One of the first things people told
Situated in the Piney Woods, 70 miles north of Houston, Huntsville is the location of Sam Houston State, Bomar's second college. It's also home to eight prisons, including what was for many years the nation's busiest execution chamber. The Longhorns may boast only the fifth-ranked team in college football this week, but when it comes to capital punishment, Texans can proudly boast, "We're No. 1!"
Biblical scholars refer to Adam and Eve's original sin as a "fortunate fall." Many Sooners fans feel the same way about
While Texas and OU kick it off at 11 a.m. in the Cotton Bowl this Saturday, Sam Houston's game against Central Arkansas "isn't until six," notes Bomar, now in his second season starting for the I-AA Bearkats. "Sure, I'll probably flip through [the channels] and see how they're doing. It doesn't really bother me. I don't really think about it anymore."
Of course he catches plenty of Big 12 football on the tube. No, he can't help thinking, he admits, "I should be playing there, things like that. But, honestly, I put that out of my head. I've realized that part of my life's over, it's done with. I'm not gonna play there anymore, and I need to focus now on my teammates here, and winning here."
It is grimly appropriate that Bomar should have ended up plying his trade in "Prison City." He never committed a felony, but, looking back on the swiftness with which he was booted from the Oklahoma program in August of 2006, one wonders if he might as well have.
Bomar was a redshirt sophomore and the Sooners' returning starter at quarterback that summer. But he never made it to two-a-days. A University investigation revealed that Bomar and offensive lineman
For purposes of comparison, remember that this was on the eve of the 2006 season, in which
I bring that up not to demean Smith, who obviously learned from his mistake, but to use it as a frame of reference. Here's another. Bomar's ill-gotten gains, the NCAA later reckoned, came in at some $7,400. Even as he was packing his bags, USC was in Defcon 3 over the status of
Bomar, for his part, was called into the office of head coach
Asked if he was guilty as charged, Bomar says, "To an extent, yeah." In the same breath, he insists that his malfeasance was "not as bad as everybody tried to make it out to be." He elaborates: "Nobody knows the whole deal, and I'm not gonna get into all that. It's just a lot of stuff that went on that nobody knows about. But, yeah, we made mistakes, and I guess had to suffer the consequences."
Despite the harshness of the penalty, "I didn't go out and rat anybody out or talk or anything like that, I just kind of moved on with my life."
That statement -- "I didn't go out and rat anybody out" -- strongly implies that one or more of his teammates went unpunished. Asked to elaborate, he responded with a polite no-comment. "I'm not gonna get into that one. I'm happy now, and it's going good."
Bomar called me Wednesday afternoon. He'd just finished classes, and was on his way to meetings to prepare for Central Arkansas. The Bearkats are 2-1, coming off a 49-33 win over Gardner-Webb in which Bomar threw for five touchdowns and ran for another. For this performance, he was named a College Sporting News National All-Star, as well as Southland Conference Offensive Player of the week.
He's already passed for 10 touchdowns this season -- equaling his total from '07, when he was knocked out in the ninth game with a torn ACL in his left knee. After that, he had to sit back and watch as backup
Are any of Oklahoma's games
Bounced from the big-time, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound, dual-threat signal-caller had at least one D-I option. There was interest from Houston, then coached by highly regarded
His hope, in coming to Sam Houston, was that he might salvage half of his sophomore season. But the wheels of NCAA justice ground slowly. The NCAA needed info from Oklahoma, whose gumshoes, in Bomar's view, "dragged their feet a little bit ... they took it really slow, cause they really didn't care about us."
In the end he was ruled ineligible for the entire season. "I kept hoping all season, and then they just shot it down. It was kind of a rough fall."
These days, he says, his life is good. He sounds happy, if a bit jaded. Yes, his goal is to play in the NFL. Scouts, he says, are "coming through every week, and the feeback's good. I'm hoping to just go out, have a good year, and things will be all right for me."
I had a final question before I let him go. If he happens to have the Texas-OU game on, would he be pulling for one team or another? He unleashed his longest laugh of the interview.
"Yeah," he replied, "Maybe one way or the other. But I'm not gonna tell you which way."
The truth is, he doesn't have to.