NCF Nation: Chuck Fairbanks

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.

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Bob Stoops turned 48 earlier this week. And while the Oklahoma coach is revered in the Sooner State, it wasn't a holiday or anything.

At least not that we know of.  

Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel put his spin on Stoops' birthday in a unique way. He compared the career stages for other notable Oklahoma football coaches when they turned 48.

Barry Switzer's wishbone was struggling a little when he turned 48 in 1985 with Troy Aikman as his starting quarterback. Bud Wilkinson was in the middle of his run for the U.S. Senate in 1964. Chuck Fairbanks was trying to rebuild a struggling program at Colorado, well after his salad days at OU. Bennie Owen was getting ready for his 19th season as the Sooners' head coach. And Howard Schnellenberger was preparing for his fourth season as Miami's head coach, only 23 victories into his college head-coaching career.

With Stoops apparently excited about continued coaching at Oklahoma, it will be interesting to see what happens for him in the years after his 48th birthday.

Of a more immediate interest for him will be his team's trip to Washington to attack some nasty road karma. Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle writes that Stoops currently has a nation-best 20-game home winning streak at Owen Field. During that same time, the Sooners are a more pedestrian 12-9 on the road.

Those recent road woes have raised the stakes for Saturday's game at Husky Stadium.

"For me, this is the game of the year because this sets the tone for our future road games and sets the tone for our team," redshirt freshman LB Travis Lewis told the Chronicle. "It's easy playing in front of 85,000 who love you, but what about the 80,000 who hate you?"

It will make Saturday's game the biggest test for the Sooners so far this season. If Stoops can win, he would become the fourth OU coach to have won 100 games during their careers at the school, joining Wilkinson, Switzer and Owen.

Pretty select company, indeed.

Kind of like being included with these morning links:

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