Big 12 packed with proficient passers -

Big 12 packed with proficient passers

AUSTIN - With less than two weeks before Big 12 play opens, there is no confusion about the league's calling card.

This is the best-quarterbacked league in the nation.

The QBs have backed up the claim each week in nonconference play with overpowering numbers and skillful efficiency, as they did again Saturday.

Even when you look for other leading storylines, the quarterbacks make it impossible.

Missouri's Chase Daniel, Texas Tech's Graham Harrell, Texas' Colt McCoy and Kansas' Todd Reesing - all nurtured in Texas - each passed for 300-plus yards. Daniel set a Big 12 record with 20 straight completions. McCoy, a junior, became UT's career leader in touchdown passes (62).

Oklahoma's Sam Bradford also ranks among the elite, but the Sooners had a bye.

The question now becomes how they hold up against Big 12 defenses.

With Tech's improvement to No. 10 in the AP poll Sunday - its first top 10 spot since Oct. 16, 2005 - four league teams are ranked in the top 10 for the first time since the final 2007 poll.

Texas' Irby out: Texas sophomore tight end Blaine Irby suffered a dislocated right knee Saturday against Rice that will require surgery and end his season. The 6-3, 235-pound starter had 10 catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Coach Mack Brown indicated in a statement Sunday that he expected Irby to be granted a medical redshirt.

UT lacks depth at tight end after Jermichael Finley left early for the NFL. Senior Peter Ullman and sophomore Greg Smith will compete for the starting job.

Army to the rescue? Before Aggieland gets too depressed, winless Army - and that's with losses to Temple, New Hampshire and Akron - is up next for Texas A&M. The Aggies, 0-2 at the Kyle Field this season, haven't opened 0-3 at home since 1972.

Baylor's bridge: The Bears and freshman quarterback Robert Griffin might not be willing to settle for almost - as in almost winning Friday at Connecticut, before falling 31-28. But their performance on the road turned heads in the Big 12 South.

"What I am proud of is the effort and attitude that our players played with," coach Art Briles said. "Now we just have to cross the bridge and win it."

Aw, shoot: SMU's Run and Shoot has produced 14 points combined the last two weeks against TCU and Texas Tech. The Mustangs play at Tulane on Thursday.

"Everybody knows this offense should put up a lot more points than that," freshman quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said. "It has a lot to do with me, and it has a lot to do with everybody carrying over mistakes that they did previously."

Briefly: While Texas Tech has the nation's top-ranked passing offense, its rushing stats may be more notable. The Red Raiders are up to 72nd (146.4 ypg) after finishing last in 2007 (58.31 ypg). They also have 12 rushing touchdowns. ...North Texas (0-3) enters the week ranked No. 118 out of 119 teams in scoring defense (47.3 ppg) and No. 115 in scoring offense (11.7 ppg).

Staff writers Brandon George, Bobbi Roquemore and Brett Vito contributed to this report.

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