The NFL Draft will likely feature Big 12 quarterbacks, again.

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As the 2012 NFL Draft approaches, talk heats up about the quarterback prospects. That’s understandable as Cam Newton (Auburn), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma) and Matt Stafford (Georgia) have been the No. 1 overall pick the last three years.

This year’s debate for top pick centers around Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III (Baylor). The Colts will pick one of them, likely Luck per reports, and be very pleased. The Redskins will get the other and celebrate as well.

Shooting up the charts of many draft experts is another Big 12 quarterback, Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill. Another Big 12 gunslinger, Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), would be getting more mention if he wasn’t already 25 years old. Weeden played pro baseball before leading the Cowboy football team.

The plethora of Big 12 quarterback success isn’t a new phenomenon. People like to criticize Big 12 defenses, but the stellar QB play is what differentiates the Big 12 from other leagues.

In the last three NFL Drafts, six quarterbacks from the Big 12 and SEC have been drafted. The other major conferences lagged behind (ACC – 3, Pac-12 – 3, Big Ten – 3 and Big East – 2).

The Big 12 will break its tie with the SEC in a week when you can surely expect Griffin III and Tannehill to go in the first round while Weeden teeters on the edge of that status.

The NFL scouts certainly recognize what Big 12 fans enjoy each week. That is, outstanding play from the quarterback position.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Tiller’s spring game performance is positive momentum for the second year in a row.

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Some people learn from life’s lessons and they prosper. Maybe, that’s the path that Jerome Tiller is taking.

One year ago, Tiller was engaged in a battle to become Iowa State’s starting quarterback. He left the 2011 Cyclone Gridiron Club Spring Game with positive momentum after completing 12-18 passes for 174 yards and two TDs.

Tiller, unfortunately, let his grades slip. He was declared ineligible during fall camp and became a non-factor in the quarterback competition. Steele Jantz and Jared Barnett took the reins of the offense and each directed the Cyclones to three wins. Tiller watched and worked on his academics.

In the off-season, the coaching staff moved Tiller to wide receiver. He had one year to learn a new position. But, he has taken the challenge and Coach Paul Rhoads feels he can contribute this fall.

“He really has shown us that he can leverage a defensive player with his long arms, long levers,” Rhoads said. “He catches the ball well enough to make some football plays for us. He’s not going to create a lot of separation so we’ve got to create that separation for him.”

But Rhoads noted that in the last five practices he was productive. Tiller had five catches in this year’s spring game and recorded a 50-plus yard TD the week before in a scrimmage.

Tiller has certainly embraced his new role and latest opportunity. Now, he’s in the mix to be a contributor in 2012.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Rhoads’ spring goal was to play faster and more physical

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Football coaches preach every year about playing physical and fast.

In nearly every media session this spring, Coach Paul Rhoads has noted his team’s physical play.

His comments Tuesday never referenced physical play, but instead, centered on trying to improved as a fundamentally sound and smart football team.

“I want a better fundamental football team,” Rhoads said, “as well as a more intelligent football team (by the end of spring).”

The way to get better fundamentally is practicing technique in drills. The way to become a more intelligent team is through constant teaching and repetition.

One of the offshoots of being a smarter team, according to Rhoads, is that it leads to playing faster.

“With intelligence goes confidence,” he said. “With confidence goes speed.”

It sounds like Rhoads has liked the physical nature of spring camp and now his team is starting to play faster. That’s a good combination.

Your chance to witness the team’s growth is Saturday when the Cyclone Gridiron Club Spring Game kicks off at 2 p.m. in Jack Trice Stadium.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow

Overachieving is a good thing and Cyclone Athletics is doing just that.

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Doing more with less is something to be proud of. In the world of major college athletics, there is a wide disparity in resources.

According to data compiled by the Department of Education, 10 schools have athletics budgets greater than $100 million. Half of them – Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU and Tennessee – reside in the SEC. Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State represent the Big Ten and Oklahoma and Texas (the national leader at $150.3 million) participate in the Big 12.

Nine schools have budgets less than $50 million and the list includes Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Mississippi, Mississippi State, South Florida, Utah, Wake Forest and Washington State.

NACDA compiles an annual all-sports ranking called the Directors Cup.

In the most-recent standings (prior to adding points for men’s and women’s basketball), Iowa State is the only school of the lower-funded departments in the standings’ Top 50.

The Cyclones are 31st and the Demon Deacons (63rd), Bearcats (70th), Cougars (95th), Bulldogs (98th), Bulls (121st), Yellow Jackets (180th) and Rebels (217th) trail.

Iowa State, in fact, is currently ahead of the Volunteers (60th), Crimson Tide (49th) and Tigers from Auburn (43rd) among the $100 million and above club. ISU is also breathing down the neck of the Sooners (26th) and Tigers from LSU (24th).

Those are just the facts, but it’s not hard to argue that ISU is maximizing its performance so far this season.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow