Bob Stoops has led the Oklahoma Sooners to four BCS National Championship games in 14 years, including a 13-2 victory over Florida State in 2000. His teams have captured eight Big 12 titles and have finished with double-digit wins in all but three seasons.
So where do the 2012 Sooners rank among Bob Stoops' teams?
First of all, this year's Sooners are a confusing bunch.
They went 10-2 with a conference loss to Kansas State in September. Then they turned around and earned a share of the Big 12 title with the Wildcats in December.
They came into the season 77-3 at home under Stoops and then lost two home games in the same season (Kansas State, Notre Dame) for the first time in his tenure.
Stoops has coached two Butkus Award winners, two Thorpe Award winners and a Lombardi Award winner, yet his and brother Mike's defense gave up over 180 yards per game just on the ground this season.
Still, ten wins is ten wins no matter what happened throughout the year.
Obviously, the 2012 Sooners can't match up with the four teams who played for national titles under Stoops (2000, 2003, 2004, 2008). However, this Landry Jones team is definitely better than the Landry Jones team of 2009.
The 2010, 2011 and 2012 Jones-led Sooners were basically the same story. They were talented teams that lost games because of Jones and won games because of Jones. The 2011 team was the most disappointing due to starting the year No. 1.
The 2007 Sooners could've played for a national championship after defeating No. 1 Missouri in the Big 12 championship game. Plus, it was Sam Bradford's coming out party.
There's no way the 2012 Sooners can rank ahead of the 2007 team.
The 2006 squad massively overachieved. They made it to the Fiesta Bowl only to lose to Boise State and their trickery. However, this year's Sooners lost two games to two teams ranked No. 1 at one point in the season. In 2006 they lost to Texas and Oregon. Plus, Jones in his fourth season is much more dangerous than Paul Thompson moving to quarterback from wide receiver.
The 2005 Sooners had two quarterbacks: Thompson and Rhett Bomar. You know what they say about having two quarterbacks; if you have two, you have none. At least Jones was somewhat more reliable this year than a two-quarterback system.
Oklahoma's 2001 and 2002 teams, led by Nate Hybl, could've played for a couple more national titles. Their defenses were stacked, and Nate Hybl was a pretty decent game manager.
Jones has more talent and has more records, but the teams around Hybl were much more talented. The 2001 and 2002 teams have the edge, but if you put Jones on those teams, they might have made it to the BCS National Championship game.
Stoops' first team in 1999 wasn't talented, but they went to a bowl game for the first time in five seasons. However, they only won seven games, so they can't be ranked ahead of this year's team—even though they did have the only quarterback to win a national title in the Stoops era (Josh Heupel).
Should this year's Sooners be ranked higher or lower?
So, the Stoops team rankings looks something like this:
- 2000 (13-0)
- 2008 (12-2)
- 2004 (12-1)
- 2003 (12-2)
- 2007 (11-3)
- 2002 (12-2)
- 2001 (11-2)
- 2012 (10-2)
- 2006 (11-3)
- 2011 (10-3)
- 2010 (12-2)
- 2009 (8-5)
- 2005 (8-4)
- 1999 (7-5)
This year's Sooners lost to two of the best teams in the nation. In fact, both the teams they lost to sent candidates to New York for the Heisman presentation.
However, the Sooners did play each of those games at home and were favored in each game as well. They overachieved, but could've done better. They could've been ranked higher in the Stoops era, but finished right where they should have.
See what I mean about confusing?