Category Archives: Oklahoma Sooners

The Ongoing Debate of Bob Stoops

It happens every time. The college football season gets underway and…Oklahoma loses a football game? You better believe there's someone out there calling for Bob Stoops' head. Every. Single. Time. No loss goes unaccounted for. If Stoops loses a game, heads must roll, right? Let's dig in.

Continue reading The Ongoing Debate of Bob Stoops

So, just to get it out of the way up front, I am not amongst those who repeatedly call for Bob's head every time the Sooners fail to go undefeated. But I hear the noise and this won't be there first time I've gone to bat for Big Game Bob and likely won't be the last.

In fact, I penned an article a couple of years ago about this very same topic asking if Stoops had spoiled Sooner fans. The crux of the argument was that Stoops had put together one of the most successful runs of all programs in college football since taking over in Norman in 1999. Better than Alabama, better than Florida, better than LSU. Yet, it seemed, no one was ever calling for the heads of Saban, Myer, or Miles. Why was that? Had this fan base become so spoiled that anything less than perfection was simply unacceptable?

Now is the part where you begin to piece together the criteria for which you place the value on head coaches. Is it simply wins vs losses? Defeating your rivals? Conference titles? Bowl wins? National championships? The simple fact is that everyone has their own criteria to judge from. Everyone has their own biases and thoughts on "the way it should be."

If you came here looking for pure stats, take a quick look at my previous article. It is a couple years old, but most of the stats hold up relatively the same. Whatever criteria you base your opinions on, Bob has succeeded in nearly every one of them. 10-win seasons? Automatic check. Dominating rivals? Check check. Conference titles? Check. Bowl wins? National championships? This is where people start to get fickle.

Stoops is the only coach that won every single BCS bowl game during the BCS era. The only one. Did he lose his fair share? Sure, but he had the Sooners playing in a big time bowl game or national championship more years than not. That's what people fail to appreciate. Bob has always kept the Sooners relevant and right in the thick of the national title picture. They are almost always playing in a big time bowl, if not the biggest. Getting hung up on wins and losses in those bowl games is short sided. Would you rather be playing in the biggest possible bowl against the best possible opponent or would you rather play in the toilet bowl against a guaranteed victory opponent? Give me the big time game. Win or lose, I want to be playing on the biggest stage against the best in the country.

Has it really been that long that people have already forgotten the improbable beatdown the Sooners put on Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last year? Let me remind you, Oklahoma was a FIFTEEN POINT underdog heading into that game. One. Five. As in more than a two touchdown dog. That is no small margin in football and next to no one (ahem) gave the Sooners a prayer. The Sooners flipped the script and won handily, 45-31. Sooner nation was electric. This was the Sooner Magic we had been missing. This was Big Game Bob's return to the limelight to slay the mighty SEC powerhouse.

And then the 2014 season rolled around and the Sooner hype train was in full throttle. A #4 preseason ranking had Sooner nation salivating over the potential of entering the first ever college football playoffs. Two mid-season losses later and that is but a fairly tale. Just like clockwork, out come the Stoops haters. "Bob's lost his fire," "Stoops has become complacent," "What has Bob done outside of the Sugar Bowl?" they say. Money in the bank, out they come.

Let me paint you a picture. Outside of winning the national championship last year, would you agree that defeating the mighty Crimson Tide against all odds in a BCS bowl game was the next best thing? How is it then that a silver medal does not earn Bob enough goodwill for even half of the next season?

"They've lost TWO games already! The season is over! It's a complete failure!" they shout. Those two losses have come by a combined five points. If one of the best field goal kickers in the nation converts on any of of the three missed kicks, are we even having this discussion right now? Want to know just how improbable it was for Michael Hunnicutt to not convert on what amounted to two separate attempts at extra point range? Let's just say that it's been proven that extra points are converted at a rate higher than 98% of the time. That's pretty high odds on converting both kicks inside the 20 yard range. But to fail on converting either of them in the same game? I'm not very good at math, but I know enough to know that those odds are astronomical. Add on the fact that Hunnicutt is one of the most accurate kickers in all of college football? Go ahead and pile some extra percentile points on to whatever insane odds it already was.

My point in all of this is, let's open our eyes and be realistic. Every loss is not Bob's fault and it's simply unfair to dig into that same box every time the Sooners don't live up to the unrealistic expectations. Does that make me a bad fan for refusing to lose my mind every time Oklahoma comes up short? Well, that's for you to decide. I want the Sooners to win just as much as anyone, but I also realize that it's unrealistic to expect perfection every single year and if you do then you're only setting yourself up for disappointment.

Bob Stoops is not the problem, quite the opposite. Bob Stoops is the best coach in all of the land and has my complete and full trust. Yeah, I said it. Not another coach I'd rather have. Boomer Sooner.

High Expectations in Norman

When the AP preseason poll was released and the Sooners landed in the #4 spot, it was inevitable that there would be high expectations in Norman. I suppose we should have seen this coming following the Sugar Bowl victory over the vaunted Crimson Tide, but are the expectations warranted?

Continue reading High Expectations in Norman

Don’t forget that the Sooners were fairly substantial underdogs in their final two games of the 2013 season. No one expected them to defeat OSU in the final game of the regular season and if you tried to argue that the Sooners would hang with Alabama in the Sugar Bowl then you were ridiculed as being a delusional homer.

The Sooners prevailed and ended the season in dramatic fashion defeating Alabama handily. The expectations in Norman went from zero to sixty in no time flat. Remember the last time the Sooners were highly touted in the preseason polls? Let me jog your memory back to 2011 that began with a #1 overall preseason ranking and ended with a trip to the Insight Bowl.

No question that the emergence of Trevor Knight in the Sugar Bowl has garnered the Sooners the majority of their hype. He torched the Crimson Tide through land and air creating an excitement in Sooner nation for the 2014 season. Questions of Knight’s ability to sustain this type of production were on the minds of every Sooner fan.

So what are we to make of these renewed expectations in Norman? Are they justified or are we looking at another year of disappointment? Through two games against lower-tier opposition, it’s hard to tell.

The defense has looked superb, but we expected that against Louisiana Tech and Tulsa. The offense was generic and Knight wasn’t asked to do much, but they were still able to put up gaudy numbers.

The emergence of a new backfield trio featuring Ross, Ford, and Perine was a definite bright spot. After the preseason incident that got highly touted recruit Joe Mixon suspended for the year, many fans were curious how the Sooner backfield would shake out. Turns out they are in very capable hands.

With the addition of the new four-team college playoff system being implemented this year, the Sooners are being pegged by nearly every analyst in the land to end up among those final four. Will they finally realize these expectations and run the table through a very winnable Big 12? The first step begins this Saturday against SEC foe Tennessee.

Weekly Wrap

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap where we dissect recent happenings across the local sports scene and generally whatever is on our minds. Look for the Weekly Wrap published every Friday.

• On Wednesday, the Thunder continued their streak of taking care of business against another elite Western conference foe after dropping a game earlier in the week yet again to the desperate Suns. I'm going to take the positive spin on this one and say the Thunder are in good shape heading into the playoffs having defeated the 1-seed Spurs and 3-seed Clippers in consecutive weeks. Dropping close games to teams fighting for the final playoff spot should not be overly examined. One thing that does not make me all warm and fuzzy inside is the likelihood over the Thunder's first round match-ups. Currently OKC is slated to face Phoenix in the first round. Yesterday it was Dallas until they dropped a game to the Spurs last night. Neither Dallas or Phoenix are great match-ups for OKC. Not that I'm concerned with losing a seven game series to either team, but I'm not terribly keen on the idea of being pushed to the brink in the first round.

Continue reading Weekly Wrap

• So KD's streak came to an end this week as well. Durant had 23 points though three quarters of play on Tuesday, but elected to sit the entire fourth quarter and let yet another streak die out. Earlier in the week he was quoted as saying "I wish it was over" (via Darnell Mayberry​). It looks pretty obvious that Durant wanted to break Jordan's streak and then end it. It was becoming a beatdown answering the same questions about the streak night in and night out and KD was ready to focus on the playoffs and not the streak. Would it have been cool for Durant to finish out the regular season with the streak alive and pass Oscar Robinson for second all-time only behind Wilt? Sure, but it was the smart move casually letting the streak end on Tuesday. Everyone knows it could still be going, but now the Thunder can focus squarely on the playoffs and not be bothered with anymore questions about "the streak."

• UCONN's men and women's teams each took home a college basketball championship this week. An impressive feat, no doubt, but this was the second time it's happened in the last 10 years. I'd do a little more research if I wasn't so lazy, but I can't remember any one school ever accomplishing the feat even once before (including my vast knowledge of women's basketball history) and UCONN has now done it twice? Holy cow. I knew the women's team has been dominant for some time, but it surprised me a bit to learn that the men's team has won the championship four times in the last 15 years, more than any other school. Serious props to UCONN. Caleb Hixon had a solid write-up this week wondering which team's run was more impressive this year.

Mark Schlabach details how Oklahoma QB Trevor Knight grew up a Longhorn fan and dreamed of one day playing in Austin. As it turned out, Knight never even made an official visit to Texas and eventually ended up in Norman. Chalk up another recruiting homerun for Mack!

• Oh yeah, Oklahoma's spring game is tomorrow. If things like spring game's interest you, Brandon Chatmon has a nice little preview of the game and what to watch for. You'll have to forgive me in advance for my lack of interest.

• The Net's completed a season sweep of the Heat on Tuesday night. The game ended with the Heat down one and LeBron going up for the game winner at the rim only to be denied by…Mason Plumlee? Feel free to watch the replay over and over and see LeBron flail about like a child demanding a foul. Sorry, King James, it was a clean block and oh so satisfying to watch.

• According to a panel of ESPN voters, the MVP race is over. This has been more or less a foregone conclusion since somewhere around January. While most would still consider LeBron the "best player" in the league, if KD collects a scoring title, MVP, and NBA championship this year? Watch out. A big "if" on that last point though, I know.

• The Master's is being played this weekend and will likely be watched and obsesses over by many a golf fans. With Tiger not in the field, I'm sure there will be a bit of drop off in casual fan interest, but it should still be an interesting tournament. Schedule me for an hour or two on Sunday afternoon to catch the end.

Weekly Wrap

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap where we dissect recent happenings across the local sports scene and generally whatever is on our minds. Look for the Weekly Wrap published every Friday.

• The Thunder completed the regular season sweep of the Spurs last night while ending yet another of their win streaks. OKC ended San Antonio's 11-game win streak the first time they met this season back in November and then ended their 19-game streak last night (oh and their 20-game win streak in the 2012 playoffs too). While Ginobili did sit, it's hard to imagine he would've changed the outcome much. Westbrook looked fantastic along with Reggie Jackson continuing his dismantling of the Spurs this season. While it took Durant until late in the fourth before he secured his 25 points, he played his game and got his. It speaks volumes for Durant's game that while some would consider it an "off" night for him, he still put up 28 and lead his team in a key victory over the first place Spurs. San Antonio fans and writers are of course trying to downplay the outcome, but make no mistake, this was a big win for OKC.

Continue reading Weekly Wrap

• Sports Illustrated put out a nice little write-up on Trevor Knight and comparisons to Tim Tebow. Here's a short blurb, but I'd encourage you to read the whole thing (it's a quick read):

A star college quarterback who loves to share his Christian faith, prides himself on being a leader and does his best not to use profane language. Sound familiar? For Oklahoma's Trevor Knight, the comparisons to Tim Tebow are an honor.


"Tim Tebow is second to none in the way he proclaims his faith, the way he plays and his competitiveness," Knight said. "He's a leader. You can see that. A lot of people give him a hard time for maybe not being the best quarterback, but he's a winner and conducts himself with class and honor.

Continue reading here:

• Caleb and I had a little point/counterpoint yesterday regarding the Thunder/Spurs showdown last night. Anyone enjoy this? Looking at potentially making it a regular type column featuring a fan/writer of a Thunder opponent. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Also, if you have a favorite NBA team that is not the Oklahoma City Thunder and would be interested in participating in a point/counterpoint then give me a shout.

• The Red River Rivalry is no more. What's that? No, not the actual game, just the name. It is now being branded the "AT&T Red River Showdown." Boy doesn't that have a nice corporate ring to it? Bleh, does anyone ever really refer to these things with the corporate sponsors name in every day conversation? 

"Hey Jimbo, you going to the AT&T Red River Showdown this year??"
"Is that over at AT&T Stadium?"
"I think it's at the Cotton Bowl."
"Oh ok, so where they play the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."
"No, that's AT&T Stadium. I'm talking about the Cotton Bowl."
"They don't play the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at the Cotton Bowl?"
"You must be thinking of the Heart of Dallas Bowl."
"What's that?"
"You know, the old TicketCity Bowl played at the Cotton Bowl."
"Oh, right, yeah, that's what I meant."

• So the official OU twitter account posted the following on Tuesday:

• Berry Tramel doesn't think the joke was very funny and in bad taste. I tend to agree with Berry on this one. I know it's the cool thing to try and come up with some clever April fools joke these days, but taking a low-blow at the ultimate company man Blake Bell was the best you could come up with? Pretty weak stuff guys.

• The Thunder are still two games back from San Antonio with eight to play. Bet they are wishing they could have back those brutal losses to the Cavs and Lakers right about now, huh? Ah well, no shame in the two-seed I suppose.

• Today is Landry Jones' birthday. Happy birthday Mr. Jones! How's life in the NFL? Wait, you are still on an NFL roster, aren't you? Oh, whew, that was almost awkward. What's that? You haven't taken a single snap yet? OK, it's awkward again.

Weekly Wrap

Welcome to the Weekly Wrap where we dissect recent happenings across the local sports scene and generally whatever is on our minds. Look for the Weekly Wrap published every Friday.

• March Madness is in full effect. For the first time since 1979, the Sweet 16 will not feature Duke, North Carolina, or Kansas. That is pretty insane. Despite all the parity in college basketball, one of those three schools had made it past the first weekend for the last 35 years. Just goes to show how truly bizarre this year has been. I've got Arizona going all the way beating Michigan State in the title game. Fingers crossed.

Continue reading Weekly Wrap

• With just 11 games remaining in the NBA regular season, the Thunder have won six of their last eight including wins over other playoff teams such as Houston, Chicago, and Toronto. The two losses? Both to Dallas. One a blowout loss and another in OT. Now the caveat here being that Dallas is essentially playing for a playoff spot while OKC has already clinched a playoff birth and really only playing for the number one seed at this point. Dallas is desperate for wins, Oklahoma City maybe not as much. However, I can't imagine the Thunder didn't want some vengeance for the blowout loss from the week before. I'll try not to over-analyze this too much, but OKC vs Dallas is a definite possibility for a first round playoff match-up.

• Jake Trotter has Oklahoma in the number two spot in his Big 12 "offensive triplets" rankings. The combo of QB Trevor Knight, RB Keith Ford, and WR Sterling Shepard ranks only behind Baylor's triplets. Lot of excitement in Norman surrounding these three players among others. Will be interesting to see if they can live up to the hype.

• Shout of to Caleb Hixon stepping in and pumping out the content this past week with his March Madness coverage (pay no attention to his actual game predictions). He had a great piece on Doug McDermott and his place in college basketball history.

• Thunder vs the Kings tonight! You pumped? Yeah, me neither. Let's get to the playoffs already. The only interesting thing left to follow is Durant's push towards winning his fourth scoring title and first MVP.

• Speaking of the playoffs, Anthony Slater does a nice job breaking down five potential first round opponents for OKC. While the Thunder would obviously be favored no matter who their first round opponent ends up being, there are no easy outs in the Western conference.

• Apparently you can now vote on the Sooners spring game field design. I'm all for fan interaction, but this just feels…a bit lame? Does anyone really care about the field design for the spring game? Maybe I'm just being a killjoy, but I could care less.