Originally Published: Dec 29, 2009 11:9 PM CDT
Most of the hay is in the barn. The Oklahoma Sooners and Stanford Cardinal are done with the heavy lifting. The somehow sold-out Brut Sun Bowl is a one walk-through, a few buffet lines and meetings away.
About the only thing that could substantially change between now and kickoff is that the index finger on throwing hand of Stanford QB Andrew Luck might heal enough for him to see some action. Don’t see how if he indeed has not practiced much, if any. But Coach Jim Harbaugh is an audaciously different breed a cat. Don’t underestimate the plucky former Michigan and NFL QB. Anyone from Stanford who talks smack with Pete Carroll and then backs it up gets my attention.
The story in BrutBowl ’09 to many in the college football world centers around OU’s Bob Stoops. Namely, until he shows he can win bowl games again, he’ll get deserved regular-season respect, but not the respect of his upper-crust peers. Bowl wins and national titles are what puts and keeps you at the top.
Thus, Stoops and Company have been hammering home that any more bowl game losses are unacceptable. Many of us believe the key in this one will be whether OU can match the unquestioned intensity level of a hungry Stanford Cardinal. Will there be one or two teams with voracious appetites.
One can alibi a loss here or there in bowl games. But facts are facts and it’s impossible the bowl results that have followed OU’s last BCS Bowl win—a 34-14 thumping of Washington State in the Rose Bowl following the 2002 season.
We are featuring a story about those games on our Oklahoma Sports Bowl Special that runs thirty minutes before kickoff. The good news is that OU has been in the national title hunt more than anyone in the past nine years. The bad news? The results.
Robert Anthony Stoops is ready to change recent history. Not the remarkable history where he’s won six of seven Big 12 Championship games; where he’s won a nation’s-best 30-straight in Norman, and where he quickly became the most feared and respected college coach after leading his second team to BCS title in 2000.
Big Game Bob’s first four teams were 18-2 against ranked opponents but only 17-4 since. Worse, just 1-5 in bowl games. Coincidentally, the Sooners are 1-5 in bowl games without the then defensive coordinator Mike Stoops roaming the sidelines next to big brother. Then of course there are the three straight title game losses and the 5 straight BCS losses.
The 2003 Stoops team lost the national championship game to LSU 21-14 in their New Orleans home away from home with Heisman winning QB Jason White’s injured hand limiting the Sooner offense.
The next season, after jumping out 7-0, the undefeated, and mighty No. 1 Sooners were humiliated by Heisman winning QB Matt Leinhart and his USC Trojans, 55-19.
After a non-BCS bowl win over Oregon in the 2005 Holiday Bowl, it was the Fiesta Bowl overtime loss to Boise State?a game that nationally will live as a classic, will locally live in infamy.
The next season made it four straight BCS bowl losses?as West Virginia whipped the No. 3 ranked Sooners gaining 525 yards and winning 48-28.
Then last season, chance for redemption with Heisman winning QB Sam Bradford and the high-flying Sooners in Stoops’ third national title game in six years. But Tim Teebow’s Gators rallied in their backyard for a 24-14 win?a painful five straight BCS losses.
Stanford is a legitimate threat to any college football team. Just ask USC and Oregon. But OU’s team strength should contain Stanford’s strength (OU DL vs. Stanford run game). Plus, Stoops will have the attention of his guys, many of whom have a lot to play for: NFL eyes and NFL money.
PS?.don’t be surprised if Vince Young wins a Heisman Trophy.