State of the brand: Oklahoma Sooners
NORMAN, Okla. -- The Oklahoma brand has enjoyed better times. Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners charging to 47 straight wins. Barry Switzer and Sooner Magic rolling to three national championships in a little more than a decade. Bob Stoops hoisting the BCS trophy after one of the most dominating defensive performances in college football history and a 13-2 win over Florida State.
In recent years, the powers of the SEC have been the class of college football, collecting the last six national titles. But if you’re looking for a more consistent brand than the one in Norman? Good luck.
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezBob Stoops is 139-34 as head coach of the Sooners.
But since Bob Stoops took over in 1999, Oklahoma has been the model of consistency. The Sooners have finished with double-digit victories in 10 of the last 12 seasons.
By Oklahoma standards, 2011 was an utter disaster. The Sooners lost leading rusher Dominique Whaley, then leading receiver Ryan Broyles before eventually careening off the road in November. And even then, the Sooners still won 10 games.
“We've won so many Big 12 championships and won a national championship, competed for other national championships,” Stoops said. “When you're not in that position, 10-3 isn't what you want.”
In reality, the Stoops era only underscores what the Oklahoma program has been about since World War II: consistent winning at the highest level. The Sooners lead the nation in winning percentage during the modern era. They own the longest winning streak in FBS history. And in the AP poll, they have been voted No. 1 a record 101 times. The Sooners have also spent more weeks ranked in the top five and top 10 of the poll than anyone else in the country.
The biggest knock on the program of late is that the Sooners perennially fail to meet their lofty -- almost unrealistic -- preseason expectations. Despite remarkable regular seasons, Oklahoma lost national title games in 2003, 2004 and 2008. Then in 2010 and 2011, the Sooners failed to reach the national championship game, despite being ranked No. 1 in each season.
Still, despite last year’s swoon, Oklahoma goes into this season on the short list of title contenders yet again. The Sooners are ranked fourth in the preseason polls, and feature the most experienced quarterback in college football in fifth-year senior Landry Jones.
“I feel we’ve got a really good chance,” Stoops said, “to be one of those teams where we’re competing for Big 12 and national championships.”
None of which is new at Oklahoma.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
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Play Podcast Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin talks about the improvements being made to Kyle Field, what those improvements will to for the program, the success of last year, Johnny Manziel's offseason and the expectations for the Aggies in 2013.
Play Podcast Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo talk about Texas A&M's decision to expand its stadium and say although the Aggies had a fantastic year, the school must also be careful not to overextend its resources based on a single hot stretch.
Play Podcast Baylor head coach Art Briles joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what kind of player the Cowboys are getting in Terrance Williams.
Play Podcast Arlington and Texas A&M product Luke Joeckel, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett to discuss the draft, coaches and advice from his dad.
Play Podcast Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his school's Cinderella story and playing in the Sweet 16 at Cowboys Stadium.
Play Podcast Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby joins Fizsimmons & Durrett to discuss Cowboys Stadium as a venue, the state of Big 12 basketball, the new 2014 college football format, why there's no hurry to have a Big 12 football championship and much more.
Play Podcast Jay Bilas joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the remaining 16 teams in the NCAA tournament, the intrigue surrounding the Northwest Region and the excitement over FGCU, even though a similar story happens every year.