Tremendous article on ESPN.com by Brent Murphy interviewing Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops about one of our favorite topics, the over-rated SEC. Not only does the Sooner HC say the right things in total agreement of what we’ve attested to over the years, but he actually put a beat down on Bama last year in the Sugar Bowl to back up his previous rhetoric defeating Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, 45-31. Great job! Because of him, we put down some of his significant comments from the interview aligned with some lyrics from our favorite band of all time, The J. Geils Band, from a recording of their song of 1982, “Stoop Down #39!”
“You’re my solid sender; you’re a real mind bender…”
He responded to Nick Saban’s comments about the Sugar Bowl being a “consolation 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.”
“You’re a real fair shaker, and you ain’t no faker.”
Said Stoops, “So that means I’ve got a built-in excuse the next time we don’t play for a national championship?” The previous day, Saban had met with ESPN and commented about the difficulty of getting his team prepared to play Oklahoma as they would have to “try to play in a consolation game.” Didn’t we also hear that when Alabama lost to Utah in the 2008 Sugar Bowl? If the Sugar Bowl isn’t of interest to Alabama or any other SEC team who doesn’t make it to the championship game, why bother? Let some team play that’s going to play for more than just a pay check. Be honest and tell us you just don’t care before the game. This is just another SEC rubber-stamped comment by Mike Slive’s PR people to deflect the mortality of its membership.
“Don’t want no mambo, don’t want no jive, I’m riding the ropes, and taking a dive”:
Stoops was asked if he thought the Big 12 should add a conference title game. It’s the only Power 5 conference that doesn’t have a league championship game. He didn’t jive:
“Think about it: mathematically we play everybody [in our conference], they [the SEC] don’t play everybody,” Stoops said. “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.”
Chorus: Stoop down, Bobby! Stoop down, Coach! (I changed the lyrics a little here).
“The way you switch your eyes, you got me hypnotized!”
He’s making points with us here: “We have nine conference games and we’re playing Tennessee. In a few years we have Ohio State, we just came off a series with Notre Dame and Florida State. So that’s like 10 conference games. If you’re playing a tough non-conference schedule to go with nine [Big 12] games, that’s a tough schedule.”
Besides Oklahoma’s nine Big 12 opponents this season, the Sooners’ non-conference schedule features Tennessee, Louisiana Tech and Tulsa. Check out Alabama’s: WVU at a traditional “neutral” site, The Georgia Dome, as they typically avoid playing any home and home series any longer against any FBS school (LSU plays Wisconsin at a “neutral” site in Texas). The SEC learned about the value of a neutral site when they studied the battle of Gettysburg. Then there’s Florida Atlantic of the lowly Sun Belt, Southern Miss, who’s 1-23 over the last two seasons, and Western Carolina who’s not only an FCS team, but a real tough one at that coming off a 2-10 season. I’m sure Saban’s boys don’t see that as a consolation game when they whip them 60-0 to show off that SEC strength for votes. That’ll be an outright BBQ (and he wonders why the student body is gone from their seats tailgating before halftime). The Sooners have some of the more challenging future non-conference schedules in home-and-home series against Ohio State, UCLA, Nebraska, Michigan and LSU. No neutral site like Oklahoma City or Dallas. As a matter of fact, every year they play the Red River Rivalry at a neutral site when the play Texas in Dallas!
“You’re so sweet and tasty, like the best French pastry”:
“In the end, it’s worked for us,” Stoops said. “It’s refreshing when you win [those types of games]. For the most part it’s been positive for us.” And if not, it shows he’s got the gumption to look for challenges more than he’ll look for cupcakes.
“You got me tongue-tied behind my back; you got ‘em good, that’s a fact.”
The Sugar Bowl win over Bama also was significantly gratifying for Stoops because he had previously challenged the overall strength of the SEC in a way we’ve presented many times before.
Stoops stated: “They said ‘the SEC this, the SEC that. I said, ‘You talk like all 14 teams are this, that and the other thing.’ I said, ‘You have to give credit to the first one or two that have won the national championship, but don’t act like they’re all doing that.’
“The year I said that, the bottom half of the league was like 0-36 against the top half of the league. The bottom half of the league isn’t beating anybody. So they jumped on that I was getting on the bottom half of the league. Things circle and people only say what they want to hear. What I said wasn’t false. The bottom half wasn’t beating many people. That was my only point.”
How many times have we written about the SEC’s formulation to success? Schedule four French pastries, win four games. Win at least two SEC games (usually against Kentucky and Vandy), get six wins in all, and play a bowl game in a nearby state so all your fans can easily drive to the game. There are no SEC bowl ties west of Texas if you’ll please note. Wonder why?
“You’re real fine stuff, and I can’t get enough!”
Stoops knew he’d be lambasted had the Sooners had lost the Sugar Bowl. And Saban’s comments try to offset the Sooners victory by depicting their apathy to playing in a “consolation” game as the reason for their demise. Yeah, right. It had nothing to do with playing a tough team from one of the other better conferences.
“After we won I didn’t have to hear anybody after that,” Stoops said. “That’s the bottom line. Everybody had their computers loaded and their microphones loaded, and they had to delete it. That was it. It felt good; it was positive. Because I know everybody was ready to jump on us, on me in particular, on what I had to say, if we went the other way. That all had to be deleted. There’s a little bit of validation in what I had to say. Fortunately it worked out in a positive way. I still believe in what I said.”
“There ain’t no stoppin’, you got my eyeballs poppin’!”
He summarized,”At the end of the day, we can play with anybody. And that was fairly evident. It wasn’t fluky.” He not only spoke the truth about the reality of the SEC, he coached his team to go out and prove it. We believe they’re not the only ones, and we believe he’s exposed the over-hype of the SEC. They definitely have some great teams, but they are not all on that level. It’s a sorry excuse to say we schedule lesser non-conference teams and only at home because we beat up so bad on each other every week. That’s bull, too. See how many points each one of them let up in their bowl games last season. So much for their dominating defensive stance as well. There’s a lot of hype here to show all the teams in this conference are so tough. They have their share, but others are riding on their coattails. They don’t show it on the field.
Stoop down, Bobby. Stoop down, Coach!
We’ll be rooting for him if his team makes it to the Football Four this year
(ESPN.com’s Travis Haney and Adam Rittenberg contributed to ESPN’s report. The J. Geils Band provided the lyrics about the time we started this great football adventure.)