Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Sifting through the college football headlines recently, a recurring theme has emerged. Off-the-field incidents are becoming the norm. Move over "Girls Gone Wild," because this summer it is apparent that college football players have joined the party.
California quarterback pleads no contest to a misdemeanor involving a bar fight...Air Force suspends placekicker indefinitely for a violation of team rules...Utah State dismisses linebacker after marijuana possession...San Jose State player jailed on robbery charges and 13 additional crimes...Tennessee dismisses one player and suspends another...Auburn suspends a pair of linebackers for three games for alcohol-related arrests...Miami starting tailback and wideout suspended for season-opener against Florida State.
These are just a smattering of tag lines that have graced the sports pages of late. While Miami will certainly have its hands full with the loss of Tyrone Moss and Ryan Moore for the season-opener versus rival FSU, the other schools will probably bounce back from any losses incurred and be fine.
The one team not mentioned above that will struggle most on the field is the Oklahoma Sooners. By now everyone in the Sooner Nation, and the rest of the college football world for that matter, knows that the university has kicked starting quarterback Rhett Bomar and guard J.D. Quinn off the team. Quinn was projected to start along the offensive front this year and will be missed, but Bomar's dismissal will probably cost the team a shot at the national title.
Rhett Bomar reportedly received payment above and beyond his actual duties at the dealership.
After a disappointing 2005 campaign that saw Oklahoma lose four games, the Sooners were poised for a huge 2006 season. All-American tailback Adrian Peterson is healthy as the season sits on the horizon and with a defense that rivals any in the nation, Oklahoma looked like a BCS-lock just a few days ago.
However, Bomar took a job with a local car dealer last year and reminiscent of any Hollywood movie dealing with college athletics and the dark side of boosters and such, reportedly received payment above and beyond his actual duties at the dealership. It reminds me of the movie "One on One" (I know I am dating myself) with Robbie Benson, who as a highly recruited basketball player, gets set up with a summer job of watching automatic sprinklers turn on and off.
In the movie, Benson decides to navigate college life on his own terms, but Bomar did no such thing and now has left Bob Stoops and the rest of the Sooners to clean up the mess (on the field).
To Oklahoma's credit, the school has acted quickly and appropriately and the fallout in terms of NCAA sanctions in the near future may be minimized as a result.
The immediate future of Oklahoma football on the field in 2006 is an entirely different story.
While Bomar didn't exactly light the world on fire last year, his first as a starter, he did play well in the second half of the season and actually set freshman passing records in Norman. Regarded as the top quarterback recruit coming out of high school two years ago, Bomar's maturation process under center was beginning to take shape.
Stoops will now look to senior Paul Thompson to lead this team. Thompson was named the starter to begin the 2005 season, but was horrible in a season- opening loss to TCU at home and never got back under center. Stoops will circle the wagons and force his team to believe in Thompson's leadership abilities, but unless the 6-4 senior can catch lightning in a bottle, opponents will utilize the same formula that worked last year. Foes are likely to put eight guys in the box and shut down Peterson. As great a rusher as Peterson is, he will find the going tough in 2006 without a complementary passing attack.
I know these are just kids and sometimes kids make mistakes. But out of all the aforementioned errors in judgment, this one will cost a team the most in 2006.
With Bomar at the quarterback position, the Sooners may have been the top team in the country. Without him, they may once again struggle in the Big 12 Conference.