Time again for Ask Hoover, the weekly blog where I answer your college football questions and whatever else you might have.
I solicited questions late last Saturday night, and I got so many replies, I haven’t had to ask for any more.
Busy week with Bedlam on the horizon, so let’s get straight to the question:
#AskHoover Can Dana come back to Stillwater? Dude has stones.
— Chris Tsotsoros (@ctsotsoros) November 4, 2018
You’re absolutely right, Dana Holgorsen’s decision to go for a game-winning 2-point conversion — made before the crucial touchdown drive even began — was as gutsy as it gets in big-time college football. It was, dare we say, Osbornesque. There’s so much at stake (more than anything for these guys, millions of dollars in salary and bonuses), they tend to wimp out and kick it and try to win in overtime. But Holgorsen showed no fear.
Now, will he ever return to Stillwater? The guess here is, if Mike Gundy ever does leave, Holgorsen would be among the first 2-3 guys Mike Holder (or Chad Weiberg, when the time comes) calls.
So would Holgorsen leave Morgantown for Stillwater. The guess here is no way. He’s got a great thing going at WVU, is already fourth on the school’s all-time wins list (at 57, he needs one more win to get to third and three wins to get to second behind Don Nehlan’s record of 149 wins).
By all accounts, Dana likes everything about West Virginia. If this team continues on its current path and can win its first Big 12 title this year, WVU will like everything about Holgorsen. At $3.6 million a year, Holgorsen’s salary currently ranks 32nd nationally, but he’s just over a million dollars out of the top 15, and winning the Big 12 this season (or, really, even finishing second) will net him a big boost.
That’s not quite Mike Gundy. Gundy makes right at $5 million, but winning the Big 12 this year would give Holgorsen the same number of conference championships as his former boss.
@johnehoover I’m normally very critical but I thought the OU D played better than the score reflects. Tonight was the first time I’ve seen DB’s consistently turn their heads and look for the pass.
— Parker Foster (@soonerspark) November 4, 2018
Not a question, but I’ll certainly allow it … because I agree with it. Last week’s 51-46 win at Texas Tech wasn’t nearly as bad as the scoreboard showed. Remember, Tech got two easy TDs off early Kyler Murray INTs. Now, there’s the little problem of Tech losing its starting QB, but you’re 100 percent right: Sooner DBs have been turning and looking for the football with far greater frequency than they did when Mike Stoops was the defensive coordinator. The only guess here is that maybe Ruffin McNeill actually has implemented that into the practice structure, or maybe holds his DBs coach accountable for actually teaching it. Who can say?
Who could step up and do better than Motley?
— $mith (@SelSmith84) November 4, 2018
I’m not sure OU has anyone that could do better than Parnell Motley. He’s got two fourth-quarter INT this season, and would have a third pick if the Big 12 refs didn’t assume pass interference on what was an obvious slip. Stick with Motley. He’ll continue to get better.
— Phil (@philbo2011) November 4, 2018
Rather than throw a bunch of names at you out of a hat, I’m gonna pick one.
DeRuyter, 55, is now the defensive coordinator at Cal, where his Bears defense ranks 19th in the country. DeRuyter had early success as head coach at Fresno State, but was fired midway through the 2016 season. (His former Fresno State defense currently ranks 14th nationally; last year they finished 15th.)
Cal’s defense ranked 125th the year before he got there, finished 95th in his first season, and this year have jumped 76 places so far. He’s reportedly set to make $507,000 next year. OU could easily entice him away from that.
DeRuyter’s Texas A&M defenses in 2010 and 2011 ranked in the 50s, but remember the Big 12 was in its offensive heyday then. Sooner fans probably wouldn’t mind a defense that finishes 50th as long as Lincoln Riley continues to direct the nation’s most dangerous offense, would they? That would have produced a trip to the national championship game last season, and maybe more.
OU wins out. ND, Bama, Clemson win out. Ohio St beats Michigan and wins Big 10.
Who gets the bid? #askhoover
— Scott Fogleman (@skf727) November 4, 2018
As it looks right now, that scenario would put Oklahoma in the College Football Playoff. OU has a “better loss” than Ohio State (3 points to 6-3 Texas versus 29 points to 5-4 Purdue).
The Buckeyes’ win over then-No. 15 TCU (now 4-5) looks hollow. A one-point win over then No. 9 Penn State (now 6-3) doesn’t exactly shine. Winning at No. 18 Michigan State would be a nice feather in the cap, but then Spartans would be 6-4, so is it really? The only game on the Buckeyes’ schedule that would really stand out is that season-ending win over Michigan.
Oklahoma’s non-conference schedule is hardly imposing, but Army has won five in a row and figures to finish 10-2. Florida Atlantic and UCLA are both bad, and the Sooners handled them appropriately. Where OU would get a boost is by beating a 1-loss and then a 2-loss West Virginia team in back-to-back weeks. The Sooners also could use more wins down the stretch out of Texas and Oklahoma State, though that probably won’t matter too much.
— Justin P. Wolf (@HEYJWOLF) November 4, 2018
Yeah, briefly touched on this above.
If Alan Bowman doesn’t suffer relapse symptoms of a collapsed lung on the goal-line hit from Curtis Bolton, then Texas Tech has a really good chance to knock the Sooners off in Lubbock last week. Bowman was 21-of-26 for 227 yards in the first half but didn’t return after halftime. He was remarkably efficient running Kliff Kingsbury’s system, and Tech’s big receivers weren’t having much problem against the OU secondary.
The Sooners got some things done early against backup Jett Duffey (Tech went 3-and-out on its first three drives of the second half), but Duffey eventually settled in and nearly led his team to a win. If not for Robert Barnes’ uh, Pick-2 (his interception and runback of a 2-point conversion, which produced a 4-point swing on the scoreboard) and Trey Sermon’s career night (206 yards, three touchdowns), OU might already be out of the College Football Playoff picture.
Does OU secondary do oskie drills during the week?
— Steve Dean (@deansteve11) November 4, 2018
Great question. Technically, I have no answer, since practices are closed. But the guess here is that yes, OU does interception drills in practice during the week
At least, they do them before games.
Hey, practice makes perfect.
When Tech downed a punt at OU’s 1 and then fell into the EZ, the player’s toe was absolutely on the line with his second step.
Is only one foot required? How does that work because he tried to fling the ball back and it carried into the end zone yet OU started at 1. #askhoover
— Scott Fogleman (@skf727) November 4, 2018
Great question. There are actually two factors at work here, and I thought the refs got one of them right and the other one wrong.
First, the Tech player successfully prevented the football from touching the goal line. His foot, or any other part of his body, can be in the end zone as long as the football never touches the plane of the goal line — kind of like a touchdown, where the ballcarrier just has to graze the imaginary boundary with possession of the football. In this case, had the ball crossed the goal line, it would have been a touchback.
Where I think the Big 12 refs got it wrong is the Tech player never gained control of the football. He just grasped it and desperately whipped it behind him. The ball spun skyward and then landed in the end zone. That’s the first time in history I’ve ever seen a ball touched in the field of play that went straight into the end zone and was not ruled a touchback.
OU should have gotten the ball on the 20. I don’t know if Lincoln Riley had the ability to challenge or call timeout, or if the replay crew actually deemed it down inside the 1-yard line, but the officials could have slowed things down and exercised a little common sense discretion there.
Will the Big 12 or NCAA do anything about the Robert Smith officiating crew? Calls and so many delays made me think they wanted camera time rather than what they were being paid to do #AskHoover
— J Burkholder (@StacyBurkholder) November 4, 2018
You mean Reggie Smith, and I agree, he and his crew often seem to enjoy the time they get on camera. It’s a running joke among Big 12 media that Reggie Smith-reffed games take longer because he gets way more camera time than the network talent.
Anyway, no, the Big 12 won’t take any disciplinary action. That crew was graded per usual, and both good calls and bad calls were duly noted in their weekly report.
That’s what former coordinator of officials Walt Anderson used to do, anyway. We can only presume the new guy, Greg Burks, does the same thing.
Can we safely assume that with LSU losing, teams 4-7 will all move up a spot, including OU? Or will the committee use this game as an excuse to keep them at 7 or even drop them a spot
— Brandon Crawford (@Brandon090605) November 4, 2018
This tweet was sent before the CFP rankings came out this week, so you sort of nailed it. While OU moved up to 6, LSU stayed in the top 7 because, well, golly, they lost to The Beast That Ate Tuscaloosa. At home. By four touchdowns. But hey, that’s a top 7 ballclub, no?
Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt posted a graphic this week that showed several SEC schools (Kentucky, Florida, LSU) are ranked significantly higher by the CFP than by statistical metrics like ESPN’s FPI and Jeff Sagarin. Same with several ACC teams. That gives the impression that the CFP committee is creating its own narrative by ranking certain teams where no one else has them.
— Joel Klatt (@joelklatt) November 7, 2018
And perception-wise, that’s a bad look for the CFP.
Last one, on the Brown catch where it appeared that he took several steps and then dropped the ball, fell on the “fumble,” and the play was called incomplete.
How does Lincoln not have that play reviewed? Was that reviewable?
— Scott Fogleman (@skf727) November 4, 2018
Another great question, and one I considered during the game. Wish I’d asked Riley about it on Monday. That play deserved at least a quick review. I thought Brown caught it. He took two steps and made a motion to tuck the football away when it slipped out of his hands, and then had the presence of mind to jump on it like it was a fumble. It was a reviewable play, and technically speaking, all plays are reviewed since the replay ref has a constant stream going in the replay booth and also commands what he/she see and when they see it and can stop the game to look at additional angles, if necessary.
We’ll have to ask about it next Monday.
What is your opinion on the upside Hook Em sign flagged for a penalty? Wouldn’t the reverse also be unsportsman like conduct as well? Where do we draw the line between fandom, rivalry, common sense and just plain fun?
— The Ghost of Mike Stoops (@GhostMikeStoops) November 4, 2018
This whole thing has become silly. Mack Brown said at some point toward the end of his career that downward horns denigrated his team and his program and showed up his players, and so it’s been trending this way for a few years now. If I remember right, OU players have been flagged for it in the Red River Rivalry.
To answer your question, no, the horns up isn’t taunting and shouldn’t be, unless it’s done right in a player’s face. Similarly, downward horns shouldn’t be considered taunting unless it’s standing over a player or in a player’s face, or maybe if an offending player runs up to the front-row fans and throws them down. Then I could see it.
Game officials need to be more aware and just use common sense.
How many points does Tech score tonight if Mike Stoops was still employed?JK, kinda.
— ATX-03-350 (@brianjstubbs) November 4, 2018
We addressed this quite a bit in a previous question.
But to answer yours, I’d say the Red Raiders would have scored 53 points. Their third possession of the second half began with a running play, and it only gained 2 yards. After a Jett Duffey run for 5 yards, it looked like Ruffin McNeill sent pressure on third-and-3. I say with Stoops calling the defense, Tech would have thrown on first down, Stoops probably wouldn’t have blitzed on third down, and the drive probably wouldn’t have stalled. That’s an extra TD for Tech.
Then the Sooners would have had 65 seconds to score on their final drive, and probably would have won 54-52.
@johnehoover @Big12Conference Will you help me become a BigXII ref?!? I am confident in my ability to maintain the standard set by all the other BigXII crews and potentially ruin and insert myself into each and every game I am a part of. #AskHoover #HookADudeUp
— Rob Owen (@lionsftw) November 4, 2018
Oh come on.
Should Army end the year 10-2, could you argue the Black Knights as the best Big 12 noncon win? #askhoover
— Andrew W (@AndyCSooner) November 3, 2018
Addressed in an answer above, and the answer is absolutely, unequivocally yes. A seven-point OT win over a 10-2 Army squad absolutely trumps a 49-point win over FAU and a 28-point win over UCLA. Those teams have not gotten any better since returning home from Norman. The Black Knights have won five in a row and should finish with eight straight wins. Army’s only two losses will be to Duke, who’s currently 6-3 and will end up with eight wins.
Curious about the interpretation of the personal foul penalties called against West Virginia for the upside down Horns sign.That appears to be a very loose interpretation of the rules.If you’re going to call that a personal foul, don’t you also have to collect for the horns up?
— SteveCole1 (@SteveCole1) November 4, 2018
Please see the question above. It’s a hot-button topic, for sure.
Does the @Big12Conference care (perception, public opinion, or fact) whether or not their “best” ref crews absolutely suck? Definitely appeared (intentional or not) they were doing their best to influence the important games with bogus penalties. #AskHoover
— Marty J. Riley (@martyriley) November 4, 2018
I thought both the OU-Tech and the WVU-Texas game were poorly officiated. Too many missed calls, and yet too many “over-officious” calls. Both Dana Holgorsen and Lincoln Riley submitted their usual paperwork to the league office formally lodging complaints about certain calls (that’s routine after every game and is intended to help improve the officiating overall), and the guess here is that both coaches rank out of ink.
And I do think the Big 12 cares, but not to the extent that anyone will be reprimanded for it — even though the bad calls repeatedly happened to the conference’s top two playoff contenders. Keep screwing up with bad calls against those guys and you’ll find your league out of the playoff picture real quick.
Should mike gundy be on the hot seat? Yes I remember before he got here…yes I know it’s only a few pitiful games. But.. I don’t see any effort to change any of the fixable issues.. his arrogance is tolerable when he’s winning.. not so much when losing to lesser teams
— Scotty Womack (@scottywomack71) November 4, 2018
Wow, you make some very salient points. That’s not always common for a passionate fan.
The short answer is no, Mike Gundy won’t be on the hot seat any time soon. He just signed an extension and got a big, fat raise. Again. So clearly, his bosses are pleased.
No doubt, they’re a little less pleased in the midst of a 5-4 season in which Gundy has shown apathy after losses and has been uninterested in seeing what he has at quarterback behind Taylor Cornelius.
Consider for a minute that both Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders redshirt this year (they will), and Dru Brown wins the QB job next year. Arguably Mike Gundy’s biggest quarterback recruit since Bobby Reid would redshirt one season, be a backup for one season, and then play one season before either trying out the NFL or joining the ranks of grad transfers — or maybe he just gets mad over not playing for two years and just plain transfers. That’s a real scenario in today’s world of college football quarterbacks.
Spencer Sanders was a fantastic prospect. If Gundy screws this up and he leaves while his teams are losing 4-6 games over the next two years, then yes, Gundy will be on the hot seat.
— Wally Schooley (@SchooleyWally) November 8, 2018
Let’s all remember, UCF is 2 ½ years removed from going 0-12. Knights fans have no intention of shutting up as long as they keep winning. Which, in your scenario, they most certainly would not.
@johnehoover My question for this week is this. What is it about Oklahoma that causes every team that plays against us to play like it’s a rivalry game? Tougher, more attitude and bigger crowds. Is it just the hype behind the name “Oklahoma”?
— 6-3 😑 in FantasyFB (@KirtTheMan) November 8, 2018
That’s the price you pay when you’re a college football blueblood. You get everyone’s best shot. Really, consider the national narrative if you’re Kansas State and you beat Oklahoma State, or Texas Tech. Now, consider the national narrative if you beat Oklahoma, or Texas. Of course you’re going to be motivated to peak against the big, bad bullies on the block.
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “The Franchise Drive” every weeknight from 6-8 on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and appears throughout the day on other shows on The Franchise. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Hoover also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.