It’s tempting to ask “most disappointing season ever?” but that would be tough to analyze. Let’s stick with the question of most disappointing season of the Stoop’s era? I submit to you that yes, it was indeed the most disappointing . . . but it’s close.
This was only the 4th season in Bob Stoop’s tenure of 13 seasons where he has not won 11 games. One of the 4 was his first year as head coach so he definitely gets a pass. Let’s take a closer look at the other 3.
2005 was definitely a bad year. They lost 2 of the first 3 games including a home loss to TCU. They were pounded by Texas and a late season loss to Tech sealed a disappointing season. And yet, they won 6 of their last 7. They won their bowl game and finished strong with an 8-4 record. It was a bad year but not totally unexpected as we were breaking in a new quarterback and we had lost a lot of seniors. No one expected much from the Sooners. They started off at #7 but most people agreed it was a rebuilding year.
2009 is the only other season to rival 2012 in disappointment. In fact, it was similar in a number of ways. It started with very high expectations with Sam Bradford choosing to come back for one more year. The Sooners were ranked #3 in the pre-season. But the injuries bit them early and hurt. All-American TE Jermaine Gresham went down before the season started and Bradford went down in the first half of the first game. The Sooners went on to start the season at 3-3 including heartbreaking losses to BYU, Miami, and Texas by a combined FIVE points! A loss to Nebraska was painful and then came the OU nemesis, Texas Tech, to bite them again. This gave Stoops only his second 5 loss team during his tenure. The Sooners did finish by beating OSU and winning their bowl game but they only won one game on the road that year. This was a very disappointing season . . . without a doubt. But losing a quarterback that would go on to become the #1 overall pick in the NFL draft gave a plausible reason for this disappointment.
The 2012 season started with a pre-season ranking at #1 and talk by Stoops and the players that this was the year for National Title #8. The team was featured on ESPNU All-Access and they came across as tough and confident. Little did we know at that time that they talked a lot better than they played. The Sooners got off to a decent start winning 6 in a row with the high point being a dominating victory over Texas. Everyone could see that OU was not quite as dominant as had been expected. What was wrong? They were still winning right? And yet something was there. And then came the shocking loss to Tech . . . at home . . . snapping the longest home winning streak in the nation. This is the same Tech team that would not win another game the rest of the year, losing the next 5 in a row. This one game seemed to spell doom for both teams in an odd way. The Sooners bounced back with 2 impressive victories over a good K-State team and a decent A&M squad. Injuries once again hit the Sooners hard taking down their starting RB and arguably the best receiver in college football. The loss of Broyles probably had a bigger impact than any as Landry didn’t throw another TD pass the rest of the season. And then the defense let their guard down again against a Baylor team that had never beaten the Sooners before. Another embarrassing loss left the Sooners reeling. And then we know what happened in Stillwater. The worst loss by the Sooners in bedlam history since 1945.
If the Sooners win their bowl game against a very beatable Iowa team then they will end up 10-3 and salvage a little dignity. But they have to win the bowl game to most likely avoid ending up as the lowest ranked AP pre-season #1 in history. As it is, even with a win, they will most likely be the lowest ranked in 50 years.
Is this the worst year in the Stoop’s era? Probably not.
But there is good reason to call it the most disappointing.
The reason? Expectations.
By who? By Stoops himself.