Is Oklahoma National Title Contender Without Retiring Bob Stoops?

bob stoops

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, June 7, 2017 7:40 PM GMT

Stunning news out of college football Wednesday as Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, the longest-tenured coach in the sport, has decided to step down after 18 seasons even though the Sooners are among the 2017 national title favorites.

Very interesting news out of Norman, Okla., on Wednesday as Sooners coach Bob Stoops, the longest-tenured head coach in the FBS, is retiring immediately and will be replaced by offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. Stoops joined Oklahoma as a rookie head coach in 1999 and guided OU to the 2000 national championship, 10 Big 12 titles and reached double-digit wins in 14 seasons, including a 11-2 mark in 2016. Last year, Oklahoma made its 18th straight bowl appearance under Stoops, a Sugar Bowl victory over Auburn that pushed his bowl record to 9-9. Overall, Stoops is the winningest coach in OU history with a 190-48 record.

I believe there’s something going on behind the scenes here because Stoops is only 56 (57 in September) and his Sooners appear poised to repeat as Big 12 champions and contend for a national title. They are -150 on BetOnline college football props to win the Big 12, which this year reintroduces a conference title game, and +1200 to win a national championship.

It’s strange timing coming after spring practices and with a little over a month until the Sooners start fall camp. Riley is just 33, becoming the youngest head coach in the FBS, but is highly-regarded around the country. Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports is reporting Oklahoma has been preparing for this for about a year.

Riley was hired at OU after working under Ruffin McNeill at East Carolina from 2010-14. Riley won the 2015 Broyles Award (nation's top assistant coach) after the Sooners' offense ranked fourth nationally in scoring (43.5 ppg) and seventh in total offense (530.2 ypg).

Last year, Oklahoma led the nation in passing efficiency rating (193.79 set an FBS record) and pass completion percentage (.706), and ranked second in total offense (554.8 ypg) and third in scoring offense (43.9 ppg). QB Baker Mayfield and WR Dede Westbrook finished third and fourth in Heisman Trophy voting. While Westbrook is gone, Mayfield returns and is +700 to win the Heisman.

Riley last month got a nice raise and a three-year extension. When that was signed, he had been mentioned by some as a potential successor to Stoops – just not yet. I believe Stoops will coach again and in the NFL. Stoops has two homes in the Chicago area. The Bears might have an opening after this season with the team struggling under John Fox. Just saying.

Oklahoma has a win total of 9.5 on college football futures, with the ‘over’ a -130 favorite. The Sooners, who return 16 starters overall, are likely to be favored in every regular-season game but two: at Ohio State on Sept. 9 and at Oklahoma State on Nov. 4. Oklahoma could be favored in the Bedlam game but won’t be in Columbus. OU opens Sept. 2 at home as a 48-point betting favorite over UTEP. 

Stoops was a fine coach, but the Sooners shouldn't miss a beat under Riley. Think Larry Coker when he took over for Butch Davis at Miami. 

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