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FOW Roundtable: Reactions to Bob Stoops’ retirement

The FOW staff was taken aback by Stoops’ sudden retirement. They talk about their reactions, and what it means for TCU/the Big 12.

1. What do you make of Stoops’ sudden retirement announcement?

Jamie: I am blown away. He’s been at OU for 18 years, and he’s just in his mid 50s. I was under the impression that he’d be at OU until he retired, but I didn’t think that was coming until maybe a decade from now. Obviously health and NCAA infractions are the two things people will run to first to try and explain this. There’s a rumor that he was diagnosed with a heart condition about a month ago, and he didn’t want to risk continuing to coach. If that’s the case, I certainly can understand it. I never particularly cared for Stoops, and the fact that he propped up guys like Joe Mixon definitely didn’t do him any favors in my book. Anyway, this is a weird thing to break in June.

Melissa: It’s the most shocking retirement since Urban Meyer leaving Florida several years ago. My immediate reaction was it has to be health or NCAA violation related, and I certainly hope it’s not the former. I have my issues with that big whiny baby HoF coach, but he’s really good at recruiting horrible people what he does and is certainly a legend in college football. There is definitely a bit of empathy though - I can’t imagine how I would feel today if I were in an OU fan’s shoes.

Mason: *Furiously dabs with both arms* Guys, I know my birthday is a week away, but c’mon you don’t think you could have waited 7 more days to make this announcement? But on a more serious note, if Stoops did leave for health reasons, that really sucks. Not just for him, but for all of the OU fans. I do think that this takes some of the fun out of rooting against Oklahoma. Few coaches were easier to root against than Stoops. Whether it be because of his ability to get calls to go his team’s way or his second to only to Spurrier headset spikes, there was just something about him that made you grind your teeth and tell yourself man that guy can suck a muffler. Let’s also not forget that he won 10 Big 12 titles...while only having 9 losses at home. So BGB, Bob Poops, Bobby Boy, or as he was known to his opponents, F@#4%’N Bob, you will be missed.

JT: My immediate reaction, and I am quoting here, was “Lolzwut.” I think that sums it up pretty nicely.

Meagan: hahaha JT stole my reaction. Half hoping Stoops retired for personal reasons or just because he felt like it, half hope there's going to be a huge scandal. Ok, really hoping there's a huge scandal, it'll finally be something relevant from Oklahoma.

Hawk: I woke up to a very different Big 12 than the one that existed when I went to sleep last night. I do hope that this was a choice that Stoops was able to make without influence from health or an oncoming scandal, because while I don’t agree with his handling of the various questionable and worse characters that have come through OU, I do think he is a good man.

2. How do you think Stoops’ retirement affects TCU/the rest of the Big 12?

Jamie: Oklahoma is stacked with talent, so they’ll still be near the top of the conference standings, as far as on-field stuff goes. However, OU may take a small recruiting hit now that he’s gone, and it’ll be interesting to see if TCU can get back in on any of the current OU commits for the next few classes.

Melissa: The Sooners have such a veteran team that while it will certainly affect them this season, it shouldn’t completely torpedo what could be a Big 12 championship season. More than likely, it costs them a win or two - Bedlam, anyone - in 2017, but will most be felt the following two seasons. Riley is a young, energetic dude in the mold of Tom Herman, and players love him. Recruiting shouldn’t be a problem, but with zero major head coaching experience, he is going to run into some struggles and certainly need a veteran staff around him. This doesn’t spell the end of the OU we have known for the past 18 years, but it certainly is good timing for programs like Oklahoma State and Texas, who both seem poised for big years, or TCU, who is always right on the cusp of becoming an annual power.

Mason: I had my doubts before, but I can now say for certain, TCU is going undefeated this year.

The sound of a thousand air horns sound off in the distance, slowly getting louder and louder. The sky splits open and a white beam of light shoots down. My feet begin to leave the ground. The air horns are now at peak volume, they are so loud that it sounds like you are at a Portland Timbers home game. I ascend into the heavens, where there in front of me I see the glorious face of Jesus, who is wearing a purple TCU jersey with the number 7 on the front of it. Out of his white waving robes that he wears beneath the jersey, he pulls out a microphone. He hands it to me. He already knows what I’m about to announce to the world. My lungs fill with air as I prepare the world what I’m about to say next. I open my mouth and--


JT: I don’t think this affects TCU that much. I still think we will be right around 7 or 8 wins this year. We will probably still lose to OU. I think the most dramatic effect is that it gives Oklahoma State a more clear path to the Big 12 Championship and College Football Playoff.

Meagan: I'm excited honestly, we all saw how Mack leaving UT affected the “influence” and image of UT Athletics, personally hoping Stoops leaving has the same affect. Thus eliminating this preferential treatment of older/bigger schools due to politics I mean ‘history’ of course. TCU will be fine as always.

Hawk: It will make recruiting in Texas a little bit easier. As good as Riley’s offense looks, he hasn’t been a head coach before and can’t point to the unparalleled track record that Stoops had at OU. The rest of the Big 12 is going to have to step up on the national stage though, because now no program can say they have a coach who has made the playoff or won a national championship as a head coach.

3. With Lincoln Riley taking over at OU, how do you think the Sooners will do in the near future (next 2-3 seasons)?

Jamie: Like I said above, OU is stacked this season, and Riley is set up nicely to have success in the near future. However, we have no idea how this is going to affect recruiting, and we can never guess as to how a Hall of Fame coach (like him or not) leaving a program will affect its future. Look at what happened when Mack left Texas.

Melissa: As I said above, I doubt it makes a huge difference in year one. But 2018/2019, with a new QB, young offensive unit, and a rebuilding defense, the Sooners could fall to a 7-9 win team for a good stretch. I think Riley will be fine - but he’s going to have some growing pains, and that will cost OU for at least a stretch. Whether they have the patience to weather that is a whole other question.

Mason: I think that they are still in pretty good hands. They have a heisman contender at QB, and a defense that could be better than last year’s. The place that this will really make a difference is the recruiting trail. Yes, it is still the same OU football program as before, but Bob was a stud when it came to recruiting prospects, ESPECIALLY running backs. I think they’ll take a step back at some point, however I don’t know how big of a step that will be. I feel they may have an 8-4 season around the corner in like 2 or 3 years, but that could be an outlier. Let me answer this question with a question. How would everyone feel if Gary retired and let Cumbie take over as HC? I’m guessing that is the same feeling that OU is having right now.

JT: I know they still have bakey mayfey… But look at who they are losing or have already lost. They no longer have Joe Mixon, Semaj Perine, Dede Westbrook and Bob Stoops. That is a lot of talent to part with in one season. I think they will have some growing pains in the coming years, especially when Mayfield graduates.

Meagan: once again hoping for a UT like situation, Mayfield doesn't seem to get along with coaches so that may make for some interesting storylines. After Mayfield leaves is when Riley will really be tested.

Hawk: The next 2-3 years OU will be fine, I’m more curious about what will happen in year 4 and beyond. Possibly Stoops’ best quality was his willingness and ability to adapt his scheme and philosophy as time changed. Stoops innovated constantly on offense, grabbing great young minds and letting them unleash a variety of weapons in a number of ways. He was one of the first to experiment with tempo, he bent the air raid into incorporating a dynamic ground game and he remained one of the great defensive minds in college football (even if he was guilty of nepotism at times). Will Riley be able to change with the times, or does he have a comfort on offense/defense that he won’t want to deviate from? If you’re going to succeed like Stoops or Patterson has over a number of years, you can’t afford to stagnate. Right now OU is still on the cutting edge, but how will they deal with the next big thing?