Call it Frog-Gate: It will have no, zero, nada impact on which team wins the OU-TCU game Saturday night in Norman. Of course, I'm speaking of the brouhaha that alleges the OU staff accused TCU of spying at preseason scrimmages leading up to TCU's stunning TCU upset of the 2005 Sooners.
Indeed there were whispers about spying from the OU camp after that game that have heated up with the game between the unbeatens around the corner. But I personally never heard it from a coach. Could it have originated from a coach? Sure. While some critics label Stoops a whiner, many who know him best believe his "no excuses" trademark best describes him.
Stoops was ready to address the situation today. So were others including offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, who said the 17-10 score was not indicative of how the game was really played. Wilson said, "they kicked our butt...probably should have been more like 32-10 than what it was." When asked about it today Stoops stated adamantly, ""I don't know where that would come from. That doesn't come from us."
Stoops charged ahead, "I can't help what people speculate or their opinions. I don't have anything to do with that. But I'm used to that. There's a lot that's said about us or me that aren't accurate or aren't true....In the end, I've made it very clear that when they beat us here, they out-toughed us, out-physicaled us, coached a lot better because they had their players a whole lot more prepared than we did."
TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson has reason to be sensitive. His team overwhelmed the mighty Sooners-an overrated team (No. 9 before playing a game but mired in a quarterback controversy and not good enough anyway to be a Top 10 team) that would go on to lose a Stoops-worst four games.
Put yourself in Patterson's place. Don't take away a crown jewel from the mantel of the former Fran assistant and eight-year head coach. This is a guy who is a consummate tough guy taskmaster whose teams have very effectively played with that chip-on-the-shoulder edge that is commonplace where defensive coordinators are head coaches-Stoops included.
The Frog-Gate scenario obviously is on the mind of Patterson and his staff. Reporters at today's Stoops weekly newser discussed the fact that Patterson raised the issue--"unsolicited"-of the cheating allegations in his postgame news conference following TCU's win over Stanford. Patterson told the DMN that he wanted to believe that those allegations were not coming from Stoops.
But at the end of the day, Frog-Gate will not give one team an edge over the other. What's a team going to do? Give 110 percent? 101 percent? Only football coaches and Yogi buy into that kind of math.
I won't buy into Frog-Gate being a factor even if TCU wins and if that's all the players talk about to the press. Two things should happen if TCU makes it three straight in Norman. One, Patterson should be hired at Notre Dame. Secondly, Stoops should put his troops through midnight madness to prep for the Big 8 opener in Waco.
OU will win. They are on a mission and seem to be going about business better than any Stoops team since his 2000 national championship team.
But at this point laying the 17 and a half is not a consideration against a TCU team that is tough as nails, sound, and one that will trot onto Bennie Owen Field with a Patterson-fed chip-on-the white and purple shoulder.
Finally........Must read: The Mysterious Montague, A True Tale of Hollywood, Golf and Armed Robbery, by Leigh Montville, former writer for The Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated.