In one corner, the citizen of the Cherokee tribe . . . and the quarterback from Oklahoma.
In the other corner, the former missionary to Peru . . . and the quarterback from Texas.
Sam Bradford is a finance major for the Sooners who had a 4.0 grade point average last fall.
Colt McCoy is a two-time academic all-Big 12 selection for the Longhorns.
So when No. 1 Oklahoma goes against No. 5 Texas in Red River Armageddon, maybe we should have the quarterbacks take a written test?
Well, no. They’re pretty good throwing a football, too.
Matter of fact, whoever came up with the formula for pass efficiency rating – call NASA if you want to know how it works – should be the guest of honor Saturday.
Bradford has completed 72.6 percent of his passes, with 18 touchdowns and only three interceptions. No. 2 in the country in pass efficiency.
McCoy has completed 79.2 percent with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s No. 4.
When it comes to hot quarterbacks this season, the Big 12 is the mother lode. If either of these two can be harassed, hassled and otherwise taken off his A game Saturday, it could well decide the No. 1 ranked team this time next week.
This is a meeting at the Texas State Fair of unbeatens with gaudy numbers. Oklahoma has outscored its opponents 103-3 in the first quarter. Texas has scored 236 points in five games – the most since 1915.
And for Big 12 self-respect, it is an undeniable BCS moment of truth that does not involve USC or the SEC.
“We’ll have everybody in America talking about the game next week,” Texas coach Mack Brown said.
“It’s what Texas and OU have wanted forever, and we have got it back.”
• “If we start getting wide-eyed over people, we are going to have a hard time blinking, because they are going to be wide a bunch.” – Baylor coach Art Briles after the Bears were run over by Oklahoma. He’s obviously seen his schedule. Three more top 10 teams from the Big 12 await.
• “I’m not letting anybody get near me with a knife.” – Joe Paterno, presumably meaning he doesn’t want surgery for the bad hip that has him coaching Penn State games from the press box, and not an unhappy fan. But then, who could be unhappy with the way the Nittany Lions are playing?
• “This is ridiculous right now.” – Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, whose Wolverines are 2-3 for the worst start since 1967 – two years before Bo Schembechler hit town. Michigan has more turnovers (16) than touchdowns (14).
Stat of the week
Michigan’s streak of 33 straight bowl seasons is in jeopardy. After hosting Toledo this week, the 2-3 Wolverines play six Big Ten opponents with a combined record of 28-6. Four of the six games are on the road.
Thumbs of the week
• Up to Vanderbilt. This has grown from surprising to surreal. How does a team go 5-0 for the first time since 1943 with the 114th ranked offense in the country, while falling behind all five games? Allow 10 points in the second half is one good way. “Football’s a four-quarter game,” linebacker Chris Marve said. “And we’re a four-quarter team.”
• Up to Texas Tech passing system. It’s not just that Graham Harrell has passed for 12,709 yards on 1,567 career attempts. It’s that he’s done all that and been sacked only 37 times.
• Down to Nebraska. Missouri not only ends 30-year losing streak in Lincoln with 52-17 romp but administers worst Cornhuskers home loss in 53 years. “Yes, damn right, yes. I am embarrassed,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said.
• Down to Iowa. Three straight losses by a combined nine points. Want to see a coach desperate for victory? Kirk Ferentz turned down a 38-yard field goal attempt to tie with 2 minutes left and went for it on fourth and a foot against Michigan State. Loss of two yards.