NCF Nation: Barry Switzer

Barry Switzer is at it again.

The former Oklahoma coach sat down with Grantland to share some recruiting stories and express his opinion on several subjects, including Michael Sam, Johnny Manziel and Pete Carroll. Take the time to read the full interview, which you can find here. You won't regret it.

Here's a small sample of the interview:

On Marcus Dupree:
"When I saw him in high school, he was better than anyone I’d ever seen, and I’ve seen ’em all. I’d seen the Bo Jacksons, the Herschel Walkers, the Eric Dickersons, Earl Campbells. I recruited them all. I saw ’em play live, I’ve seen the tape on ’em out of high school."
On Billy Sims:
"I told Billy to hide out for two days. I wanted to sign Kenny King. ... But I can’t be everywhere, and Kenny wanted me to sign him at 8 a.m. Once I told Billy to hide out, he went to Houston with his dad for two days."
On Michael Sam:
"I’d rather have a gay guy that’s got game than a straight guy that ain’t got game. It all comes down to the ability to play the game."
On Johnny Football:
"Johnny Manziel is the first football player I’ve ever seen that can control the game like those guys [Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson] did basketball."
1. West Virginia hired Tom Bradley as assistant head coach, and for the first time since the Penn State scandal erupted, a majority of Joe Paterno’s assistants are working again. Has it been the taint of the scandal or a commentary on Paterno’s staff? The two assistants Bill O’Brien kept -- Larry Johnson and Ron Vanderlinden -- have moved to Ohio State and Air Force, respectively. Galen Hall and Dick Anderson retired. Jay Paterno is running for lieutenant governor in Pennsylvania. Mike McQueary, a big witness in the Jerry Sandusky trial, has yet to resurface.

2. Speaking of Penn State, new head coach James Franklin might be the first sitting SEC head coach to leave the conference for a Big Ten school since the SEC began playing football in 1933. I say “may” because I haven’t found one in my research, but I am not positive I have run down every single lead. In recent years, two prominent head coaches, Nick Saban (Michigan State to LSU) and Bret Bielema (Wisconsin to Arkansas), have left the Big Ten for an SEC school.

3. Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys 25 years ago today, catapulting his University of Arkansas teammate Jimmy Johnson out of college football after a three-year run in which Johnson’s Miami Hurricanes went 34-2, winning one national championship (1987) and losing to the eventual No. 1 team in the other two years (Penn State, 1986; Notre Dame, 1988). Another of Jones’ Razorbacks teammates, Barry Switzer, came out of retirement and joined Johnson as the only head coaches to win a college football national championship and a Super Bowl (until Pete Carroll joined them earlier this month).
NEW ORLEANS -- "The King" tweeted it best.

"What's great about playing Bama," legendary former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer wrote on Twitter this week, "is they are the team to find how good you are or how far you have to go."

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezHow good are Bob Stoops' Sooners? We'll find out in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.
Thursday night in the Allstate Sugar Bowl (ESPN, 8:30 ET), the Sooners will play in the ultimate barometer game against third-ranked Alabama.

It's a game that will reveal where the Sooners are, relative to the Crimson Tide. And just how far they have to go.

"How could it not be that?" Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops asked. "They're as good a football team as we've played in 15 years.

"So it’s definitely that."

Under coach Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide have become the standard-bearers in college football. Since 2009, Alabama has won three national championships, and only the wildest ending in college football history prevented the Tide from playing for another.

"They're obviously the program the last five years that has set the bar in college football," Sooners co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. "Is it any more of a benchmark than any other game? Probably so."

Under Stoops, Oklahoma once set the bar in college football. At the turn of the millennium, the Sooners played for three national titles in five years, and captured the championship in Y2K with a defensive flattening of Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Like the Tide of now, the Sooners of then rolled in top-five recruiting classes every February. And every April, Oklahoma produced a lion's share of first-round draft picks.

But that was then.

And in the present, the Sooners have fallen on hard times -- at least according to the towering expectations that apply to the likes of an Alabama or an Oklahoma.

"We win 10 games every year," said center Gabe Ikard, "and people feel that we’ve fallen off."

True, the Sooners haven't fallen off into a canyon like their Red River brethren (even though Texas did dismantle Oklahoma this year in Dallas). But in Norman, 10-win seasons minus the championships ring hollow.

It has been six seasons since the Sooners seriously contended for a national title past October. And after seizing six Big 12 championships over a span of nine seasons, Oklahoma has only one outright conference title since 2008.

This November, once they fell 41-12 to Baylor -- yes, the same Baylor that Central Florida roasted Wednesday night in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl -- the Sooners weren’t even a factor in the Big 12 race, much less the national one.

At the moment, Alabama owns RecruitingNation's No. 1 class, while Oklahoma's just barely cracks the top 25. Last year alone, the Crimson Tide furnished the NFL with three first-round draft picks. The Sooners, meanwhile, have had just one first-rounder (OT Lane Johnson) since 2010.

But just because the results have tapered off in Norman doesn’t mean the expectations have.

And against Alabama, the Sooners will find out where they stand.

"This is definitely going to show what kind of team we have right now," said Oklahoma receiver Jalen Saunders. "What type of players we have at OU. Where we stand nationally."

Lately, the Sooners haven’t stood quite as tall.

As a testament to Stoops' unrivaled, long-term consistency, Oklahoma still managed to grind out 10 victories in 2012 despite having no running game and a shaky defense. But whenever the Sooners faced a quality opponent last season, they were vanquished. Kansas State out-executed them in the Big 12 opener, Notre Dame smashed them in the fourth quarter, and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, well, he just made them look ridiculous in an AT&T Cotton Bowl rout.

As a result, Oklahoma opened 2013 outside the top 10 in the preseason polls for the first time since Stoops' second year.

Even though the Sooners stunned Oklahoma State in the 2013 Big 12 regular-season finale to sneak their way into the BCS, Las Vegas oddsmakers have pegged them as 16½-point underdogs against the mighty Tide. That, by the way, is the third-largest point spread in BCS history, behind only this year's Baylor-UCF Fiesta Bowl and the 17-point line Oklahoma was handed over Connecticut in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

In other words -- at least according to Vegas -- the gap between Alabama and Oklahoma right now is roughly equal to the gap between Oklahoma and Connecticut then.

"They're a great, great team," Stoops said of the Tide. "Great talent across the board."

When facing great talent, however, comes great opportunity. To ascend back atop college football's summit, the Sooners have to start somewhere. They'll find no more opportune setting than the Sugar.

"They’ve been so dominant," said Oklahoma running back Brennan Clay, "that if we come out with a victory, it would definitely say we're a national championship-contending-type team."

The Sooners can't secure a national championship overnight. And they certainly can't on Thursday night. But they can send a message. And in doing so, also can launch their climb back to the top.

"Winning this game would be big," Ikard said. "Big for recruiting, big for the program, big for the fan base.

"It would show that we're still one of the premier, top-five programs in the country."

The Sooners haven’t been a top-five program lately. But in New Orleans they get to find out how good they really are.

And just how far they have to go.

Successful coaches forced out: Big 12

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In the eyes of some critics, Mack Brown is sitting on a seat far warmer than he realizes.

ESPN Insider's Phil Steele says Brown is the No. 1 coach on the hot seat entering 2013, and there is a faction of the Texas fan base that agrees and believes Brown’s best days are behind him. But if history tells us anything about canning coaches, the grass isn’t always greener.

Brown’s contract runs through 2020, and he isn’t looking to retire any time soon. He’s 27 victories away from becoming the winningest coach in school history. Will he reach that milestone?

A look at the recent history of successful Big 12 coaches being shown the door reminds us that a new hire brings no guarantees of success. And there might not be a better example of that than the man considered the league’s best coach today.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
Cal Sport Media/AP ImagesWill Mack Brown get a chance to become the all-time winningest coach at Texas?
Coach on the bubble: Mack Brown, Texas

Big 12 precedents: Bill Snyder, Kansas State; Dan McCarney, Iowa State; Chuck Reedy, Baylor

Bill Snyder, 170-85-1 at Kansas State

Prior to his arrival: The list of coaches who came before Snyder is a long one, but the last to win more games than he lost at Kansas State left in 1934 after one season. Snyder’s predecessor, Stan Parrish, coached the Wildcats for 33 games and won two. The team was mockingly called “Futility U” before Snyder’s debut, and had lost more games than any program in college football history.

Why he resigned: The white-haired wizard was everything to Kansas State and achieved the most improbable rebuilding job college football has ever seen. But there reached a point in time, even after four Big 12 North titles, where KSU was ready to move on, in 2005. Leadership thought that after consecutive losing seasons, Snyder’s heart just wasn’t in it to go another season, even if he was hesitant to surrender the throne.

The aftermath: In came Ron Prince, the 36-year-old Virginia offensive coordinator who had no ties to the KSU program. His best season was his first, and after consecutive 5-7 seasons, he was fired in November 2008 -- after agreeing four months earlier to a contract extension through 2012. Snyder heroically returned, and you know the rest.

Some believe Brown, 61, is getting old. Snyder was 66 when he was ousted. He was named 2012 Big 12 Coach of the Year at age 73 and got a new five-year deal this past offseason.

Dan McCarney, 56-85 at Iowa State

Prior to his arrival: No, the track record of McCarney at Iowa State is not even close to what Brown has achieved at Texas. But no coach won more games at ISU than McCarney, who enjoyed five winning seasons in six years (2000-2005) and nearly won the Big 12 North outright twice. His predecessor, Jim Walden, retired after going 0-10-1 in 1994 and finished his ISU tenure with a record of 28-57-3. No Cyclones coach had won a conference title since 1912.

Why he resigned: McCarney led the Cyclones to five bowl games, but the 2006 season went downhill and he stepped down. At the time he announced his decision, ISU was 0-6 in Big 12 play.

The aftermath: Iowa State got as sexy a hire as it could have hoped in Texas defensive coordinator Gene Chizik. Then, after going 5-19 in two seasons, he bailed on the Cyclones for the Auburn job. Paul Rhoads has done a respectable job in Ames, with three bowl games in four seasons. McCarney is entering his third year as head coach at North Texas. His record there isn’t great (9-15), but the Mean Green at least appreciate that they’ve got a good coach.

Chuck Reedy, 23-22 at Baylor

Prior to his arrival: Yes, this is a bit of an obscure choice. Baylor had a solid, competitive program during the 21-year tenure of the great Grant Teaff and enjoyed winning records in eight seasons of his final decade in charge. When he retired, BU offensive coordinator Reedy was promoted to the head gig.

Why he was fired: Replacing Teaff wasn’t easy. The Baylor administration wasn’t happy with some aspects of Reedy’s coaching style, including recruiting high-risk players who were unlikely to qualify. But what sealed his fate was going 1-7 in conference play in the Big 12’s inaugural year and losing four straight to end the 1996 season with a 4-7 record.

The aftermath: Baylor didn’t know it was signing up for a decade of futility when it canned Reedy. His replacement, Dave Roberts, went 4-18. The three coaches that came after Reedy went a combined 30-94 and finished last in the Big 12 South eight straight years. Art Briles has led an impressive rebuild, but he inherited enough of a mess that it took five years to get his career mark at Baylor above .500 (32-30).

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve left out three coaching departures that are considered some of the biggest in recent Big 12 history: Barry Switzer, Mark Mangino and Mike Leach.

Considering Switzer resigned amid a flurry of scandal and NCAA probation, and Mangino and Leach departed after allegations of player abuse, they’re not all that applicable to Brown or any current Big 12 coaches. But in the cases of Kansas and Texas Tech, who enjoyed unparalleled rises under Mangino and Leach, respectively, and haven’t been the same since, it’s another reminder that you never know what you’ll get when you let a successful coach go.
1. As Tom Farrey’s report on "Outside the Lines" illustrated, NCAA president Mark Emmert’s emphasis on style and message is nothing without a foundation of competence. Emmert ratcheted up the pressure on his employees for change, and the Miami fiasco is the result. In the wake of questions about the Freeh Report, the harsh Penn State penalties meted out with a holier-than-thou flourish by Emmert last summer look like a ready-fire-aim effort. In this, the NCAA’s red-carpet week, the spotlight on Emmert is harsh.

2. That wasn’t hard, was it? The old Big East came up with a new name, American Athletic Conference, that contains geographic meaning (the league covers a lot of ground) and can be reduced to a simple acronym that sounds like the other top leagues. Who knows if the AAC will be a success on the football field? The odds are long. But the league found a good name, which is more than the Big Ten and the ACC can say about its divisions.

3. Chuck Fairbanks, who died Tuesday of cancer at age 79, won big at Oklahoma (52-15-1 from 1967-72) and lost big at Colorado (7-26, 1979-81) and coached in the NFL in between. He got the New England Patriots job after Joe Paterno took it overnight and gave it back the next morning. The coaches who replaced him at Oklahoma and Colorado, Barry Switzer and Bill McCartney, respectively, won four national championships between them.

Roughly 90 percent of college football programs would be thrilled to win 10 games in a season. Oklahoma is not one of those programs.

Sharing a Big 12 title? That trophy is a whole lot less satisfying when there are seven others waiting in the trophy case since 2000 that weren't shared with anybody.

"Our expectations are different than everybody else. Everybody’s not Oklahoma," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "When you have Oklahoma across your chest, you expect to win championships, and that’s never going to change here."

He knows firsthand. Stoops helped his brother, coach Bob Stoops, win Oklahoma's seventh national title back in 2000, and the Sooners came up short two more times, once losing in the title game with Mike Stoops in 2003 and again a year later with Stoops coaching at Arizona. Without him coordinating the defense, the Sooners gave up 55 points to USC, more points than any team has ever scored in the BCS National Championship Game.

Arizona fired Mike Stoops six games into the 2011 season, and the Sooners' struggling defense needed an offseason jolt, despite winning 10 games that same season. Mike Stoops returned and brought assistant Tim Kish with him to coach linebackers and help coordinate the defense.

"Sometimes change is good, new ideas are good always, and change is good sometimes," Mike Stoops said. "That happens for whatever reason, and whether it’s complacency or just being stagnant, those things occur. Just trying to reinvent ourselves is something we need to do."

In 2012, there were more late-season defensive struggles after a strong start, but yet again, a 10-win season and a shared Big 12 title weren't enough. Losing three games isn't good enough, and nobody wants to hear that all three losses came to teams that spent time in the top five last season. The Sooners want to get back to competing for national titles, and Bob Stoops went the route of coaching changes to help get Oklahoma back there.

Assistant coaches Jackie Shipp and Bruce Kittle were shown the door, along with offensive line coach James Patton. The Sooners scooped up Bill Bedenbaugh from West Virginia to replace Patton and brought in Jerry Montgomery from Michigan to coach the defensive line. Jay Boulware filled Kittle's spot on the staff after coaching tight ends at Auburn. The Sooners' reboot was complete, and they're working toward results in the spring.

"[They bring] a new perspective in some areas, new ideas. They’re not drastic changes," Mike Stoops said. "Obviously, the coaches we had in here were involved and knew our systems well, but there’s always little changes in technique and little things schematically that can help you, so we’re always looking for fresh ideas."

Ten wins tastes bitter when you're used to winning 11 or 12, which can be the difference between proving yourself as a very good team and a great team. Oklahoma won at least 12 games six times since 2000 and 11 games on three more occasions. Ten wins isn't good enough, and a few former players and one famed coach were more than willing to speak up about it, echoing fan concerns.

Barry Switzer started it in September when he told one local paper that the Sooners "just don't have the talent."

"We’re not as good as we have been," Switzer said. "We don’t have the Tommie Harrises or Gerald McCoys squatting down there in the middle [of the defensive line]."

Offensive lineman Jammal Brown, an All-American who played in Norman from 2000 to '04, said he was "mad as hell" about the Sooners' 28-point Cotton Bowl loss to Texas A&M to cap the 10-win season, calling the Sooners "soft." CBS analyst Spencer Tillman, a Sooners running back in the '80s, said Oklahoma lost concentration on what made the program great in the first place.

Considering the Sooners let Shipp go at the end of the season, it's hard to believe Bob Stoops didn't agree in part with what Switzer had to say. As for the rest of it?

"We may not be as skilled at some of the positions as we want to be, but our toughness and pride is what made Oklahoma what it is, whether it was Bud Wilkinson or Barry Switzer or Bob Stoops, I think that’s the common thread that goes to being a great team," Mike Stoops said.

"Some of those, from the outside, may have felt like we didn’t have that common thread between us. I never felt that; I always thought our teams played hard and together. They’re certainly entitled to their opinions, you know. We’ve got to look at ourselves, and if it’s true, we need to change it. The things we needed to change, we’re working on changing, and nobody knows our program like we do.

"There’s areas we certainly need to get better at, and we’re aware of those. Some of those take time. Some of those take adjustments each day to get better."

The Sooners lose a four-year starter at quarterback in Landry Jones from last year's team, along with seven starters from Mike Stoops' defense. The task of winning more than 10 games seems difficult in a Big 12 that's deeper than it has ever been.

"We just need to get better, again, individually and schematically and play better across the board and come up with better ideas and a better scheme. We’re not far off when you look at the big picture," Mike Stoops said. "We had a chance to win 12 games, we lost them all late in the game and down the stretch and didn’t make the plays we needed to, but again, we’re not that far off."
1. Bob Stoops has won 149 games in 14 seasons at Oklahoma. He is nine wins shy of surpassing Barry Switzer as the all-time leader in Sooners coaching victories. And for the first time in his tenure, the Sooners failed to reach a BCS bowl in consecutive seasons. It’s not time to panic -- Oklahoma went 10-3 last season -- but the Sooners didn’t measure up to his standard, especially on defense. Stoops discusses his career, college football and his 2013 team with me on the ESPNU College Football Podcast posting Thursday.

2. Notre Dame returned to national prominence when it got bigger and faster. It was no coincidence, as I pointed out last season, that the Irish defensive linemen came from Texas (Kapron Lewis-Moore), Georgia (Stephon Tuitt) and Florida (Louis Nix). Here’s the other side of the geographic coin: Top punt returner Davonte' Neal (Arizona) and receiver Justin Ferguson (Florida) have left the program. A year ago, defensive lineman Aaron Lynch (Florida) left. Perhaps the margin of error on national recruits is thinner.

3. For as long as I can remember, athletic administrators have sprained their wrists wringing their hands over the rising cost of college football. And yet with the announcement that FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern are moving to the Sun Belt Conference, the number of FBS schools will increase 127, up from 119 five years ago. That means schools are choosing to spend more money. Perhaps because they are chasing more money, too, not to mention the glue that college football can provide a campus.
1. The SEC may have won seven consecutive BCS championships, but that streak is looking more like a curse come March. Since Florida began the football streak in 2006, and the basketball Gators followed up three months later by winning the men’s basketball title, only one of the next six BCS winners had its basketball team even earn a berth in the NCAA tournament, much less win it. That would be Alabama a year ago, and the ninth-seeded Tide lost in the opening round to Creighton, 58-57.

2. Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre said that the Buffs’ facilities are fine, even as the university has begun a campaign to add to them. Adding and renovating are a necessity in the Pac-12, he said. “USC has built a $70 million complex, and Washington has built a $400 million complex and stadium, and Cal has built a $350 million complex and stadium,” MacIntyre said. “They just kind of raised the bar.”

3. His college coach, Oklahoma’s Barry Switzer, called Steve Davis the “ideal” wishbone quarterback. In ’74, Davis threw 26 passes, 11 of them touchdowns. Davis, who died Sunday in the crash of a private plane, was such a good guy that even Texas coach Mack Brown tweeted his sorrow at the lost “of a great man.” In fact, Davis’ sudden demise unleashed a torrent of memories from his life that happened long after he led the Sooners to a share of the 1974 national title, which is as it should be.

3-point stance: ND's Kelly seeks balance

December, 26, 2012
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1. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly captured the debate that is both eternal and internal in the bowl season. The coaching staff tries to determine how much hitting to do during bowl practice to keep a team sharp without getting anyone hurt. “I know how important it is. I know you need to do it,” Kelly said. “But ask any coach that’s sitting in this chair, and they’re going, ‘I really don’t want to lose Manti (Te'o, the All-America linebacker) to a practice tackling drill indoors in December.’”

2. The Mid-American Conference might have had its best season ever, what with Northern Illinois doing some BCS busting and six other MAC teams playing in the postseason. However, the league has begun the postseason as if it’s stretched too thin. Toledo and Ball State have been routed by fellow non-AQs Utah State and Central Florida, respectively -- both underrated teams. Maybe it’s just bad matchups. In the Military Bowl on Thursday afternoon, Bowling Green (8-4) plays a San Jose State (10-2) team that nearly upset No. 6 Stanford.

3. Happy 88th birthday to Arkansas legend Frank Broyles, who retired from coaching 36 years ago with a record of 149-62-6 (.700) but served as athletic director for more than three decades. Broyles’ former assistants included former Razorbacks players Barry Switzer and Jimmy Johnson, who won four national championships between them. But he was best known for his friendship with Darrell Royal, the coach of his then-archrival, Texas. They retired together in 1976, played golf together often and never discussed their 1969 showdown, when the No. 1 Longhorns defeated the No. 2 Hogs, 15-14.
Norman, Okla., will get all kinds of zing in its zang zang next week. "College GameDay" is coming to the Sooners' city.

Oklahoma will host Notre Dame for a top-10 showdown, and the ESPN pregame show will be in town for the first time since before the Sooners' 65-21 victory over Texas Tech in 2008.

It's also the first time a Big 12 team has hosted "GameDay" this season.

Any ideas for a guest picker? Here's my vote for former Sooners coaching legend Barry Switzer. He's one of the most entertaining personalities in Sooners lore and still one of the game's most recognizable faces.
Texas coach Mack Brown has seen up close what the Red River Rivalry can do to players, especially if it's their first experience in the Big 12's marquee rivalry game.

Back in 1999, he looked at freshman Bo Scaife, a future NFL draft pick at tight end, who told Brown he was hyperventilating and had never been that excited in his life.

"And I thought, 'I'm not sure that's good,'" Brown told reporters this week.

It's par for the course for players, experienced or not. The atmosphere -- half burnt orange, half crimson, divided at the 50-yard line -- is much like a bowl game.

"I think that's something you have to address early in the week and just lay out the environment. Here's two teams, two very good football teams in a rivalry game with fans and emotion that goes into it," offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin told reporters this week. "Don't hide the fact of what it is; everybody understands that. Now you get that whole side, now it comes down to playing ball."

It's not about suppressing those emotions. It's about controlling them and finding a way to have them help you, not hurt you.

"You want to go in with emotion but you don't want to be geeked out to where you just can't perform," Harsin said. "You've peaked too soon before the game and all that. We don't want that."

The whole day and lead-in to the game are full of opportunities to build emotions, beginning with the famed bus ride in. Even Mack Brown's eyes were opened on his first Red River all the way back in 1984, when he was Oklahoma's offensive coordinator.

"Fans were shaking the bus. I mean, it was scary," Brown said. "Coach [Barry] Switzer kind of looked at me and said, 'Now you see. You get it now.' You understand that."

Oklahoma's a more experienced team, but Brown's focus is on making sure his young squad understands what's at stake while not letting their emotions lead to mistakes.

"This game is so emotional. And both teams will play like it is the most important game of the year, whether it is or not in anybody's minds because of the buildup and the history of this game, and the two schools, and the way the fans feel about this, and the nature of the State Fair," Brown said. "They came to the schools, and one of the reasons they came is for this game. The hype in this game, you have to handle."
We're looking at coaches this week on ESPN.com. It's a big subject, sure. In our blog network, we'll be breaking it down each day to smaller topics.

Today, a simple question: What would a program look like without the winningest coach in program history? Which coaches had the biggest impact?

Here's how it breaks down for each program in the Big 12 (all-time record in parentheses):

[+] EnlargeBill Snyder
Brett Davis/US PresswireKansas State's winning percentage plummets without Bill Snyder.
BAYLOR: 524-530-44 (.497)

  • Winningest coach: Grant Teaff: 128-105-6
  • Wins without winningest coach: 396
IOWA STATE: 500-594-24 (.458)

  • Winningest coach: Dan McCarney: 56-85
  • Wins without winningest coach: 444
KANSAS: 572-560-58 (.505)

  • Winningest coach: A.R. Kennedy: 52-9-4
  • Wins without winningest coach: 520
KANSAS STATE: 475-612-41 (.439)

  • Winningest coach: Bill Snyder: 159-83-1
  • Wins without winningest coach: 316
OKLAHOMA: 821-307-44 (.718)

  • Winningest coach: Barry Switzer: 157-29-4
  • Wins without winningest coach: 664
OKLAHOMA STATE: 530-523-47 (.503)

  • Winningest coach: Pat Jones: 62-60-3 (Mike Gundy needs three wins to tie Jones)
  • Wins without winningest coach: 468
TEXAS: 858-330-33 (.716)

  • Winningest coach: Darrell Royal: 167-47-5
  • Wins without winningest coach: 691
TCU: 593-514-57 (.534)

  • Winningest coach: Dutch Meyer: 109-79-13 (Gary Patterson is tied at 109-30.)
  • Wins without winningest coach: 484
TEXAS TECH: 524-405-32 (.562)

  • Winningest coach: Mike Leach: 84-43
  • Wins without winningest coach: 440
WEST VIRGINIA: 701-457-45 (.601)

  • Winningest coach: Don Nehlen: 149-93-4
  • Wins without winningest coach: 552

That's a wide variance of wins. It's clear that no man means more to his school than Bill Snyder does to Kansas State. The program has a rather depressing .358 winning percentage if you remove Snyder's win from the equation. He took two seasons to get Kansas State from a perennial doormat to a team above .500. Snyder then went on a historic run that included a Big 12 title in 2003 and two BCS bowl bids.

Don't ever doubt why some consider what Snyder has done in Manhattan as the single greatest coaching job in the history of the game. Snyder's career win percentage at Kansas State is .656, almost double what the program's overall win percentage is. No other coach comes close to those numbers. There's a reason why many of the nation's coaches are often in awe of Snyder and why he is so respected.

The biggest surprise for me was the relative dominance of West Virginia compared to the rest of the Big 12. That .601 win percentage is behind only Texas and Oklahoma over the course of the program's history. And you wonder why folks are so excited about their entrance into the league?

Looking elsewhere, Texas Tech's decision to fire Mike Leach looks worse and worse while the Mike Gundy hire at Oklahoma State looks better and better. Gundy is three wins from passing Pat Jones as the school's biggest all-time winner. He did so in just 89 games while Jones needed 125 matches to reach 62 victories.

Conversely, how about the job Gary Patterson has done at TCU? Sure, the schedule is different, but he's suffered the same amount of losses as Gundy with 50 more wins. He's also reached 109 wins in 62 fewer games than Dutch Meyer.

We're living in the age of some great, great coaches in this league. History shows us that.
SpurrierAP Photo/John BazemoreSouth Carolina's Steve Spurrier, who also rankled schools while at Florida, ranks No. 1 on our list.

College football’s most hated coaches were despised for winning, breaking the rules and running up the score.

Ranking the most hated college football coaches of all-time:

1. Steve Spurrier: Rival fans hated Spurrier not only because he beat them so often while coaching at Florida, but more so because he loved to tell them about it afterward. From Spurrier’s famous jabs like “Free Shoes U.” and “Can’t Spell Citrus Without UT,” the Old Ball Coach gave rival fans myriad reasons to dislike him.

2. Woody Hayes: One of the most successful coaches in history, Hayes guided Ohio State to 13 Big Ten titles and three consensus national championships. But he is perhaps best remembered for his chronically boorish behavior, which included physical confrontations with sportswriters, photographers, opposing coaches and athletics directors, referees and even opposing players.

3. Barry Switzer: A bootlegger’s son from Arkansas, Switzer wasn’t afraid to rub opposing coaches and fans the wrong way while dominating the Big 8 during his ultra-successful career at Oklahoma from 1973 to 1988. Switzer always wanted to hang “half a hundred” on opponents and wasn’t afraid to run up the score with his wishbone offense. Opposing fans’ beliefs that Switzer often cut corners when it came to NCAA rules were confirmed when his program crumbled under a plethora of scandals in 1989.

[+] EnlargeWoody Hayes
AP PhotoOhio State's greatest coach of all-time ranks No. 2 on our list of most hated coaches.
4. Jimmy Johnson: Johnson coached Miami for five seasons during its “Decade of Dominance,” and he’s remembered for fostering the Hurricanes’ infamous bad-boy culture. Many of Johnson’s players were showboats on and off the field, and he wasn’t afraid to run up the score on lesser opponents, either. His team infamously wore combat fatigues to a pregame event before playing Penn State in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl.

5. Lane Kiffin: Perhaps no coach in SEC history ticked off more people in less time than Kiffin, who spent the 2009 season at Tennessee before bolting for Southern California. During his one-year tenure with the Volunteers, Kiffin criticized nearly everyone, including then-Florida coach Urban Meyer and Georgia coach Mark Richt. Kiffin even went as far as saying if a player signed with South Carolina, he ended up pumping gas for a living.

6. Bobby Petrino: Auburn fans hate Petrino because he interviewed for former Tigers coach Tommy Tuberville’s job during a clandestine interview at an Indiana airport -- when Tuberville was still employed. Louisville fans despised Petrino because he seemingly was always trying to leave and finally did, leaving the Cardinals program in pretty bad shape. Now Arkansas fans dislike him for letting his personal life derail what was becoming a very good program.

7. Urban Meyer: Meyer seemed like an outsider when he was hired as Florida’s coach in 2005 and it didn’t take him long to become hated by rival schools. Meyer tried to revolutionize the way the SEC played football with his spread offense, winning BCS national championships in 2006 and 2008. But then Meyer upset Florida fans when he retired twice in two years -- before waiting a year to become Ohio State’s new coach.

8. Jackie Sherrill: Few coaches were more despised by their teams’ chief rivals. While Sherrill was coaching at Pittsburgh, legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno said he wouldn’t retire because he didn’t want to leave college football “to the Jackie Sherrills and Barry Switzers of the world” (Paterno later apologized and became Sherrill’s friend). Texas fans hated Sherrill because he had a 7-3 record against the Longhorns.

9. Jim Tressel: Michigan fans hated Tressel for beating the Wolverines so much -- he went 8-1 against OSU’s chief rival during his tenure. Opposing fans hated Tressel’s squeaky-clean image of a sweater vest and bifocals. They celebrated when Tressel resigned in 2011 after admitting he withheld information about NCAA rules violations from OSU officials and NCAA investigators.

10. Rich Rodriguez: West Virginia fans absolutely loved Rodriguez, a former WVU defensive back, when he guided the Mountaineers to 60 victories and two BCS bowl games from 2001 to 2007. But WVU fans literally drove Rodriguez and his family from his native state after he abruptly left the school to become Michigan’s coach in 2008. Wolverines fans don’t like him too much, either, after Rodriguez went 15-22 in three seasons.
NORMAN, Okla. -- Even with its best player on the sidelines in tears, Oklahoma didn't know how bad it could get in the season's final month.

No player in the history of FBS caught more passes than Ryan Broyles. When the Sooners' receivers lost their leader and most productive member, one-loss Oklahoma went from Big 12 title contender gunning for an NCAA-most ninth BCS bowl appearance to Insight Bowl participant.

"I just felt like we didn’t know what to do once Ryan went down, to tell you the truth," receiver Kenny Stills said. "We never really saw that coming, and it hit us really hard."

[+] EnlargeKenny Stills
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiKenny Stills and the Sooners receivers will try to replace Ryan Broyles' production this fall.
After the loss, quarterback Landry Jones was shut out of the end zone for the season's final three games along with five interceptions. Oklahoma's sure-handed unit suddenly turned shaky, dropping passes more frequently than it had all season.

The Sooners started slow in a win over Iowa State, but were embarrassed in the regular season finale at Oklahoma State with the conference title hanging in the balance.

"We’re disappointed at the way we finished last season, I don’t think there’s any question," said co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach Jay Norvell, "and I think that’s motivated our guys to come out and really prove themselves and to step their game up."

That's been the task for Oklahoma's receivers this spring. After Broyles' injury, Stills moved to an unfamiliar slot position, and his discomfort showed. Despite Broyles' presence, Stills managed to top 100 yards receiving three times in his first six appearances of the season.

When the Sooners' needed him to replace Broyles' production, he didn't top 75 yards receiving.

"We were figuring out what to do with different people in different positions and now I feel like the spring’s helped us figure out what we want to do," Stills said.

He's playing some inside and some outside during the spring, but his preference is simple.

"Wherever the ball’s coming, I want to go," Stills said.

He'll get this offseason to learn how to live life without Broyles, whether it's leading off the field or producing on it. He'll also have plenty of reinforcements. Freshman Trey Metoyer has turned heads in the spring and coach Bob Stoops said he could "absolutely" start.

Come fall, freshmen Durron Neal, Sterling Shepard (two of the nation's top 10 receivers in the 2012 class) and Derrick Woods will join the team, along with highly touted juco transfer Courtney Gardner.

"Competition is the best motivator that you have. That’s Oklahoma," Norvell said. "You hear stories about back in the day when all the running backs were here and coach [Barry] Switzer was here, and there’d be another guy come in, and the way guys looked at each other.

"Good players, they have a lot of pride. And I just think we’ve tried to create that environment. We have a lot of guys that can make plays and that also push each other. I think guys get excited when they see somebody come in that has ability like that and it can help the team."

Norvell's message to his receivers this spring was accountability. Replacing Broyles is up to more than just Stills.

"We’ve talked a lot about (accountability), and I think we have to do a better job of that as a unit and as a team, playing hard for each other, and I don’t think we always did that, especially at the end of last year," Norvell said. "That’s what being a part of a team is, it’s the most special thing you can ever be a part of, especially because you know somebody has your back, and that’s exactly where we started this spring."
1. With junior LaMichael James, sophomore Kenjon Barner and freshman De'Anthony Thomas, No. 9 Oregon appears as if it is plenty deep. But James’s dislocated elbow has brought closer scrutiny, which indicates how much Oregon depends on James. He has 95 carries, compared to a total of 52 for Barner and James. James leads the nation in rushing (170.4 yards per game) and is tied for second in punt returns (19.33-yard average). The Ducks need him to get healthy soon.

2. As a panelist on The Experts yesterday on ESPNU, I brought up Rich Rodriguez as an obvious candidate to replace Mike Stoops at Arizona. Rodriguez wants speed, and there’s plenty available in the Pac-12 South footprint. Rodriguez likes the desert area. But a source who has spoken to Rodriguez said he will look to other openings first. Among other reasons: Arizona doesn’t have the facilities or budget of the strongest Pac-12 teams.

3. Elsewhere in the Stoops family, when Oklahoma beat Texas, coach Bob Stoops won his 43rd game against a ranked opponent, tying former Sooner coach Barry Switzer. Stoops (43-17) reached that mark in 13 seasons, while Switzer (43-21-4) needed 16 seasons. However, when Switzer coached (1973-88), the rankings stopped at No. 20. Stoops is coaching in the era of the Top 25. It makes a difference. Stoops is 10-2 against teams ranked 21-25.

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