The BCS national championship is finally decided, with not that many people surprised that Florida defeated Oklahoma. They’re only surprised that the Gators had to score only 24 points to do it. But few are surprised because they’re used to Oklahoma, and coach Bob Stoops, losing in a big BCS game. With five straight BCS losses, and three straight BCS title game losses, Bob Stoops is now in a position previously thought unimaginable at Oklahoma — the hot seat.
Stoops came to Oklahoma at a time where the Sooners were no longer annual national powers. Oklahoma had struggled to be contenders ever since the Barry Switzer era ended, but Stoops put an end to that. With a national championship in 2000, and many wins over Texas, Stoops became “Big Game Bob” and a folk hero in Norman.
But now, if Stoops is called “Big Game Bob” it is in a sarcastic tone. The trend began in 2003, when the Sooners looked unbeatable until a terrible loss in the Big 12 conference title game to Kansas State. Oklahoma still got to the national championship game, then lost to LSU.
Stoops took another hit when Oklahoma went back to the BCS championship the next year with an unbeaten Sooner team – who then got slaughtered by USC. Two straight BCS championship game losses were a blow to Stoops, but not as big a blow as the famed loss to Boise State in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl.
Oklahoma got even lower credibility by getting hammered in the next year’s Fiesta Bowl to West Virginia, which was just coming off the loss of coach Rich Rodriguez. Stoops was now getting a reputation of coming up small in big games, which got worse yet again when the Sooners lost to Texas last October.
Oklahoma had been bashed for the last month for getting into the BCS title game despite their loss to Texas. The performance of the Sooners and Stoops last night did little to discredit that.
The Sooners’ seemingly unstoppable offense was shut down by the Gators, which Stoops will undoubtly get some blame for. Oklahoma did stop Florida’s own seemingly unstoppable offense most of the game – just not when it really counted.
The Sooners are now an afterthought in the 2008-09 college football season, as Florida, Texas, USC and Utah will be linked together as part of this year’s BCS debate. Stoops will not be so lucky, as debates over his performance grow to even bigger heights.
Now the whispers are even beginning that Stoops’ job could be in danger soon. Stoops is the man that brought Oklahoma football back, and gave them a national championship and four BCS title shots in nine years. Losing those last three shots, and the last five BCS bowls in general, is overshadowing that fact today.
New York Times- “For Stoops, Another Frustrating Loss” www.nytimes.com/2009/01/09/sports/ncaafootball/09stoopsweb.html
New York Daily News- “Oklahoma fans grow impatient waiting for Bob Stoops to win title” www.nydailynews.com/sports/college/2009/01/07/2009-01-07_oklahoma_fans_grow_impatient_waiting_for.html