Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops declined to say Wednesday if Blake Bell will enter next season as starting quarterback.
“There's no way to answer that question now,” Stoops said. “That doesn't make any sense for me to answer that with three games and a bowl game left.”
Bell lost the preseason quarterback battle to redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, but took over as starter in the third game of the season. The junior has had a couple really good games, but he has also struggled with consistency.
In Oklahoma's 35-21 win at Notre Dame in late September, Bell completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 232 yards and two touchdowns.
But last Thursday against Baylor, Bell was 15 of 35 for 150 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.
Bell, Knight, sophomore Kendal Thompson and redshirting freshman Cody Thomas all return next season, and the Sooners will add Edmond Santa Fe standout Justice Hansen in their 2014 recruiting class.
“I think it's fair to say you can't discard — or however you say it — what he has done that's been really positive, right?” Stoops said of Bell. “In the end, you have to take that into consideration as well. And we do, even if other people don't.”
‘THE BEST 1-8 TEAM YOU'VE EVER SEEN'
Oklahoma enters Saturday's game as a better than three-touchdown favorite against Iowa State.
After last week's loss to Baylor, much of the focus this week has been not on the Cyclones but on Oklahoma's offensive issues.
But Sooners offensive lineman Bronson Irwin isn't taking anything lightly this week.
“They might be the best 1-8 team you've ever seen,” Irwin said. “They've lost a lot of close ones that have really comes down to the wire. They're a team that's gonna play down to the wire, and they're never going to quit. You've got to keep it on them and you've got to keep it on them and make sure you're matching their level of intensity.”
Iowa State has lost three Big 12 games by a touchdown or less, including last week's 21-17 loss to TCU. The Cyclones' lone win this season came Sept. 26 at Tulsa.
ALEXANDER CONTINUES TO PROGRESS
Freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander has been thrust into a prominent role since Corey Nelson went down with a season-ending injury against TCU.
Alexander has consistently drawn praise from Sooners coaches since entering the starting lineup.
“I'm a lot more comfortable,” Alexander said. “Because I play my game and am able to see a lot more things. My knowledge of the game has gotten better with the reps I've gotten. I'm a lot more comfortable and a better player than the first one I played as an Oklahoma Sooner.”
Alexander made 11 tackles, including one for a safety, and forced a fumble in the loss to Baylor. He has 51 tackles for far this season, third-most on the team.
SWITZER: TIES HURT MY RECORD
Legendary former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer has no problem with Stoops passing his program-record 157 career wins, but he did point out one area where Stoops is at an advantage.
“See, you don't have ties today,” Switzer said with a laugh. “I look at the freaking ties. My ties — without a doubt — should've been three wins.”
Switzer ended his career as Oklahoma's football coach with a 157-29-4. College football added overtime in 1996, eliminating the possibility of ties.
Stoops can match Switzer's 157 career wins Saturday, when the Sooners host Iowa State.
The first tie of Switzer's career came in 1973, when his team and No. 1 USC played to a 7-7 tie in Los Angeles. OU kicker Rick Fulcher missed a field goal, though, that would've given the Sooners a win.
“From the 11-yard line,” Switzer said. “We would've won that thing 10-7. It went to the right. I could've died.”
Then in 1976, Oklahoma and Texas finished in a 6-6 tie when the Sooners bobbled an extra-point snap, and kicker Uwe von Schamann didn't get to attempt the PAT.
“Von Schamann never missed an extra point in his career, and he didn't get to kick the extra point against Texas in a 6-6 tie,” Switzer said. “They bobbled the snap. How many times does that happen? So I got screwed out of that.”
Switzer's Sooners tied with Texas again in 1984 after controversial officiating cost Oklahoma a potential victory.
“I've always said those are three right there I got screwed out of,” Switzer said. “Then I look back, and I won some close ball games. Maybe I should've lost a couple of those 157 I won.
“They give you half a win and half a loss for ties in computing winning percentage, so maybe you have to say I'm 159-31.”
BY RYAN ABER AND JASON KERSEY