NORMAN — Bob Stoops isn't saying who his starting quarterback will be in the Sugar Bowl.
Even though the Oklahoma coach surprised exactly no one with his that-will-be-a-game-time-decision proclamation on Monday, that just means we have more time to debate who should start at quarterback against Alabama. Trevor Knight? Blake Bell? Kendal Thompson?
The answer is easy, if you ask me.
And it is the same answer regardless of whether you're most concerned about the here and now or about the future.
Knight has to be the guy.
Let's start with beating Alabama. I know most folks believe that is an unlikely outcome of the game on Jan. 2, but if the Sooners want to have any chance against the Crimson Tide, they have to have a quarterback who can run and throw.
Look at the games this season where Alabama was tested the most. The first was a 49-42 victory at Texas A&M, the second a 34-28 loss at Auburn. Both of those squads have dual-threat quarterbacks.
Johnny Manziel threw for 464 yards and five touchdowns and ran for 98 yards against Alabama. I'm not sure anyone on scholarship in Norman can have that type of day against Alabama.
But what Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall did against Alabama is a blueprint for OU.
In fact, Sooner center Gabe Ikard said Monday that the offense has been focused almost solely on video from Alabama's loss to Auburn.
“They did a lot of damage just with zone read, counter, just running the ball,” he said.
Marshall ran for 99 yards and a touchdown and threw for 97 yards and two touchdowns. Not huge numbers from the Auburn quarterback, but a balance that kept Alabama honest and gave Auburn a chance.
You could see Knight posting those type of numbers.
Bell, for all his Bedlam success, isn't a zone-read guy. He's a power runner. There's a place for that, but it ain't as the starter against this Alabama team.
As for Thompson, I think we've seen why he didn't play more this season. He can't throw it well enough.
For all the infatuation with mobile quarterbacks like Manziel and Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, the truth is that they wouldn't be starters much less stars if they didn't throw it as well as they do. Got to be able to keep the defense from crowding guys up to the line of scrimmage.