Oklahoma vs. Florida State: Is This a Must-Win for Bob Stoops?

Alex Joseph@alex_brosephAnalyst ISeptember 15, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Bob Stoops looks on while taking on the Connecticut Huskies during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The winning tradition at the University of Oklahoma runs deeper than the Bob Stoops era (1999-present). However, it's true that Stoops certainly brought the program back from the dead and has maintained a winning tradition throughout the length of his stay. 

Let's break down Stoops' body of work (*indicates playing in the BCS National Championship Game):

Year W L Conf. Champ BCS Bowl Win National Champ
1999 7 5 No No No
2000 13 0 Yes Yes Yes*
2001 11 2 No No No
2002 12 2 Yes Yes No
2003 12 2 No No No*
2004 12 1 Yes No No*
2005 8 4 No No No
2006 11 3 Yes No No
2007 11 3 Yes No No
2008 12 2 Yes No No*
2009 8 5 No No No
2010 12 2 Yes Yes No

For those who didn't want to follow the chart, here's the statistical breakdown:

After winning the season opener of 2011, Stoops' record at Oklahoma is a remarkable 130-31. Of those 31 losses, only two have come at home.

In 12 seasons, Stoops has won seven conference championships, has been to eight BCS bowl games and has thus finished in the AP Top 10 eight times as well. Stoops has only missed the AP Top 25 one time in his career at OU (2009).

Of those eight BCS games, four of them have been for the national championship. Stoops has won one. 

So why would a Week 3 matchup against No. 5 Florida State be the biggest game of Stoops' career? Why would this, of all the big games Stoops has coached in, be the best example of a "must win" type of game?

It's because of the winning tradition. Bob Stoops made a name for himself at Oklahoma by bringing it back and he can certainly be the cause of his own unforgiving demise. 

Don't get me wrong, there is no way Bob Stoops is on a "hot seat" going into this game, at least not in my mind, but I only speak for less than one percent of the people involved with the university. This includes students, fans, critics, boosters, players and other staff.

Maybe now more than ever, these people want a national championship. The ultimate goal has always been a national championship, but when our society has continually become more dependent on instant gratification, sometimes a good track record just won't cut it.

It's easy to say that Stoops has been on the national championship stage four times in his stint at Oklahoma because it's so hard to keep getting back year after year. 

Four out of 12 years is a pretty great number. That means the Sooners have had the chance to win a national championship every three years since 1999. The problem is the number that Stoops has actually won: one. 

That was in 2000, against...who? You guessed it—Stoops' at-hand foe, Florida State. 

Stoops is 1-3 in national championship games and 3-5 in BCS games. While the seven conference championships are nice, it's not what keeps people interested anymore. 

The fact of the matter is, you can't win every single big game you coach; the games that Stoops has lost have been against really great talent.

But does his regular season track record negate him from being scrutinized? "Big Game Bob" has to make good of his nickname; it's almost ironic at this point.

In 2009, Stoops signed a contract extension that has him at Oklahoma through 2015. This is evidence that the people associated with the university definitely trust him, and why wouldn't they? Stoops is one of the best coaches in the NCAA; could Oklahoma really do better?

That remains a mystery, and will continue to remain a mystery, but if Stoops wants to live up to the winning tradition that he resurrected, this Week 3 matchup against No. 5 Florida State is a great start.

If the Sooners go on the road and lose, they will have a tough time crawling their way back up the polls. Their record and play will have to be flawless for the rest of the season to get noticed at all at the end of the season. 

This may be the best team that Stoops has had since 2008 and he can't afford to waste this opportunity.

The Sooners haven't been to the National Championship Game for the last two seasons, so in order to keep up with averages, the Sooners should be going back this year. 

Stoops may not be on the hot seat, but he could really use a win. Not only for the selfish fan in all of us, but also for his own legacy. 


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