Hate Big 12 coaches for winning?

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
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Mack Brown talks with Bob StoopsAP Photo/Mike FuentesMack Brown and Bob Stoops have one major thing in common -- they win Big 12 games.
Coaches we love to hate week is rolling on at ESPN.com, and today, it's familiar territory for the Big 12.

Some coaches are hated because they simply win too much. For the Big 12, it seems like that's the only reason why any coaches earn the hatred from fans.

For the most part, the coaches in the Big 12 are a civil bunch, with hardly a heated rivalry between them that inspires hate from the fans.

Nobody catches more flack for winning than Bob Stoops and Mack Brown. That's what happens when you win and do it for a long, long time.

Stoops has been accused more than once of running up the score in some of those wins, and when you look back on the 2008 season, it's easy to see why some might feel that way. The Sooners memorably scored 60 points in five consecutive games leading up to the national title, and scored at least 52 points in four more games.

The "leaving starters in" debate is a timeless one, and I tend to fall on the side of, "If you don't like it, stop them." Others don't, and Stoops catches the flack for it.

Simply put, Big 12 teams love beating OU and Texas more than any other school, and those winning traditions are the biggest reason why.

Stoops and Brown also have to deal with the incessant chorus from fans who argue that coaching at Oklahoma and Texas is simple: You get the best players, and you get the best record, regardless of your coaching acumen.

That couldn't be further from the truth. Brown and Stoops both inherited losing teams, and turned them into perennial winners who do recruit well and sign the best players in the Big 12 every season. To think that happens automatically is silly. You need good coaches to make it happen, and Brown and Stoops have personified that, even if Brown hasn't won as big as some expect with the type of talent Texas reels in.

In this debate, though, I'd argue Stoops and Brown aren't alone. In recent seasons, they've been joined by none other than Art Briles at Baylor.

The former Texas high school coach is quick with one-liners that earn the media's favor, but he talks about doing big, big things at Baylor. Things like Big 12 titles and telling players they can win Heisman trophies.

To those on the outside, it sounds like crazy talk.

Then, he goes and inches closer to those goals. He achieved the second one last season, and does anyone want to rule out a Big 12 title for the Bears?

The same people who want to do that probably would have done the same for Oklahoma State. Mike Gundy equaled or surpassed his win total in every season at Oklahoma State.

Briles has done the exact same, even while losing Robert Griffin III in a four-win campaign in 2009.

He won seven games the following year, and did the unthinkable by winning 10 games in 2011. Losing RG3 is a big blow, but he's stocked his team with loads of offensive talent, and signed five-star talents like safety Ahmad Dixon and running back Lache Seastrunk.

It's a new day at Baylor, and thanks to Briles, the Bears will soon be playing in a new stadium, too. As much as the rest of the Big 12 wants to pretend BU will go back to the same ol' Baylor without RG3, Briles will soon prove that no such thing's going to happen in Waco.

A word of advice on how to view the trio? Don't hate. Appreciate.

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