For those of you living at least part of your lives under a rock, there was a bit of a hubbub surrounding a few comments made by Oklahoma Sooner head football coach Bob Stoops, never one to mince words in the first place. For whatever reason, during the "Sooners caravan" stop in Tulsa, Stoops was either asked about the SEC's recent dominance over CFB or offered his opinion entirely without prompt. Tulsa World published it, people on twitter freaked out, and we had numerous arguments on both sides (more against than for) all afternoon. It was a wonderful time. Rather than summarize his statements, I'll just let you read them.
To be honest, I'm not sure why people got as upset as they did because I'm not sure what they expected. Bob Stoops coaches a Big 12 team. He recruits against the SEC constantly. He was not going to kiss the ring, so to speak, and preach from on high of the greatness of the SEC, and he probably never will. It would be incredibly counter-productive. The fact that he also might have a point about the media's treatment of the SEC (perpetuating what I have called before the SECMyth) also plays a role.
Here's what he should have said that I don't think anybody except die-hard SEC fans could argue about: each of the past seven years, the best team in the country has come from the SEC. At the top, there is little argument that they are the class of the country. Our best has work to do to catch up to their best. They are, as a conference, also overrated, because it shouldn't matter to what people say about Vanderbilt, for example, that Alabama wins championships. It shouldn't matter to what people think about Ole Miss that LSU has a great defense. Those things aren't necessarily related. All the talk about the "strength of the SEC" obfuscates the point that they are not the powerhouse through and through that everyone assumes. All SEC teams are not created equal, yet all benefit from the strength of those at the top. And it's partially the media's fault for giving the conference as a whole a pass when bad things happen, but accentuating above everything else the good.
He could have gone on to say positive things about the Big 12 all he wanted, talking about the strength of the middle of the conference, the upward mobility of historically weak programs like Baylor and, yes, Oklahoma State, etc. All that makes perfect sense. He could also say that there was a time when the SEC wasn't the dominant power in the land it is right now, a time when the then-Pac10 and Big 12 ruled the roost. There is nothing given about the SEC's continued dominance going forward in something so inherently cyclical as college football.
For more on the subject, check out Jason Kirk's excellent feature from yesterday about this very topic. I can't recall if he posted it before the Tulsa World story went viral, but it's at the very least timely nonetheless. He takes a look at the relative strength of the bottom of each conference.
Now as for all the other links, let's do this a bit more succinctly:
David Ubben of ESPN.com offers you a chance to vote on which is Baylor's most important game for 2013. I chose Oklahoma at home simply because I think our schedule sets up nicely to that point, and a win there could vault us to great places.
Baylor held a nice little soiree yesterday on-campus to celebrate the continued progress on our new riverside stadium project and the passing of a major fundraising milestone. I I posted a thread on it yesterday afternoon, and there is now a video recap you can watch at either the link above or right here on ODB.
Speaking of the Stadium, the Waco Trib ran an editorial about the entire project that is worth a read. It's mostly about being able to overcome the trials of our time to build what could be referred to as monuments, and it makes me happy to think of Baylor Stadium as such for central Texas.
Isaiah Austin had surgery the day before yesterday on his shoulder and is reportedly doing well. He tweets a bit about painkillers not being all that effective, but he should make a full recovery in four to six months.
Richard Deitsch of SI.com nominated Brittney Griner for College Athlete of the Year not only for her play on the court, but her "comportment" in coming out, as well.
Oh, and we got a late commitment yesterday from Allerik Freeman, arguably the top SG left on the board. That's always fun.