Oklahoma Football: Evaluating Bob Stoops' "Texas Longhorns Problem"
Much was made during the Big 12 Media Days about this "Texas problem" that the media apparently believes Bob Stoops has. Texas Longhorn fans are really giddy about winning four out of the last five, and they feel as if they own the Oklahoma Sooners.
Sooner fans, on the other hand, while they obviously hate losing, they don't look at it as if they are being dominated. However, they've dropped a couple they probably shouldn't have and had every opportunity to win two of those four games.
Since Longhorn fans appear to have a little bit of memory loss, or selective memory, maybe it's a good time to break down the first decade in the new millennium of the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
What happened in 2000 probably has a lot to do with the selective memory problem. In fairness, Sooner fans can relate, as they surely choose to forget what happened against USC in the '04 Orange Bowl. No real need to go into this one other than to say it was pretty bad if you're a Longhorn.
Superman made his appearance in 2001 in what was probably the greatest play in Red River history for many Sooner fans. This was back when Mike Stoops ran OU's defense, and they played with attitude. Who could ever forget Brent Musburger's "Do these guys ever lose a big game?!"
Oh, if he only knew...or maybe he did.
Does Bob Stoops have a "Texas problem"
The contest in 2002 probably could have gone either way. The Sooners took a 35-24 victory in a game where it seemed as if Texas was never going to figure it out. This made it three in a row for the Sooners, and Mack Brown was feeling the heat.
2003 was the year of the public apology. This game was so lopsided, so one-sided, so embarrassing for the burnt orange that Mack Brown had no choice but to apologize to his fanbase. It was a proud moment for those in Sooner Nation.
There was yet another defensive battle in '04. This was the last Red River game for Mike Stoops, and his defense was responsible for yet another victory in a 12-0 Red River shutout.
This made it five in a row, and Sooner fans were loving it. However, they also knew that the ride might be over for a while. There were so many draft picks on this '04 team, including a Heisman winner, all of whom weren't around in '05.
Texas finally got over the hump in '05. It was indeed their destiny, as they went on to win a classic matchup with USC in the Rose Bowl. Oklahoma never really had a chance in this one, with freshman QB Rhett Bomar, who took a relentless beating in '05.
In the beginning of the '06 season, it looked like the Sooners would move back on top. Gone was Vince Young for Texas and Rhett Bomar and Adrian Peterson were a year older and wiser.
That is, until Bomar needed a little extra cash. Guess he couldn't wait to be developed and go high in the NFL draft.
Either way, this made Paul Thompson the QB, and the Sooners never really recovered. They did persevere though and take the first of three Big 12 titles in a row, which says a lot for Stoops' coaching staff.
DeMarco Murray's highlight run stole the show in '07. It was also Sam Bradford's first year under center, and like he did pretty much all year, he played steadily and just got the ball to his playmakers. Curtis Lofton's strip as the Texas runner was about to score sealed the deal and broke up Texas' two-year run.
What's to say about 2008 other than it was yet another classic Red River matchup? Oklahoma came out and looked like it was going to take the game pretty easily. Then Ryan Reynolds went down, and a credit to Texas for finding the gaping hole in the middle of the OU defense. Oklahoma had no answer and was outlasted in a 10-point loss, in a season that will go down as one of the most controversial ever.
Coming into the 2009 season, it looked like it could be anyone's game. Then Jermaine Gresham was injured, then Bradford was injured, and on and on and on.
This is one Texas should have run away with, but didn't. The fact that the future national runners-up could only manage a three-point victory over a five-loss team says a lot about the heart of those Sooner players that were left in '09.
Looking back, it's been a great rivalry over the last 10 years. It doesn't appear that Stoops has any "Texas problem." It's a great game, played by great players and coached by great coaches.
Unfortunately, someone has to lose.
Anyone who knows the history of this game knows it goes in cycles. With Texas taking four out of the last five, Sooner fans are thinking it's about to cycle their way again.
Boomer Sooner Baby!!
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