The biggest recruit Bob Stoops landed this past year might just be his brother Mike Stoops.
After a 1-5 start at Arizona last year, Mike got fired midway through the season and spent the rest of the year watching football instead of storming up and down the sideline. What he witnessed of the Sooners defense was something that would have made him red in the face.
In the Sooners' three losses in 2011, they gave up 40-plus points each time.
Oct. 22, 2011: Texas Tech 41, Oklahoma 38.
Nov. 19, 2011: Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38
Dec. 3, 2011: Oklahoma State 44, Oklahoma 10
Bob Stoops had seen enough by the end of last year. He didn't fire defensive coordinator Brent Venables, but he brought in reinforcements in January when he hired his brother to be co-defensive coordinator. Venables and Mike Stoops had been co-defensive coordinators from 1999-2003 until Mike left for Arizona and Venables no longer shared the title. When Mike returned, Venables left a week later to take the DC job at Clemson.
In defense of the job Venables did in Mike's absence, the offenses in the Big 12 have improved through the years. Last season, for example, the Big 12 had four of the seven top-ranked offfenses in college football. In Mike's last year at Oklahoma in 2003, only Texas Tech ranked in the top 15 in total offense.
So maybe it's not fair to constrast how Mike's defenses compared to the defenses at OU since he left. The numbers, however, are striking.
Mike Stoops' era
*Regular season ranking
Post Mike Stoops' era
"Our track record working together and competing together has been pretty positive," Bob said on Monday at Big 12 media days.
That track record included a four-year stretch from 2000 to 2003 and a national championship, three 12-win seasons and a 46-6 record. In the 2000 national championship game, the Stoops brothers put together a gameplan that held Florida State's offense to three points. That was an offense, led by Heisman winner Chris Weinke, that had averaged 42.4 points per game.
The first year Mike left, the Sooners made it back to the national championship game, where they met USC. That night the Trojans marched up and down the field in a 55-19 win. That was the first time in Bob Stoops six years as head coach that the Sooners gave up more than 40 points. Since then, it's happened 11 more times.
Did the absense of one Stoops' brother game-planning mean that much? We'll never know. But if the Sooners are back at the top of the defensive rankings this year and in the title hunt again, Bob might want to convince his brother that the next head coaching job he's offered isn't worth it.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12.