Bob Stoops Still Stands Tallest Among Big 12 Football Coaches


Bob Stoops certainly has his critics. There was a time not that long ago when the OU head coach had the glowing reputation of “Big Game Bob,” an acclaimed acknowledgement of his nearly unbeatable record in high-stakes, high visibility games.

Stoops has become more mortal in that respect in recent years, and there are some fans who question whether or not the all-time winningest coach in the Sooners’ storied gridiron history has lost his edge and his thirst for winning.

If you are one of those who believe that Stoops isn’t as hungry to win a championship – national, Big 12 or otherwise – as he once was, I’m afraid you are one of those who runs for cover the minute you feel a rain drop or concede defeat the moment you fall behind.

Bob Stoops is as hungry to beat all comers as ever, in fact maybe more so, given that it has seemingly become tougher every year – and certainly so the last several seasons.

Although OU’s headmaster of football is not one to unnecessarily run up the score on an opponent, he has no regrets about commanding an offense that scores early and often and a defense that squeezes the life out of the opponent’s attempt to advance the ball upfield and across the goal line.

Nov 1, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Oklahoma Sooners head coach Bob Stoops walks off the field after the game against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Oklahoma defeated Iowa State 59-14. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

In conducting what has become an annual ranking of head football coaches, the editors at Athlon Sports, publisher of sports preview publications, qualify their ordered evaluation by stating that, although wins are a “telling and important statistic, they don’t provide a complete picture of how successful coaches are.” For instance, winning 10 games at Alabama, Oregon or Oklahoma is different than winning 10 games at, say, Kansas or Iowa State, just to use the Big 12 as an example.

The Athlon coaches’ rankings include a sample of 128 College Football Playoff or Division I coaches. Another similar poll conducted by the college writers for CBS Sports narrows down that sample to just the head coaches from each of the five power conference, plus Notre Dame and BYU. The CBS Sports ranking ultimately came down to ordering the 66 coaches based on which one you would want coaching your team this season.

Stoops trailed just Nick Saban of Alabama and Urban Meyer of Ohio State, ranked No. 3 among the coaches from the five power conferences, in the ranking published by CBS Sports. Les Miles of LSU and Big 12 coach Gary Patterson of TCU followed Stoops on that list.

The Sooner head coach did not fare as well in the Athlon ranking of the top college coaches for 2015. Stoops fell from No. 4 in 2014 to No. 8 this year, largely because of the Sooners’ dismal second-half performance last season and the stunning shellacking by Clemson in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Stoops was preceded in the Athlon rankings by the coaches of the three team that finished ahead of Oklahoma in the 2014 conference standings: Baylor’s Art Briles was No. 3 in the Athlon Top-10 list, followed by Bill Snyder of Kansas State at No. 5 and TCU’s Gary Patterson at No. 7.

“Stoops has been so good at Oklahoma that it feels like sometimes he’s a victim of his own success.” — Tom Fornelli,

Six Big 12 coaches were ranked in the top 25 in the 2015 poll conducted by CBS Sports, although only Stoops at No. 3 and Patterson at No. 5 made it into the top 10. Briles was No. 11 in the CBS ranking, Snyder was No. 16 and Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State and Charlie Strong of Texas, were 24 and 25, respectively.

The following is what CBS Sports college football writer Tom Fornelli had to say about Stoops’ 2015 standing among the best coaches in college football:

“Stoops has been so good at Oklahoma that it feels like he’s sometimes a victim of his own success. In 16 seasons with the Sooners, he has only failed to win 10 games four times, and Oklahoma fans act like the sky is falling when it happens. but at the end of the day, this is a coach who has won a national title as well as eight Big 12 titles in 16 years…What’s not to love here.”

More from OU Football