Bob Stoops: The Method Behind His SEC Madness
By Jim Weber
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops has spent the last year-and-a-half on the warpath against the Southeastern Conference for seemingly no other reason than sheer spite.
But there is a method to Stoops’ madness and it all revolves around the inaugural college football playoff this year. More specifically, Stoops has been publicly lobbying over the last 18 months to avoid getting snubbed by the playoff committee for a second SEC team.
Imagine this scenario: Florida State, Ohio State and an SEC team (most likely Alabama) all go undefeated, leaving the fourth and final playoff spot to be decided among a bunch of one-loss teams. In the past, the one-loss team from the mighty SEC would have the inside track (see: 2011 Alabama) while the Big 12 team would face the biggest uphill battle because it lacks a conference championship game.
That’s why Stoops has tirelessly trolled the SEC by questioning the conference’s overall quality, its defenses and Alabama’s Sugar Bowl performance vs. OU — among other jabs — while simultaneously saying the Big 12 doesn’t get nearly enough respect.
So while Alabama and head coach Nick Saban viewed last season’s Sugar Bowl as a “consolation game,” Stoops wisely viewed it as the first step to the 2014 playoff before OU handled the Crimson Tide, 45-31.
Because while results from last year shouldn’t be considered in the playoff selection criteria, Stoops knows that it’s only human nature for the selection committee to question putting a second SEC team in the playoff over a one-loss Oklahoma team after the Sooners dismantled Alabama in January. Meanwhile, all those points Stoops has made about the SEC being overrated dance in the heads of the committee members.
And this trolling won’t just benefit the Oklahoma and Big 12 in 2014, as the decision about whether to include two SEC teams in the college football playoff will likely be an annual issue until the playoff expands to eight teams — whenever that is.
Yes, Oklahoma has a good shot to go undefeated as well, but it’s always smart to have a back-up plan.
And Stoops is clearly all-in on the 2014 season. After all, the Sooners’ program had been in decline recently until last season and it feels like an eternity ago since Oklahoma’s 2000 national title in Stoops’ second year in Norman. Stoops knows the current talent level at OU is the best it’s been in years and has further pushed all his chips to the center of the table with the questionable decision to accept troubled transfer and ex-Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham with the hopes DGB gets a waiver to play this season and solidifies one of OU’s only weaknesses.
Sure, Stoops has come off as a sourpuss during all this and received plenty of backlash in SEC country for constantly running his mouth. But if this all pays off in December by the selection committee picking a one-loss Oklahoma team over a second SEC team, Stoops will go from a curmudgeon to a genius.