John Hoover

Ask Hoover: Stoops to FSU (and the replies!), OU’s playoff possibilities, respect for the Big 12, turnover troubles and Spencer Rattler

Ask Hoover: Stoops to FSU (and the replies!), OU’s playoff possibilities, respect for the Big 12, turnover troubles and Spencer Rattler

Bob Stoops finishes his career as Oklahoma’s football coach with a record of 190-48. (SUE OGROCKI/AP)

Time again for Ask Hoover, my weekly college football Twitter mailbag. As you’ll see below, you can ask me anything — college football or otherwise.

Most of this week’s replies were in response to not coming up with an idea outlandish enough to match Bob Stoops taking the Florida State job. He hasn’t yet — said he’s not a candidate — so I guess I won’t have to. But just like Twitter usually does, they had fun with the replies.

The Sooners need to get back on the winning track after their loss two weeks ago at Kansas State. Oklahoma had a week to stew over the loss, so maybe Lincoln Riley cooked up some good ideas for how to finish the season strong.

He’ll need just that. OU debuted in the playoff rankings this week at No. 9. So to get into the top four, the Sooners will need to move up one spot each week for the next five weeks. Pretty easy math. Like Lincoln Riley says, with apologies to Al Davis, “Just win, baby.”

OSU has the week off after staging the Chuba Hubbard Track and Field Invitational last week against TCU. Hubbard had a 92-yard run, a 62-yard run, won the 110-meter hurdles, the long jump the 100 and the 200 on his way to yet another 200-yard game — the first ever allowed by a Gary Patterson defense.

And Tulsa hosts UCF on Friday. These are two programs headed in opposite directions: TU is 2-7, UCF is 7-2. TU has been flirting with victory throughout this 5-game losing streak, but this one has the potential to get ugly.

If you want to get into the blog next week, follow me on Twitter (@johnehoover). If you want OU press conference videos, interviews and more, just subscribe to my YouTube channel (John Hoover). And don’t forget to listen to my two OU podcasts: “Inside OU” on The Franchise Podcast Network, and “Locked On Sooners” on the Locked On Podcast Network.

Let’s get to the questions.


Well, he’s right. Lincoln Riley’s backfield should be plenty fresh down the stretch. Combined, Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks only have 101 carries between them. Jalen Hurts has 103. Rhamondre Stevenson, T.J. Pledger and Marcus Major have combined for 56.


I would trust Lincoln Riley as well. He knows his team better than Twitter does, and he knows most game situations better than 129 other Division I coaches. But no coach is infallible. Lincoln has acknowledged he should have gotten the football more to Sermon and Brooks.


To be clear, I think we’re talking about the videos I shot two years ago of Lincoln Riley’s gameday bodyguard, Brian Orr. That was before the 2017 Iowa State game, so I reposted them on social media again this week for your viewing pleasure. I took a ride-along on his Friday work shift, and then that Saturday morning before the game, I rode with Capt. Orr into the stadium as part of the Sooners’ police escort. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. If you want to watch (two videos, about six minutes total), there’s a link above.


Yes, my brain.

Bob Stoops ain’t going to Florida State. If he does, I might do one of the following…


I think I’ll wear a T-Rex costume to the next presser. Or every presser, actually. Whether Bob goes to Tallahassee or not.

Thanks for the idea to Mason Fine.


Bob wouldn’t want that. Neither would I.

Now, I would consider getting a tattoo of Bob’s dog on my lower back. That’d be cool.


Now this is an idea. If Bob Stoops doesn’t take the Florida State job, or if he does, or whatever. Somebody hook me up with a flaming spear. I’ll make sure there are cameras and the YouTube will be rolling.


Count me in. I played the triangle in 3rd grade. It’s gonna be sick.


Winner! Come on Bob, FSU is perfect for you! The natties will flow!


Twitter does seem to have a fascination with tramp stamps, although a cool one of the classic Nessie emerging from the depths might work.


Wow. That’s a lot to process. One on each ankle, right?


You really want me dead, don’t you?


This seems kind of appropriate. I’ll steer the ponies right up to the introductory press conference.


Whoa. That’s a little intimate for my liking. Maybe something in a lightning bolt or a snowman?


This just took a really weird turn. (Although I do have a model of Il Duomo in Puzz 3D in my office.)


This is officially the worst idea of them all. I expect more from you, Twitter.


I could get behind this, but only if Jimmie does.


I’ve been needing a haircut. I’ll ask if the woman who cuts my hair can work that out.


Not as bad as Minnesota. Baylor is 8-0 and is ranked No. 12. The Gophers are also 8-0 and ranked No. 17. Who you play in non-conference matters. Also, the toughest part of Baylor’s schedule is coming up. If they survive this finishing stretch at 13-0 (I don’t think they will), they’ll be in the playoff picture or darn close to it, depending on who else loses.

But you’re right, OU beating an 11-2 Baylor twice is merely a nice feather in the Sooners’ cap, and not an otherworldly feat. But blame the Baylor AD who scheduled Stephen F. Austin, UTSA and Rice.


Sure. Five-Thirty-Eight’s math is as good as anyone’s. I do think there will be enough losses coming up — LSU/Alabama, Ohio State/Penn State, Utah/Oregon, Georgia — that an OU team that finishes 12-1 with a much better defense has significant playoff merit. But the Sooners might need style points in their finishing run to impress the committee.


Absolutely not. I talked about that on my Thursday “Locked On Sooners” podcast. Neville Gallimore hasn’t had nearly the impact the last two games he did in the first six. As far as disruptive plays, Kenneth Murray and LaRon Stokes were good against West Virginia, and Q Overton had maybe his best game ever against Kansas State.

But there’s no doubt, the front seven hasn’t been nearly as explosive the last two games, and particularly against the Wildcats.

If they get busy and make plays against Iowa State, OU could win going away.


Back to what they were doing 3-4 years ago? Absolutely.


This is a very hard question to answer.

Would the playoff committee value OU avenging its only loss against Kansas State? Because if the Sooners did that, the Wildcats would then have three losses.

Or would the playoff committee value OU beating an undefeated and then a one-loss Baylor team? Because if they did that, Baylor would suddenly look like the paper tiger so many people think they are.

What about Texas? At 3-2, the Longhorns could beat K-State, Baylor, Iowa State and Texas Tech and finish 7-2 and make the Big 12 title game. That wouldn’t do much for the analytics, and hey, Texas isn’t even ranked currently, but it would be a win over the Big Brand of Texas as well as a sweep of your biggest rival, even though that rival would be 9-4 overall going into bowl season.

Given that data, I’d say beating Baylor twice would provide the best optics.


Not sure what you mean by “value” but the style in which OU lost to Kansas State didn’t go unnoticed by the committee. Chairman Rob Mullens said this week that the committee watched the game and was aware that K-State had “game control” and that OU did come back to make it close and almost had a chance to win.

I’ll assume by “value” you mean to a highly ranked team.

I’m pretty sure the committee has shown its cards when it comes to how it views a “quality loss.” And right now, losing on the road to the No. 16 team in the rankings isn’t all that terrible a thing.

So in this instance, Oklahoma seems to have filled out both lines.


The forecast for Saturday in Norman is sunny and clear with a high of 69. Should be nice.

To answer your question, that loss to Iowa State two years ago got a lot of these players’ attention. Many of them played in that game. Now, coming off a loss to K-State and an open date to think about it, I’m guessing the Sooners come out with a renewed focus.


Yeah, I sensed that too. I sure didn’t expect Oklahoma State to be in the Top 25. The Cowboys are the only three-loss team in the rankings. That said, there are three one-loss teams ahead of Oklahoma, six teams with at least one loss ahead of undefeated Baylor, and five two-loss teams ahead of K-State.

So that respect, while there, does seem tempered.


With Jalen Hurts as a strong Heisman contender, it would be foolish to throw Spencer Rattler into a close game like Kansas State. He could have played late against West Virginia, but as I wrote last week, he’s getting way more quality looks against the Oklahoma defense every day in practice than he would be in garbage time. That whole iron-in-the-forge thing doesn’t really happen in blowouts. That, and he’s really good in practice and makes the defense better.

Spencer Rattler is the future, for sure, but the future hasn’t arrived just yet.


I wonder if some get paid by the word. My favorite was the diving announcer during the Olympics who kept telling us, “She stuck that one in the water!”

No kidding.


Formerly co-host of “Further Review” and “The Franchise Drive,” columnist John E. Hoover is a college football insider on The Franchise in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. 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 co-hosts The Franchise “Inside OU” Podcast with Brady Trantham and Rufus Alexander, and the Locked oN Sooners podcast on the Locked oN Podcast Network. He also covers the Big 12 for Sporting News and Lindy’s magazine and is a feature writer for Sooner Spectator magazine. Visit his YouTube channel at, and his personal page at



John Hoover

John Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he was co-host of "Further Review" and "The Franchise Drive." Now he's The Franchise college football insider: Oklahoma's state Heisman rep, a voter in the FWAA Super 16 poll, an FWAA media access liaison, and a Big 12 writer at Sporting News and Lindy's preseason magazine. In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist and won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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