Baylor, Blake Bell of Oklahoma or whoever emerges to start for the Cowboys -- could easily emerge as a legitimate contender for the award.
Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder pointed to the emergence of Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M last season as a perfect example of how an unknown quantity can become a star.
"Young guys have come into our program and come into other programs and been there first year and done extremely well. Some do, some don't," Snyder said. "I've got a young guy down here in College Station that came on the scene, and nobody had a clue that he was going to get himself on the field, and ended up winning a Heisman. You just never really know."
The Manning Award is presented annually to the top quarterback in college football, taking into account postseason performance, the only major national award to do so.