Sooner Football: Why Isn't There More Love for Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops?
Last Saturday was a very special milestone in Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops' career, yet not a lot of football fans outside of Norman, Oklahoma even noticed.
With the Sooners' 42-34 victory over Baylor, Stoops became Oklahoma's second-most winning coach surpassing the great Bud Wilkerson. Stoops has a career 146-36 record.
OK, so it's not Bobby Bowden stuff in terms of wins—former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's status of the most winning coach in Division I football was ceremoniously taken away from the NCAA this year—but Stoops should still get a little more recognition for his achievements.
And so far, he hasn't.
Maybe it's because Stoops is still associated with failure during the BCS era. Stoops has taken his Sooners to eight BCS bowls—and most likely his ninth at the end of this season—yet he's stuck with a 3-5 BCS record.
Stoops is 1-0 against the ACC, 1-1* against the Pac-12, 0-1 against the WAC, 1-1 against the Big East and 0-2 against the SEC.
You can see where this is going.
The 2000 Sooners beat a very good Florida State team to win the BCS and end their season with a perfect 13-0 record, but everything else after that has been kind of a letdown. If it weren't for an 8-4 UConn being selected to face Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl two years ago, Stoops' BCS bowl record would probably have one less win.
The Sooners have the second-most appearances (8) in BSC bowls, but they also have that losing record. Ohio State has made nine appearances in BCS bowls and has a solid 6-3* record. USC has an impressive 6-1* record while Florida has a 5-1 record in BCS bowls.
Of the top 10 teams with the most appearances in BCS bowls, only four have losing BCS bowl records: Oklahoma (3-5), Florida State (1-5*), Virginia Tech (1-5) and Michigan (2-3). Stoops is winless against the SEC—the gold standard of success—in BCS bowls. And that's part of the problem.
True, it's not easy to beat an SEC team in a BCS bowl, but Michigan, Nebraska, West Virginia and Miami have all come away with one victory against the gold standard.
But it's not just his teams' performances against the SEC that have diluted the fans' appreciation of Bob Stoops—it's his recent tendency to not have his teams show up in big games. This year Oklahoma hosted Notre Dame in Norman, Oklahoma in a primetime game that received tremendous publicity. The Sooners were 10-plus-point favorites over the Fighting Irish but ended up losing, 30-13.
The Sooners looked over-matched and not much of a worthy opponent for the Irish. This is the same Sooner team that laid 63 points on the Texas Longhorns two weeks prior in the Red River Rivalry.
Ask a Sooner fan if Bob Stoops is the wrong coach for Oklahoma and you'll hear a resounding, "no." Stoops does a lot of philanthropic work around Norman. And despite that 3-5 record in BCS bowl games, he still is 7-6 in all bowls. He still has led the Sooners to 11 straight bowls and won seven Big 12 Championships.
Since Bob Stoops has been head coach at Oklahoma, the Sooners have only lost five games on their home field. And while Bob Stoops may be making a lot of cash to coach at Oklahoma, he's also bringing in a lot of cash. This year he has his Sooners in perfect position to play in the Fiesta Bowl.
Stoops' nickname of "Big Game Bob" may have lost its luster recently, but that nickname was coined back when he and then-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops were winning the big games. The return of his brother Mike serving as defensive coordinator should get some of that Sooner swag back from the 2000's.
With just 12 more wins, Bob Stoops will surpass one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, Barry Switzer. 2013 could be the year Stoops sits atop of all Oklahoma coaches and maybe, the BCS standings.
Maybe then, he'll get some more love from college fans outside Norman, Oklahoma.
*Vacated appearances by opponents were included.
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