Bob Stoops was at it again Wednesday, finding ways to take shots at the SEC and Nick Saban.
To be fair to him, I would expect him to respond to Saban’s comments about the Sugar Bowl being a consolation game for Alabama. You’re supposed to defend your team in that instance.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, what is he thinking? Let’s start with the obvious fact that Saban is right. Does Stoops actually think Alabama players were excited to be in the Sugar Bowl after being No. 1 all year and missing out on the national championship game because of a fluke play that happened to be the last play of their regular season? Of course his players took it as a consolation game, and it would be hard to motivate them. Especially after the Tide hadn’t played in a bowl game that wasn’t the national championship game since New Year’s Day of 2011.
His response to Saban was even more ridiculous. As he spoke with ESPN reporters throughout the day Wednesday, Stoops said that Alabama didn’t look like it was a consolation game on the first drive when they scored a touchdown in the Sugar Bowl, according to an ESPN story on his quotes. Then he said that he’s been in plenty of non-national title games, and that he has a “built-in excuse” now every time his team’s not in a title game.
“They didn’t look like it was a consolation game on that first drive when they scored a touchdown and everyone thought they were going to rout us. I’ve been in plenty of those [non-national title games]. We’ve played in a bunch of national championship games, right? … That’s a good one. So that means I’ve got a built-in excuse the next time we don’t play for a national championship?”
Sure Coach Stoops. The next time your team has won back to back national championships and is en route to a third straight national championship only to lose that opportunity in the last game of the regular season, you have that built in excuse. Remind me when that’s ever happened with you at Oklahoma.
When Stoops’s team lost the conference championship game after being undefeated all year in 2003, they still got to go to the national championship game in New Orleans that year. So I wouldn’t quite compare anytime his Sooners actually had to play another game without a national championship on the line to Alabama’s situation after the devastating loss they had.
The fact is, Stoops needed that Sugar Bowl win to shed the big-game choke label he’s earned the past 12 years, and he can’t deal with the fact that Saban took away from it.
Stoops’s track record of terrible BCS Bowl losses since 2003 includes losses to Florida, West Virginia, Boise State, USC, and LSU. To be fair, they did beat a Connecticut team that was 8-5 and had no business in a BCS game at the end of the 2010 season. But regarding the other ones, which one was a consolation game? I mean, three of them, Florida, USC, and LSU, were actually for the national championship. No consolation excuse for losing those games. West Virginia and Boise State came after two-loss seasons, and the Sooners were not expecting to be in the national championship game by the end of the season either time. So how does that compare to Alabama’s situation?
In fact, both times, Oklahoma had that “built in excuse” BCS game, it won the Big 12 championship before that, which brings me to my next point.
Who is Bob Stoops, or any Big 12 coach for that matter, to brag about not having a conference championship? That’s another point he brought up Wednesday. Have members of that conference completely forgotten about the conference championship game that went on for 15 years in the Big 12, second to only the SEC? Stoops coached in eight of them. And without that conference championship game, his hard-earned 7 conference titles throughout the course of his career that should be well-respected as a great part of his legacy would be down to 4 because three of those conference championships came when he won the title game, but his team did not have the best Big 12 record before that game. So Bob Stoops, would you like to play this game with the conference title? Because the only legacy that will take a hit is yours.
But let’s not forget his reasoning behind it. He used another form of what I call Stoops Sarcasm to take a shot at the SEC, saying that all the schools don’t play each other and criticizing some SEC schools, particularly Texas A&M, for scheduling weak out of conference games.
“Think about it: mathematically we play everybody, they [the SEC] don’t play everybody. For instance Texas A&M. They play eight conference games. They have Lamar, Rice, SMU and Louisiana Monroe. Boy those are all a bunch of toughies, right? We have nine conference games. So if [Texas A&M] was fortunate enough to be in the SEC championship game, they would play nine conference games at the end of the day and they have all those four ‘toughies’ to go with it.”
Once again, this is Stoops deflecting his failures. You know one of those toughies Texas A&M played more than a year ago? That’s right. Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. And the Aggies won that game 41-13. But I guess Stoops will try to compare that team to the 2013 Alabama team and say he has a built in excuse.
Stoops has been going out of his way to criticize the so-called “SEC Hype” for the past year now. Perhaps the most annoying thing about that is the fact that I don’t see anybody in the country who has benefitted from more hype since Bob Stoops has been at Oklahoma than, well, Bob Stoops at Oklahoma.
Do I need to re-hash the fact that his 2003 team was hyped as the “greatest college football team ever” before getting blown out the last two games of the year? Have we forgotten that it was hype that put his Oklahoma Sooners in the BCS championship game over Auburn in 2004, where they got crushed by USC and put an egg on the face of all the voters? What about 2008, when after a three-way tie in the Big 12 south division, Oklahoma got the nod over Texas and Texas Tech to play for the Big 12 championship, a game he’s now against having, simply because the Big 12 conference thought they would be the best team to compete for a national championship? The Sooners would obviously lose the title game that year as well, to Florida.
I’d say Stoops’s teams have been way overhyped over the past decade, much more than the SEC.
Now let me be clear. Stoops’s overall track record at Oklahoma is hall of fame worthy. I’m not here to fight 7 conference titles, a national title, 8 bowl wins, 9 Top 10 finishes, and 5 Top 5 finishes over the course of 15 years. However, he needs to look in the mirror before he continually takes shots at the SEC.
The SEC didn’t make him lose five straight BCS Bowl games in the mid-2000s. Nor did it make him lose three straight national championship games. None of that had anything to do with hype.