SAN ANTONIO — Missouri plays in the Big 12 title game tonight, and quarterback stability is a big reason why. In the last six years, Mizzou has employed just two QBs in building to this point: Brad Smith (2002-05) and current phenom Chase Daniel (2005-07).
The Sooners are on the Riverwalk, too, in the Big 12 gala for the sixth time in eight seasons. And quarterback stability has not been OU's recipe. In those eight seasons, the Sooners have had six starting quarterbacks. Josh Heupel (2000), Nate Hybl (2001-02), Jason White (2003-04), Rhett Bomar (2005), Paul Thompson (2006), Sam Bradford (2007).
Four of those six quarterbacks have won Big 12 titles, and Bradford tonight can make it five. What does such a quarterback carousel mean? Different things to different people.
Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel: "Bob's done a great job recruiting quarterbacks. To win at a high level, you have to have a great quarterback. Bob knows that, that's why they've had great success.”
OU coach Bob Stoops: "It shows we're strong in a lot of ways, not just that position. That position is supported by the overall strength of the team. We don't count on just him to win it for us.”
Both are right. Stoops' staff has
done a solid job in stockpiling quarterbacks. In all but 2005 and 2007, the Sooners have had a veteran hand ready to take over. But OU also has surrounded its quarterbacks with quality blocking and playmakers.
Truth is, OU's Big 12 title wins rarely are quarterback-driven. Josh Heupel was sore-armed by December 2000; his gutty game is best remembered for an option
play he ran, which is quite a hoot if you remember Heupel's non-knack for running.