HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
September 25, 2006

Stoopid is as stupid does for Bob Stoops

By Matt Kane

Bob Stoops is being, well, stupid.

The Oklahoma football coach was seen all last week complaining about the officiating and instant replay crew that worked the Sooners’ game at Oregon Sept. 16.

He may have been right in saying the crew screwed up, but get over it.

Although the camera angle was not right on the line in question, it did look as if an Oregon player touched the football on the Ducks’ on-side kick before it crossed the minimum 10 yards. Oregon recovered the loose ball, and went on to score on the late-game drive, to win the game 34-33.

The on-side kick in question was reviewed and, upon further review, it was not reversed.

Stoops opened his weekly press conference Tuesday by admitting his team could have done more to win the game before the point in question. He then went on to whine about how the blown call made he and his team feel.

“It’s undeniable that the result of the officiating mistakes changed the football game. It isn’t like it happened with 10 minutes to go in the football game and a lot could have happened — we were taking a knee. If we could successfully take a knee for three downs, we’re done and we win by six as an underdog on the road,” he said. “Now, what’s your reaction? We were denied all of that. That satisfaction going home on the plane, that satisfaction in the locker room, though not perfect, winning the football game, was taken away from us. The rankings and all of that is affected by it. So, our situation changed drastically in those moments.”

Indeed, it may have. But what would the difference have been if the officials blew the call in the first 10 minutes of the game rather than the final 10 minutes, Bob?

And let’s not forget, the bad call did not put Oregon ahead on the scoreboard.

Poor pass coverage did. Oklahoma led the game 33-27 when the Ducks got the ball back. It Stoops is worried about moving up in the polls, maybe he should work on getting a defense that doesn’t give up 34 points, and a defense that can shut down the opposition when the pressure is on.

Stoops’ beef is not with Oregon, but with the Pac-10 Conference, which supplied the referees. He went on in his press conference to almost threaten the pullout of a future game at Washington in 2008.

“There is no question that Joe Castiglione and I may reconsider that game (at Washington) if the rule (about only Pac-10 referees working on Pac-10 fields) isn’t changed,” Stoops said. “I think it’s justified that we look into that.”

I do understand Stoops’ commenting on the situation the way he did. When you coach a nationaly-ranked football program, you can’t get away with saying nothing.

I was glad to see Stoops did go on to preview the Sooners’ game against Middle Tennessee. At least he didn’t forget they still had more games to play. Actually, Stoops’ complaints are less ridiculous than those made by his boss, Oklahoma University President Dave Boren.

Instead of worrying about a budget for the English department, Boren was writing letters to the Pac-10 Conference, which provided the officiating crew.

“The Big 12 should request that the game should not go into the record books as a win or a loss by either team in light of the level of officiating mistakes,” ESPN.com reported Boren wrote in the letter. Yeah, and the Chicago Cubs should get to replay the Bartman Ball game.

The bottom line is, officials make mistakes, and, unless the fix was in, the Pac-10 crew made a mistake. The crew was suspended, but a bit of irony turned up late last week.

Because the conference didn’t have enough officials, the referee from the Oregon/Oklahoma game, David Cuaia, was excused from his suspention, and worked the Arizona/USC game. The irony is Arizona is coached by Mike Stoops, Bob’s brother.

To, Bob, President Boren, and the rest of Sooner nation, get over it. You have nine games left in the season, including games against Texas and Oklahoma State, so you might want to worry about the upcoming schedule. Doing anything else would be, well, Stoopid.

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