Brock Osweiler: Arizona State Quarterback Is Second-Best in Pac-12

Kyle ZALLContributor IIISeptember 14, 2011

TEMPE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 09:  Quarterback Brock Osweiler #7 of the Arizona State Sun Devils stands on the field during warm ups to the college football game against the Missouri Tigers at Sun Devil Stadium on September 9, 2011 in Tempe, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It was a black out. It was in front of more than 70,000 fans. It was nationally televised. There were scouts from at least 13 NFL teams in attendance. It was the biggest game to be played by the Sun Devils in years.

And ASU finally won a big game.

It was the team's first win over a ranked team in its past 11 tries, but they still teased their fans and brought back memories of past late-game collapses by giving up a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter before eventually beating No. 21 Missouri Friday night.

This game meant everything for ASU. All the hopes and dreams the team has talked about during the offseason were on the line.

Although this game will be remembered for the exciting ending or the Missouri head coach icing his own kicker, there is something else to take note of: this was Brock Osweiler’s coming out party.

After fellow quarterback Steven Threet called it a career due to injuries, Osweiler headed into this season as the team’s unquestioned leader and starter after closing last year with a bang.

But his new role did not come without expectations.

In the offseason, there were ESPN pundits who made some noise by calling the junior quarterback a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Not bad for a kid who had only started two games entering the year, but also not the pressure you want thrown into as a first-year starter.

And boy did he answer the bell in his first test.

Osweiler passed for 353 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for one on 34 yards. He was the brightest spot on the field and made his splash while also being showcased in those sweet black jerseys on ESPN2.

He stepped up and proved he could handle the moment. He had ice in his veins.

But how does he compare to his Pac-12 counterparts? I say very good and it is the beginning of the season.

With other high-profile signal callers in the conference such as Andrew Luck, Nick Foles, Darren Thomas and Matt Barkley, it will be the 6-foot-8 quarterback who almost played basketball last year from the desert that will be second on that list behind the Stanford's Luck.

Many people will insist that the likes of Arizona's Foles and USC's Barkley are better and should be regarded higher than Osweiler, but that is just preseason hype.

Barkley's team cannot play in the postseason and even though the Foles has put up huge numbers already, the squad was embarrassed on national television last week.

Looking over these two will be easy due to the lack of noise their teams will be making this season.

On the other hand, ASU may be poised to make a run this season and Osweiler's performances thus far have backed up what I'm saying that he is going to be the second-best quarterback in the conference when it is all said and done.

Last season, he lit up a bad UCLA team for 380 yards and four touchdowns. In the season finale, he led ASU to a win in an ugly rivalry game over Arizona and tossed for 267 yards and a score.

Coaches point back to these games and say something clicked way back then and they could see his development as a leader.

Osweiler has built on the playing time he took advantage of as a sophomore and is carrying the momentum into this season.

There was a lot of things you can be critical of the Sun Devils, but none of it had to do with their junior quarterback.

Watch out for Osweiler, because I don’t want to be the guy at the end of the season saying “I told you so.”