The Oklahoma quarterback job remains open, and Bob Stoops' indecision is doing more than playing with the minds of Sooner fans. He's toying with state history. Picking the OU quarterback is no small thing. It determines the Sooner success rate, which determines the overall attitude of many an Oklahoman, which determines everything from how the economy hums to whether a guy lets you cut in on the Broadway Extension. But that's only short-sighted ramifications. Stoops' selection of a quarterback will go far past whether the Sooners play in the Fiesta Bowl again or have to spend Christmas in Shreveport. Stoops could be deciding anything from the future governor to his ultimate successor. The OU quarterback is the state's crown prince and often can name his post-college post: • Some go into broadcasting. Steve Davis did. Dean Blevins did. Charles Thompson, Nate Hybl and Steve Collins all have dabbled. • Some go into coaching. Darrell Royal's name is on the Texas U. stadium. Eddie Crowder won big at Colorado, and Jack Mitchell was solid at Arkansas and Kansas. Bobby Warmack coached at both OU and Texas, which is sort of like swimming for both West and East Germany. Garrick McGee spent a year as the Sooner quarterback, then was banished to the bench by Howard Schnellenberger and Gary Nord, which come to think of it doesn't look so terrible on a resume, and now McGee is a bright young offensive coordinator at Northwestern. Cale Gundy, whose record in big games was virtually the same as the cursed Gary Gibbs, recovered quite nicely. He's been on Stoops' staff from the get-go. Josh Heupel, whose record in big games was a tad better, also is on Stoops' staff. • And some OU quarterbacks go into politics. Jack Mildren was lieutenant governor and ran for governor, though he lost, proving that crown princes, even those who helped stage the wishbone revolution, have their limits. J.C. Watts was a U.S. Congressman and might someday run for governor and who knows, maybe the Oval Office is in J.C.'s future. He's certainly got my vote, not because I'm all that partial to the Republicans, but how great would it be for the Leader of the Free World to not only know your name, but to also snap, "B.T!” when you're touring the White House? So what of these three current candidates, who are not trying to figure out how to get us out of Iraq, but how to get Malcolm Kelly into the end zone? Well, Joey Halzle looked the most statesmanlike in the spring. By default. Who knows what these guys look like in this monsoon of a summer, with Stoops having his quarterbacks on lockdown worthy of the Secret Service. But in the spring, Sam Bradford looked, how should we put this, more as if he were auditioning for "Fast Times at Ridgemont High” than trying to win over the voters of Roger Mills County. Long, bushy hair. Looks really cool. As you can see, I don't exactly keep the comb-makers in business myself, but something tells me that kind of look plays better in a blue jersey than it does a blue suit. Kid Nichol, the freshman who also seeks the scepter, seems no closer to the governor's mansion. He's got sideburns that would make James Dean proud but would not entice Ma Joad to cast her ballot his way. So this political race is Halzle's to lose and he probably will because it's hard to build a constituency from the third string. Thus it comes down to Bradford vs. Nichol. Bradford has the home-state edge, but Mildren proved an infidel could endear himself to Oklahomans. Win some football games, and Nichol will make voters forget he's from Michigan. Of course, if Bradford wins some football games, he'll make people remember he's from OKC. Maybe it will come down to this. Long hair vs. sideburns. First one to the barber shop wins.
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