Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesSeptember 15, 2010
Dear Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, I have bad news: If Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops ran up the score on his own brother’s defense, he won’t hesitate to run up the score on your academy.
The Sooners and their 32 game home winning streak play host to the Air Force Falcons, fresh off an impressive win over BYU. I say impressive due to a host of reasons, including the Falcons having to replace their entire offensive line from last season‘s bowl team. With an option offense, you never know what you’ll get when that happens. What they got was a 21 point win. What they’re about to get could be the polar opposite.
Oklahoma had a seemingly tough time against Utah State in week 1, escaping with a 7 point win. They were favored by over 30 points. Realizing his Sooners needed to make a statement and with Florida State coming to town, coach Stoops brought out the heavy artillery.
"I didn’t utilize the entire playbook in week 1" said Stoops.
He sure did vs. Florida State.
Ahead 44-7 going into the fourth quarter, Stoops decided to leave his starters in the game in an attempt to pile on more points. What’s maybe even more surprising is that his brother, Mark Stoops, is Florida State’s defensive coordinator and had to stand there and watch this with a headset on, trying to figure out how to stop the bleeding. As a matter of fact, Stoops may have left his starters in the entire game if not for an injury to freshmen Brennan Clay, who had to be carted off the field midway through the fourth quarter. And get this- it was a passing play.
It’s obvious what the impetus was in attempting to leave the starters in deep into the fourth quarter, run up the score, and humiliate his own brother on the opposite sideline: Oklahoma needs style points. Especially after their narrow win over Utah State.
With Boise, Alabama, TCU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and others competing for BCS champion status, the last thing coach Stoops needs is another close game against Air Force, especially at home where the Sooners are 65-2 over the last decade. He’ll be up against an Air Force team with zero returning starters on the offensive line and a young, small defensive line to match. The Falcons may be up against a wall by halftime against a Sooners team eager to make a statement with senior RB DeMarco Murray running out of time to make a case for being a first round draft choice. With such a small defensive line for Air Force, this is his game to make a statement.
There’s no doubt Stoops does not want to hear the following things mumbled by commentators all over the country toward the end of the season when comparing the Sooners to other teams: "Well, Oklahoma did only beat Utah State and Air Force by 7 points at home, and Ohio State beat Marshall and Ohio by 30 points." No, Bob Stoops and the Oklahoma football organization and fans certainly don’t want to hear that. The rest of the schedule will be tough enough.
Alabama plays at Duke. Ohio State hosts Ohio U. Boise plays at Wyoming. TCU plays Baylor. All are favored by over 20 points, and at least 3 of those teams should win by that margin. All eyes will be on Oklahoma if the Sooners are the last horse to cross the finish line in their game.
Air Force better have a good clock control game plan, or this game might get out of hand in a hurry, especially since coach Stoops was running passing plays with his team ahead by 34 points in the fourth quarter.
Coach Calhoun: you’re running a great football program up in Colorado Springs, but if Bob Stoops didn’t hesitate to run up the score on his own brother, you might be in a bit of trouble in Norman this weekend.
Look for Oklahoma to win this game by at least 3 touchdowns, keeping up with the latest "style" in a league where it not only gets you looks, but in the case of the BCS bowl game payout, also lots of coin.