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Stop, Already

You may have seen the recent SI cover celebrating Ohio State's victory in Austin. No? You didn't see it? A little salt for the burnt orange wound:

I was there. It sucked. I've moved on.

The Ohio State loss may be behind me, but I can't help but continue to be bothered by the never-ending comparisons between Vince Young and Troy Smith. SI college football writer Austin Murphy, unable to write a feature story without being grandiose, contributed to the irrelevancy in his own way:

Whenever he was asked last week to compare himself with Young, Smith would flinch almost imperceptibly, then answer by not answering. "He's a great guy, but I play for a totally different team," he said on one occasion. "He's six-six, I'm six-one," he said on another, inadvertently spotting the former Longhorn an extra inch.

Smith dodged the question because there was no upside in answering it truthfully, in saying something along the lines of: I'm better at getting through my progressions. And when I do release the ball, I have a more fluid motion and throw a better, more accurate deep ball--make that a more accurate ball, ­period--than he ever will.

Or, Austin, perhaps Troy Smith was saying what he meant; namely, "We're entirely different quarterbacks that have run entirely different offenses."

At its base, this is just the latest example of the lazy, unintentionally racist journalism that pops up with any, and every, African American quarterback. People don't compare Steve Young and Brett Favre like they do Troy Smith and Vince Young, and yet each set of quarterbacks are equally far apart in style and ability. In large part, this only happens because they're black.

We see this manifested in analyses of black quarterbacks in other ways, too. Recently, fed up with the same tired, ignorant question about his speed, the Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich finally shot back, "I'm not a slow quarterback. I'm just the slowest black quarterback in the NFL." There's a big difference, of course, and it makes no sense to use race as the filter for judgment.

I don't think it's the worst sin in the world, and I'm not here to go all Scoop Jackson on ya. It's just not that big a deal. But it's lazy, and tired, and worst of all, a blatantly bad comparison.

If you absolutely must compare black quarterbacks,  start with Donovan McNabb for Troy Smith, a man who -can- use his feet and get around, but is a pure passer that simply uses his feet to buy time... in order to pass. He'll run if he has to, but that's it.

And Vince? Try Randall Cunningham, a man who was, like Vince, much more of a dual threat weapon - Cunninham amassed nearly 5,000 yards and 35 TD rushing the football.

Just quit comparing Troy Smith and Vince Young, okay? They're both black, competitive, and play quarterback. Other than that, they really ought not be compared. Even if their universities play one another.

And one final word for Smith as he preps for the NFL Draft. Have fun with the Wonderlic... the story's already been written about you. They're just waiting to plug in your name.