When the final gun sounded on Oklahoma’s 41-13 humiliation at the hands of Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, I tried to write about the game itself.
About one of the worst defensive efforts in recent memory. About horrific offensive play-calling. About watching a team that slumped through the second half like they were on their way to a colonoscopy. About an ass-kicking typically reserved for Savannah State showing up for a paycheck game.
Maybe it reflects a lack of creativity or simple competency on my part, but I have run out of ways to write of the stunningly familiar disappointments of Bob Stoops’ tenure as Oklahoma’s head coach.
Stoops’ track record has rightfully put him among the best college football coaches of his generation. The consistency from year to year has produced a remarkable number of wins and hardware for his trophy case.
Yet, that same consistency applies to his failures as well. Longtime Sooner fans like myself have seen this same kind of collapse so often that the whys and wherefores of each particular occurrence blend together into a decade-plus montage of back-breaking interceptions, defensive backs burnt to a crisp and kick returners streaking past would-be OU tacklers towards the end zone.
When it comes to Oklahoma football, there’s still far more good to be had than bad. Plenty of fans would kill for their favorite team to have just one season of double-digit wins. OU now has three in a row.
That all starts with a coach who’s supremely confident in both himself and his methods. Stoops is stubborn to the point of arrogance and acutely dismissive of criticism. He has every right to be that way, because when you step back and look at his career as a whole, it’s hard to argue against him.
For all that good that I alluded to, though, there seems to be just a little more bad every year. Every year, it becomes increasingly clear that OU is drifting farther away from the high standards that Stoops himself has set for the program.
And even though the details of those disappointments may all get lumped together, that doesn’t stop the discontent from building.
So, while I don’t have the inclination or energy to come up with a fresh perspective on yet another bowl debacle, I do have enough in the tank to offer Stoops some unsolicited advice. It shouldn’t come as a shock.
Brace yourself for a brutal offseason.