Rhett Bomar is the thief who keeps on taking.
|Rhett is showing you the body part he turned on his team. (Getty Images)|
Ah, the good old days. At least OU had a serviceable quarterback to fall back on. Then Oklahoma lost to Texas for the second consecutive year. Adrian Peterson got hurt. That Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State wasn't the least bit embarrassing, was it?
Early in 2007, Bob Stoops might long for the good old days. Thompson was capable, not spectacular. A bonus when your former star screws the entire program.
That emergency signal-caller did lead the Sooners to the Big 12 title, a fact that was almost lost in the haze of NCAA probation. Expecting a repeat might be too much considering what Stoops has already wrung out of this program.
Sure, the defense is great. Parts of it might be the best of the Stoops era. But the program has more uncertainty at quarterback than last year. Thompson was a former starter and had been in the program for three years. The only certainty for Stoops this season is that whoever emerges out of a three-headed battle will be inexperienced. Really inexperienced.
|3. Kansas State|
|6. Iowa State|
|3. Texas A&M|
|4. Oklahoma State|
|5. Texas Tech|
|Team to beat:|
|Colt McCoy, Texas|
|Reggie Smith, Oklahoma|
|Coach of the year:|
|Dennis Franchione, Texas A&M|
Juco transfer Joey Halzle, a junior, threw two passes last season. Redshirt freshman Sam Bradford threw none and incoming freshman Keith Nichol wasn't even in the program. With a good-maybe-great defense, a deeper running game (despite the loss of Peterson) and receiver Malcolm Kelly, virtually the only question is at quarterback.
"None of us have really played at this level," said Halzle, stating the obvious.
Halzle was a candidate last season, but doesn't it indicate something that he wasn't able to beat out Thompson?
Bradford's father played for the Sooners. He is a natural athlete who was fond of hockey and averaged a double-double in basketball at Putnam City (Okla.) North High School.
"I almost consider myself like Jason White," said Bradford, who spoke of his drop-back ability, not necessarily of his ability to win the Heisman Trophy.
Nichol, a Lowell, Mich., native, is a dual-threat guy who originally committed to Michigan State. There were the typical accusations of "traitor" when he switched to Oklahoma but Michigan State's coaching change probably didn't help.
"I feel like I've been here for two or three years," Nichol said. "Everybody brings it up as a true freshman thing. In my mind I feel very mature. I'm part of the family, just another brother."
After Saturday's scrimmage, there was little to no separation. All three led a scoring drive and had similar numbers. Stoops did not waver from saying he might have to play two quarterbacks
Bomar not only stuck it to OU, he twisted the blade. This is a program that has produced a Heisman winner (White, 2003) and runner-up (Josh Heupel, 2000) in this decade. Stoops should have been someone's coach of the year for pulling off an 11-3 season in 2006.
If he had any common sense, Bomar would have been a redshirt junior now at Oklahoma. Instead he is at I-AA Sam Houston State, his reputation damaged, his arm, supposedly, still intact.
|2007 Conference Previews|
|Sun Belt||Big 12|
Stoops can sleep at night, having taken the high road by disposing of Bomar and teammate J.D. Quinn immediately.
Now comes the really hard work. Picking a quarterback (or two) to defend that Big 12 title.
Colt McCoy, Texas: At about midseason last fall we tabbed this guy the Heisman favorite. Despite an injury, he threw for 29 touchdowns, tying a freshman record. With veteran receivers to throw to, he will do greater things in '07.
Reggie Smith, Oklahoma: If the Sooners are going to win the league Bob Stoops will have to rely on his defense until and if the new quarterback develops. Smith is part of an incredibly deep secondary that might be the best in the game.
Predicted order of finish
|It's Josh Freeman's team, now it's time to make Coach Prince proud. (US Presswire)|
2. Nebraska: There's a lot to like. Bill Callahan has improved each season in Lincoln. The NFL likes Sam Keller even before he officially wins the quarterback job. The defense is slowly getting back to Blackshirt level. October will determine the Huskers' fate (Missouri, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas).
3. Kansas State: Ron Prince did one of the best coaching jobs in the country last season getting the Wildcats to a bowl in his first season. Quarterback Josh Freeman must now take the next step.
4. Kansas: A 6-6 or 5-7 season will sufficiently distract the Jayhawkers until Bill Self rolls out the first rack of balls. Too bad football is an afterthought at KU. Corner Aqib Talib is a preseason All-American.
5. Colorado: Early word out of camp is that CU might not have bottomed out yet. Cody Hawkins -- son of coach Dan -- takes over at quarterback but the schedule could strangle the Buffs: Colorado State, Arizona State, Florida State and Oklahoma before Oct. 1.
6. Iowa State: Lackluster recruiting class. Little buzz. A lot of folks thought Gene Chizik chose the wrong program to kick off his head-coaching career.
|RB Mike Goodson has the tools to be an impact player this season. (Getty Images)|
2. Oklahoma: The key difference in the 'Horns and Sooners is quarterback. Despite winning the Big 12 last season, the position still isn't solidified. The defense is. That might be enough to beat Texas and repeat in the Big 12.
3. Texas A&M: With a break or two, the Aggies will win the South. That's why we picked Franchione as coach of the year. Five of the first six are at home. So is Texas on Nov. 23. Ten wins aren't out of the question. If Gary Darnell's defense can come through, the Ags could be the conference surprise.
4. Oklahoma State: Arguably the best offense in the Big 12. The problem is the Cowboys D has trouble stopping air. A chance here for eight wins -- or eight losses.
5. Texas Tech: If Mike Leach is satisfied with winning eight or nine each year, then the administration and fans must be, too. The program gets beat for the best recruits in the state. There doesn't seem to be a demand for a championship.
6. Baylor: Those 12 consecutive bowl-less years aren't all Guy Morriss' fault, but he could be in trouble if the streak reaches 13. The key to the season is the opener at TCU. A lower-level Big 12 team should beat an elite Mountain West team every time, right? Right?