Stoops Is As Stoops Does – SEC Versus the Field


Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops appeared to engage in a tinkling contest last week regarding conferences and whose is better.

As John Hoover, a Tulsa World sports columnist put it:

… Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Monday during a Sooner Caravan stop in Tulsa that he’s not worried.

Big 12 Conference schools and others around the nation don’t have to close some mythical gap.

“Well, it depends on what gap you’re talking about,” Stoops said. “What are the bottom six doing?”

“So they’ve had the best team in college football,” Stoops said. “They haven’t had the whole conference. Because, again, half of ’em haven’t done much at all. I’m just asking you. You tell me.”

“It depends on who you want to listen to,” Stoops said. “Listen, they’ve had the best team in college football, meaning they’ve won the national championship. That doesn’t mean everything else is always the best.”

“So you’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you,” he said. “You’re more than smart enough to figure it out. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, six teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they all doing?

“What’d we (the Big 12) have, eight of 10 teams in bowl games this year? Again, you figure it all out.”

But if you look at the column from Hoover in its entirety you will notice the writer took Stoops’ bait and decided he would eagerly carry the water for the coach. He wrote the column as if he were charged with answering the head football Sooner’s pointed challenge – “So you’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed to you. You’re more than smart enough to figure it out.”

That’s what Hoover attempts to do, and in process he fueled the offseason storyline for a week.

Hoover called Stoops’ point “fair” and worked overtime to prove to the coach he was smart enough to figure it out. The columnist admitted to a seven-year dominance of football by the SEC, calling it “amazing good fortune.”

Hoover uses Kentucky as an example to justify Stoops, writing, “And please don’t look over there where it says Kentucky was routed by cross-state rival Louisville. Or the one where it says the Wildcats lost in overtime to I-AA Western Kentucky.”

Never mind that Louisville was a very good football team last year. They beat Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The sports columnist may have missed it preparing for Oklahoma’s big game in the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M.

And never mind that Hoover’s column starts with the following correction:

A Tuesday Tulsa World Sports column incorrectly stated Ole Miss’ record and whether they went to a bowl game last season. The Rebels went 7-6 and won a bowl game. This story has been corrected.

As of this writing, Hoover’s column continues to refer to Western Kentucky as a I-AA school. They aren’t. They are members of the Sun Belt Conference, and move to Conference USA in 2014. Bobby Petrino is the team’s new head coach, replacing Willie Taggart who now coaches football at the University of South Florida.

Taking a more sober look at Stoops’ comments is ESPN, a post worth reading completely.

Looking at the six computers that comprise the BCS rankings, Stoops’ claim has some validity (though it is important to note that the SEC has four more teams in its conference).

The SEC’s average computer rank was 35.1 (out of 124) and 10 of its 14 teams ranked in the top 50 in the nation.

The Big 12’s average computer rank was 36.9 and eight of its 10 teams ranked in the top 50 in the nation.

The commentary from ESPN concludes:

This is not necessarily to say that the Big 12 was a better conference than the SEC. Our final conference rankings show that they are not.

But if anyone is looking for a way to back his claim, the unbiased computers are a great place to look.

We remember the computers said Notre Dame was the No. 1 team in college football only a few short months ago, too.

Florida Gators head football coach Will Muschamp offered this in response to Stoops, via the Orlando Sentinel:

When Muschamp was informed of Stoops’ comments at Wednesday night’s meeting of the Central Florida Gator Club, he just chuckled.

“I’d be saying the same thing if I were in the Big 12,” cracked Muschamp, the former defensive coordinator at Texas. “I said it for three years.”

Nick Saban weighed in on  the comments from Bob Stoops at the prompting of the press in Fort Wayne, Ala., and if you read his comments in black and white, they sounded harsher than they do when you hear him speak in the video below, starting at the 3:49 mark.


The wisest thing Saban said, “… I really don’t think that people that don’t play in our league really don’t understand the quality of our league from top to bottom.”

Isn’t that the truth? All games in the SEC are big games, to be sure.

Any given Saturday, baby. And while some argue that is a myth, as David Climer of the Tennessean did last week, there is enough anecdotal evidence to claim otherwise. Not only wins and losses between the top teams in the conference and the “lower-level” teams, but close, competitive games that on paper shouldn’t even be fun to watch – the Tennessee, LSU game in Baton Rouge a couple of seasons ago comes to mind.

Or another example, we remember the year an Ole Miss football team, led by Houston Nutt, came off a loss in Oxford to Vanderbilt to beat Florida in the Swamp. The Gators were led by Tim Tebow.

Florida went on to win another big game that season, the national championship. They beat Bob Stoops and Oklahoma.

Simon Lee is the publisher of Sporting Life Arkansas.

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