Thirteen years ago the Oklahoma Sooners welcomed Bob Stoops with open arms to Norman with high hopes of restoring glory to a once proud program.His hiring yielded immediate results with Coach Bob ‘Big Game’ Stoops bringing a National Championship back to Norman in only his second year on the job. During his thirteen years in Norman he has won seven Big XII Championship and accumulated an impressive 77-3 home record.
Despite his success it appears that Soonernation and Bob Stoops have come to a crossroad. Although Coach Stoops is nearly a lock for nine wins every year and favorite to win a Big XII Championship every year so much more is expected. There was time when winning was enough but in Norman another nine win season and another Big XII Championship is expected and is considered by Soonernation to be underachieving.
Stoops has raised the bar so high in Norman that his own success has become his downfall. Although he has collected his fair share of awards and trophies besides their dominance in the Red River Rivalry the Sooners have failed to win when it truly counts: 1-3 in Title Games (55-19 to USC; 24-14 to UF; 21-14 LSU) 2-5 BCS Games; 7-6 Bowl Record.
When the Sooners leave the comfort of the Big XII and face non-conference foes with equal talent Bob Stoops fails miserably making several pundits question why are we paying $4 million dollars to a coach who chokes when it TRULY counts.
His struggles have put the Athletic Director, Joe Castigilone who hired him into a conundrum. Although you may be unhappy with his performance how do you fire a coach whose won 7 Big XII Championships? And if you fire him who do you get to replace him? There is no easy answer to either of these questions, there only hope is that Stoops leaves to take another coaching somewhere else.
However, the secret is out and although several prominent programs were looking for head coaches to fill their vacancies traditional powerhouse like his hometown Ohio State Buckeyes or former employer the Florida Gators did not even give Bob Stoops any consideration choosing instead to hire an unproven defensive coordinator in Will Muschamp and his Youngstown Ohio native Urban Meyer who had retired the year before due to health complications.
It appears that the Sooners and Bob ‘USED TO BE BIG GAME’ Stoops are stuck together and although they will have the talent to contend for the National Championship, Soonernation may have to continue to settle for another Big XII Championship, unacceptable losses (Texas Tech, BYU, and Baylor) and a poor showing in a BCS Bowl Game.
On Saturday the Sooners were out-toughed and out-executed by Optimus Klein and the undermanned Kansas State Wildcats. It looks like another disappointing and underachieving Sooner team. Will Coach Stoops and the Sooners ever be able todo what is unexpected and fulfill their promise of bringing the National Championship back to Norman? With Texas Tech next Saturday we shall see how Landry Jones and the Sooners respond. Stay tuned… I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)