To quote Jerry Ramsey, “Bob Stoops doesn’t win bowl games.” That’s not entirely true; the facts are, that in 17 seasons at Oklahoma, Stoops has won eight bowl games. He’s lost nine, but eight wins doesn’t suck. More importantly, why should we care what record Stoops or any coach for that matter record has in bowl games?
Bowl games have become meaningless exhibitions put on so ESPN can fill time while Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon take the holidays off. Just look in the stands at these games – save for the New Year’s Six and the College Football playoff game you’ll see a lot of empty seats.
Now you can bet that if the Sooners beat Auburn on Monday, I’ll be the first to roll around in confetti on the Super Dome field. If OU loses, I’ll be one of the first to overreact on the Franchise post game show.
In the “big picture” it’s the extra practice that Oklahoma got to prep for the Tigers that is the real benefit. A chance to get young guys some reps and the opportunity to give the coaching staff an idea of what they have going into spring is the main reason a lot of these games are still hanging around. People assume the bowl money is a draw, but in some cases, a trip could cost a school more in travel than what it will make for playing in the bowl game.
When it comes to Stoops most egregious let-downs in the postseason, four in particular deserve our ire: that Sugar Bowl loss to LSU, the two Orange Bowl trouncings at the hands of USC and Clemson, and most painful, the BCS championship that turned into a coronation for Tim Tebow and Urban Myer. Those games kept Oklahoma from finishing the season ranked #1. Oh, sure, I still cuss every time I see the Statue of Liberty and being embarrassed by West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl was no fun, but in the end, what did those losses cost OU?
The answer- not a darn thing. Ask anyone who covers college football; Bob Stoops, even with only one National Championship in five tries, is still one of the most respected coaches in the sport. The 2014 Sugar Bowl win over Nick Saban helped Oklahoma land last minute recruits for that class, but not one recruit walked away after those bowl losses. And regardless of the outcome of this Sugar Bowl, the Sooners best recruiting in quite some time will be this year. In February Stoops will have a Top 10 class. That class was built off a few coaching changes and the success of the past season (even without advancing to the Championship game).
Regardless, it never hurts to have the trophies front and center. If you’re spending money to make the trip to New Orleans, then a win over Auburn will be a great way to cap off the season and a lot of fun to talk about during the offseason. A loss in the Sugar Bowl may sting, but, no matter what happens on Monday, when September 2nd rolls around we’ll all be just as fired up when the UTEP Miners come calling.