Our daily countdown to the return of Texas football continues with yet another reason to love the fall in Austin.
Mack Brown and Bob Stoops. Bob Stoops and Mack Brown. Whomever you prefer, or even if you’re just an impartial outsider observer (in which case I say, "You can’t really root for Stoops if you’re not a Sooner, can you?"), the two have been inseparably tangled over the past eight college football seasons.
In fact, it arguably has been the most important (annual national implications) rivalry in the sport since Brown and Stoops took the sidelines. Over that same time period, Michigan-Ohio State has not matched the Red River Rivalry in importance. The Pac 10 has been a one-team show for six-straight seasons. The competitive SEC has been a revolving door of top tier teams. The Big East is just now awaking from its post-Miami slumber. Miami-Virginia Tech has been one of the most intense and important rivalries since the ‘Canes joined the ACC, but both teams had serious downturns last year.
Consider this: since Bob Stoops arrived in Norman in 1999, the Longhorns and Sooners have finished 1-2 in the South Division of the Big 12 every single year. Texas or Oklahoma has won the Big 12 five of the conference’s eight titles since Stoops arrived. Both the Sooners (2000) and Longhorns (2005) have won national titles since the two coaches arrived.
Bob Stoops’ Sooners have won five of the eight meetings between the two schools, all during a dominant 2000-04 run before Vince Young took Texas back to the top.
Outside of each other, the Longhorns and Sooners have positively destroyed everyone in their path. Since 2000, Mack Brown is 67-6 against every team but Oklahoma. During that same time, Stoops is an also impressive 66-8 against everyone but the Longhorns.1
The fanbases hate each other. The game is played at a neutral site. Conference implications, national implications. Memorable players. Streaks of wins. This game has had it all for nearly a decade now.
I, as much or more than anyone, hate Bob Stoops. But since 1999, he’s helped create what may be the very best rivalry in college football.
It’s 85 days until football season, but 120 until the most important game of the year. Let’s make it three in a row.
1A hat tip, of sorts, to SMQ (of course), who brought these numbers to my attention in a chapter he wrote for The Eyes Of Texas 2007, which included a preview of Texas-OU.