Description of "cranking" is unclear. "Crank" to many people means the starter actually turning the engine. You indicate:
it'll crank once but it'll just crank once over and over
To clarify, do you mean the starter turns the engine only once, and then stops working? Or do you mean when the starter is turning the engine, it attemps to start once?
Scan if for codes. A faulty Opti would set codes that will show up even when you are attempting to start the engine.
Then you indicate:
we think its the optispark now since we checked it wasn't getting any volts.
Do you mean the PCM was not supplying 12V to the Opti on the red wire (terminal C), or do you mean there was no voltage on the signal wires from the Opti (red/black - terminal A - low resolution pulse; purple/white - terminal B - high resolution signal)?
Extended start experienced earlier could be due to a faulty check valve in the fuel pump, leaking injectors, or a faulty fuel pressure regulator. Did you check the fuel pressure? What was the psi as the pump primied, and how fast did the pressure drop off when the pump shut off?
Could also be a faulty coolant temp sensor in the water pump housing. If that tells the PCM the engine is cold, the PCM richens the mixture for a very cold start, and it would explain the extended start, near stall, and smoke coming from the exhaust. A faulty coolant temp sensor may set a trouble code (total failure), or it may not (incorrect resistance, producing incorrect temp readings).