Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

2008 Oklahoma Season Preview: Quit Complaining

This marks the first installment in Homerism's preview of the 2008 Oklahoma season. During the next week, I'll take a unit-by-unit look at the 2008 edition of the Sooners. Before we start, though, let's get one thing straight.

The supposed questions about the state of the Sooners after their recent bowl struggles might make for a compelling preseason story, but they're a joke.
All the Sooners have done since head coach Bob Stoops took over in 1999 is:
  • Win a national championship;
  • Appear in three national championship games;
  • Play in a total of six BCS games;
  • Capture five Big XII titles; and
  • Win 82 percent of their games, easily one of the best rates in the country.

All of that doesn't even begin to address the number of individual accolades that Stoops' players have garnered. On top of everything, following years of mediocrity since the resignation of Barry Switzer in the mid-'80s, including the disastrous reign of couldn't-possibly-be-more-incompetent John Blake, the turnaround Stoops engineered at OU has to go down as one of the more remarkable feats in college football history. While coaches like Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer have received similar praise for their reclamation work, none inherited a situation nearly as dire as Stoops.

Sure, OU's implosion in the 2005 Orange Bowl versus USC--possibly the best team in the history of college football--was undoubtedly a disappointment of monumental proportions. But the other so called "flops" versus inspired Boise St. and West Virginia squads? Eh, not so much.

Were the Sooners unfocused and uninspired in their last two Fiesta Bowl appearances? Absolutely. It could be argued that the Mountaineers and Broncos were stronger opponents than they were given credit for, but there's no doubt that OU's mindset heading into the games played a major role in both losses.

Cue indignant Sooner fans complaining about players who "don't appreciate the honor of wearing the OU jersey." That's followed by rhapsodic paeans about the golden Wilkinson era, when players understood "the meaning of Oklahoma football."
I'd like to suggest an alternative hypothesis. Bowl games--excluding the national championship, obviously--are hybrids of tedious exhibitions and something somewhat meaningful. When you factor in everything else teams have going on during bowl season, it shouldn't be a shock that players have about as much interest in the games as an Oklahoman has in the Democratic National Convention.
My point: Wins and losses in bowls provide a horrible measuring stick for a team's success, so keep your shirt on.
(Coming Thursday: Offensive Line)