Bob Stoops retired from his job as the head coach of Oklahoma on June 7, 2017 with immediate effect. Stoops spent a two-year stint in the SEC as the assistant head coach of Florida between 1996 and 1998, yet his retirement from the game will be felt more in the conference than most fans currently realize. Here are three reasons why Stoops retiring is bad for the SEC:
The SEC loses its main antagonist
Every story needs a villain and, for better or worse, over the last decade or so one of the primary villains towards the SEC has been Bob Stoops. This isn’t the same kind of villainy that Auburn fans feel towards Nick Saban. It really cannot be as the SEC schools don’t face Oklahoma on a regular basis. Stoops though was the sort of villain that united ‘Bama and Auburn fans (and the rest of the conference) even if only for a short while.
Stoops was that vocal leader who would stick it to the SEC every chance he got. He would always seem to know the correct buttons to press against a SEC fan base to rile them up before a game. This 2013 quote shows how Stoops was the Lex Luther to the SEC’s Superman:
“So they’ve had the best team in college football, they haven’t had the whole conference,” Stoops said in a spring 2013 press conference. “Because, again, half of ‘em haven’t done much at all. I’m just asking you. You tell me. So you’re listening to a lot of propaganda that gets fed out to you. Again, you can look at the top two, three, four, five, siex teams, and you can look at the bottom six, seven, eight, whatever they are. How well are they doing?”
Stoops could have been a SEC guy (soon?)
Oklahoma to the SEC is going to happen. We have written about this before and it seems that the general consensus is that when the next round of realignment occurs, the Sooners will be headed to play the likes of LSU and Arkansas on a yearly basis.
Would there have been a better story that Stoops joining the conference he spent so much time poking like a bear?
Unfortunately now this is not going to happen. While Lincoln Riley may be a wonderful head coach, he just doesn’t have the history with the league that Stoops does. Oklahoma will still be an SEC team eventually, but those press conference sparring matchups that would have set the SEC Media Days a light are now nothing but a dream.
Lincoln Riley and Tom Herman can make the Big 12 a national power again
Lincoln Riley is not the only young coach with a massive future taking control of a national powerhouse in the Big 12 next season. Riley will be joined by Tom Herman – the guy who made Houston (of all teams) a national name over the last couple of seasons – who has been handed the reins to the Texas Longhorns job.
When the Big 12 mattered at a national level (the decade of the 2000s) it was because Stoops at Oklahoma and Mack Brown at Texas were pushing each other to be better. The Red River Rivalry was the hottest ticket in the country as the two fought over recruits and wins like a couple of outlaws in the Old West.
There is a large portion of the media that thinks Riley and Herman can be the Stoops/Brown feud of the modern era. Texas and Oklahoma have by far the highest ceilings of all the Big 12 teams. They are in loaded recruiting areas and have millions of dollars to spend on football. If Herman and Riley can revitalize their teams, then the whole conference will come with them.
That is a worry for the SEC.