PRYOR, OK —
I talked a few weeks ago about the prospect of both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State having a tough quarterback quandary, each choosing between three barely-proven or untested talents to play behind center.
Well, one unlucky day in May later, each race looks like it's down to two.
Given Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops' recent history with players being arrested, it seems highly unlikely that Bobby would now pick freshman Kendal Thompson to lead his offense. Thompson was arrested Friday morning in Norman.
Thompson is the son of former Sooner signal-caller Charles Thompson, who you may know from the particularly famous 1989 Sports Illustrated cover depicting Thompson in handcuffs and a jumpsuit. The elder Thompson was charged with dealing cocaine. His scion? Garden-variety public intoxication and interference with official process.
If Stoops is even a little bit conflicted, he at least knows he has the option of keeping and playing Thompson, though it seems Blake Bell is certainly in the driver's seat for the meaningful playing time (and it's fortunate that Thompson wasn't in a driver's seat of any kind when he was arrested).
Mike Gundy, head coach at OSU, doesn't even have the option to start Wes Lunt, who opened the 2012 season under center. Lunt, who started five games for the Cowboys as a true freshman, opted Thursday to transfer and take his talents elsewhere.
What clues does Lunt's transfer give us about the state of the quarterback in Stillwater?
Well, you can look at it either way. If fellow Cowboy gunslingers J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf have improved so far as to leapfrog Lunt in the QB race, then for Gundy, it will be like picking between his two favorite kinds of pie. It’s hard to be wrong when your options are apple and blueberry rather than rhubarb and tofu.
On the flip side, what if Lunt simply regressed? Sure, Walsh and Chelf have each seen significant time, but are either of those players good enough to lead the Cowboys to the Big 12 title? I just don't see it happening.
Nor do I forecast the Sooners replicating any of their recent success this season, and that may bode poorly for Stoops' job security.
Stoops could be a classic example of a coach spoiling his fanbase. After winning a national title in his second year, fans tend to expect those mountain peaks to transform into plateaus, and while Stoops has sustained success inside of the conference, he'll need a big showing on the national level soon to keep his stock in the black.
But in the end, I'm not betting against either of these teams for a Big 12 title this season. Why?
As sloppy as it's been in Norman and Stillwater lately, I just don't see a better candidate.
Texas A&M? Oh wait, they're in the SEC now. I'm already preparing for a nightmare bowl season.