The rest of the college football world will have to excuse Sooner fans if they're starting to grow more than a bit territorial when it comes to their football coach, Bob Stoops.
If it's not Notre Dame supposedly trying to poach OU's coach, it could be the Dallas Cowboys or the Florida Gators. All the interest in stealing Stoops has left Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler suggesting the Sooners' head man should express his undying love for All Things OU.
In his column on Tuesday, Sittler noted that OU's rivals can use the constant buzz around Stoops' job status to sway recruits away from Norman. For an OU fan base that's obsessed with five-star studs, the idea that all the job talk could be hurting recruiting certainly can't sit well. (Nevermind that Stoops has weathered the gossip annually throughout his career and continues to lure top-flight talent to OU.)
My advice to Sooner Nation: Embrace the chaos wrought by Stoops' never-ending ride on the coaching carousel.
To be sure, part of the reason Stoops' name comes up so often is the perception that Oklahoma isn't quite the marquee job that Florida or Texas may be. If Sooner fans could swallow their pride for a moment, they'd probably admit that OU is just a hair below the select few truly elite jobs, of which there may be four or five in all of college football. As a result, Stoops is probably considered to be more likely to jump ship than someone like Pete Carroll or Mack Brown.
Yet, ironically, the advantages OU lacks make its head coach so desireable.
Thanks to Stoops, the Sooners went from national punchline in the 1990s to at least being in the conversation for the top college football program of this decade. Joining OU in that discussion are schools like USC, Florida, Texas and LSU. And what sets OU apart from these other college football goliaths?
Gobs of money and a fertile in-state recruiting base–OU doesn't have either.
The fact of the matter is that Stoops' suitors chase him not because he's seen as attainable, but because he has proven in his 11 years in Norman that–in the truest sense of the word–he's as good of a "coach" as you will find in the college ranks. He's a middleweight trading punches in the heavyweight division.
Don't forget that Stoops' name continues to dominate the coaching hot stove league despite coming off possibly the most disappointing season in his tenure at OU.
As an OU fan, the thought of losing Stoops to his next challenge obviously concerns me. Yet, I'll be more concerned when all the potential poachers stop showing up on his doorstep.