It might be a smoke screen, it might be the result of genuine indecision, but more than half of the Big 12 has yet to name a starting quarterback less than two weeks before the 2013 season begins.
At least three teams -- Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas Tech -- have indicated that the decision won't be made public until just before their season openers.
For the Cowboys and Horned Frogs, the obfuscation seems to be a direct reflection of the quality of their Week 1 opposition. TCU faces LSU, ranked No. 12 in the AP Poll and No. 13 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, while Oklahoma State opens against Mississippi State at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
"Especially in a first ballgame," TCU head coach Gary Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If there's differences in styles, then it hurts your football team if you're going to go out and tell people, even if you know. You want those guys to prepare for both, because it's a lot different preparing for Casey Pachall than it is for Trevone Boykin."
All indications out of Stillwater are that senior Clint Chelf seems to have the edge over sophomore J.W. Walsh, while mobility is keeping redshirt sophomore Boykin in the mix with former starter Pachall at TCU. However, Walsh (290 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns last season) and Boykin (417 rushing yards, three rushing touchdowns) could see time as change-of-pace options.
The Red Raiders, on the other hand, are dealing with sophomore Michael Brewer's lingering back injury, leaving Davis Webb and walk-on Bayer Mayfield to compete for the first snap against SMU. Barring a quick recovery by Brewer, either Webb or Mayfield will become the first true freshman to start for Texas Tech in nearly three decades.
Webb was a consensus three-star recruit expected to mount a strong challenge, but it is Mayfield that has made an equally strong case in recent days. Despite a sterling high school career at Austin (Texas) Lake Travis, Mayfield received just a handful of offers from FBS schools, Washington State the most prominent.
"He's a scholarship-type athlete," Texas Tech head coach Kliff Kingsbury told the Lubbock Avalance-Journal. "We really lucked out on that deal."