The subject almost repulses Troy Smith.
"We're way beyond it," the Heisman Trophy winner said. "It's not significant at all with quarterbacks. ... That's a moot point. We should stay away from that."
|Charlie Ward's Seminoles beat Tommie Frazier's Cornhuskers 18-16 in the '94 Orange Bowl. (Getty Images)|
It will be the first time in the nine years of the BCS there has been such an occurrence. The only other 1-2 meeting is believed to be the 1994 Orange Bowl when Charlie Ward's Florida State prevailed over Tommie Frazier's Nebraska.
"We're kind of beyond that discussion," Michigan All-American cornerback Leon Hall said. "Nowadays, when I see a black quarterback, I'm not surprised in the least."
Consider that in the lifetimes of Ohio State's Smith and Florida's Chris Leak, a black starting quarterback hasn't been an issue. Fifteen years before they were born, Chuck Ealey was finishing his career 35-0 as a starter at Toledo.
The sampling of the two participating conferences is a good example. Almost half of the teams (11 of 23) in the SEC and Big Ten started a black quarterback at one time or another this season. Florida was one of eight SEC schools that had a black starting quarterback.
Leak was a prep All-American out of Charlotte, N.C. Smith, though, was the last player recruited by Jim Tressel in 2002 as an "athlete" out of Cleveland. As a freshman in 2003, he returned kicks and played a little running back before switching to quarterback.
"We all drop back and throw the ball the same way," Smith said. "Our (race) doesn't mean anything.
"I don't see color, I see people in any situation. I disliked it so much when they said Warren Moon was the first African-American quarterback inducted into the (Pro Football) Hall of Fame. He's a quarterback. I didn't appreciate that."
BCS title games have roughly mirrored the trend of diversity. No matter what you think of Michael Vick as a professional, he redefined the position in college, leading Virginia Tech to the 1999 BCS title game. Vince Young, arguably the best player in Texas history, led the Longhorns last year.
When Ohio State meets Florida, it will mark the fourth 1-2 game in the past 53 weeks. All four have featured a starting black quarterback. It is guaranteed that for the second consecutive year and third time in the past eight, a black quarterback will lead his team to a national championship.
(For the rest of the national notes read Dennis Dodd's Wednesday blog.)