Preview 2017: Now What For Oklahoma After Bob Stoops?
While Bob Stoops might not have been the best college football coach going, he wasn’t far off. Now OU has to move on without him.
Really, how do you replace a legendary head coach as good as Bob Stoops?
New Sooner head man Lincoln Riley will have to give it a try.
Talk about, rate, and rank college football coaches in any sort of discussion, and everyone instantly kneels at the altar of Nick Saban – as if you’ll be struck down by lightening by not automatically pointing out that he and his “Process” might be the greatest of all-time.
And, of course, that’s instantly followed up by mentioning that Urban Meyer is second on the current list, but could and should quickly move up to No. 1A if he pulls out another national title this season.
Dabo Swinney is our reigning national champion head coach, and Jim Harbaugh is the favorite of the click-baiters of the sports media world, but when it comes to who’s the No. 3 man on the list, it’s easy.
For all the faults, all of the recent controversy around Joe Mixon, and for all the years without a national title, on resume, Bob Stoops left after putting together one of the greatest careers of all-time.
Before leaving, Stoops wasn’t just on the Mount Rushmore of college football coaches currently rolling – sorry, I know the gimmick’s been done to death – there’s no question that he’s instantly one of the first three getting carved into the rock, and there isn’t even another option.
Meyer has three national titles, five conference championships, and 165 wins overall going back to his first year at Bowling Green in 2001.
Saban had the two-year mid-career crisis with the Miami Dolphins in between SEC gigs, but after taking over LSU in 2000, he has 167 college football wins, five national titles, and seven conference championships.
Stoops? Since 2000, yeah, he has just the one national championship, but he beats the other two guys with 183 wins and an absolutely ridiculous ten conference titles.
What counts as hitting the skids for OU during this current run? Stoops has three eight-win seasons after going 7-5 when taking over in 1999 – and he followed up each of those seasons with a Big 12 title.
Even with the Hall of Fame resume, and even though it’s just about impossible to accomplish what he has for such a long period of time, he was – to a point – taken for granted, mainly because 1) the Big 12 isn’t the SEC or Big Ten and 2) the big losses were on the biggest stages.
Now it’s up to former offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley to keep it all going, because if Stoops had stayed, Year 19 was about to be every bit as strong and impressive as most of the previous 18.
The high-powered offense loses the star running backs, along with Biletnikoff winner Dede Westbrook, and it’s still going to be just fine with Baker Mayfield back – it only seems like he started his Sooner career handing off to Marcus Dupree – working behind one of the best offensive lines in college football.
The defense hasn’t been dominant over the last two seasons – it hasn’t had to be – but it should be stronger this year after improving late in 2016. If there’s more of a pass rush, and the line play is solid, the Sooners should be just good enough to hold serve so the offense can do what the OU offense does to win games.
Coaching change, schmoaching change. Stoops set this all up and put the machine in motion.Riley is inheriting a College Football Playoff/Big 12 Champion caliber team that every coach would dream of taking over.
Even without Stoops, this is the best team in the Big 12 coming into the season, and it’s once again going to be on the short list of teams with a realistic shot at the College Football Playoff.
Let’s see what you can do, Lincoln.