Let's review what was at stake for Oklahoma on the road at Missouri last Saturday night: the Sooners' perfect record. The No. 1 spot in the BCS standings. First place in the Big 12 South. Down the road, potentially, a conference championship. An undefeated season. A national championship.
Those are some pretty high stakes. Giving up on a competitive football game would be frowned upon even if it was New Mexico taking on Akron , but quitting on a contest with that much riding on it ... it would be unthinkable, right? The coach who did so would be torn apart, lambasted, excoriated, raked over whatever coals the college football world could find, correct?
So we're going to see if that happens to Bob Stoops , because he admitted Monday that he simply gave up at the end of his team's loss in Columbia:
Monday after practice, Stoops was asked to address a couple other curious decisions in the fourth quarter during the Sooners' 36-27 loss to the Tigers.It's true: Oklahoma was facing some incredibly long odds of winning this game. A sputtering offense going 96 yards on the road against one on the country's better defenses, followed by a successul onsides kick recovery, followed by another drive for a field goal -- all in 150 seconds -- was all terribly unlikely.
Notably, why down nine he elected to punt with almost two-and-a-half minutes to play and no timeouts remaining.
"You know what, in the end we weren't scoring twice with two minutes to go on our own 4-yard line," Stoops said.
"I just thought it was futile."
Stoops admitted keeping the score reasonable played into the decision, hoping that a nine-point loss might look better to pollsters than a 16-point loss.
With possession at the OU 4, the Tigers would have had an easy chance of punching the ball in the end zone.
"It's a long year. Who knows how poll people look at scores?" Stoops explained. "Had we had a reasonable amount, some kind of field position, had we shown any signs the previous three plays of making a play, we would have (gone for it). But I didn't see that.
"And I'm coming off three-and-out, interception, three-and-out, some of the prior possessions."
But it wasn't impossible . Stranger things really have happened. Oklahoma still could have won the game. Stoops is right (sort of) that it was probably futile, that his team probably wasn't "scoring twice with two minutes to go on our own 4-yard line." But "probably" is not the same as "definitely." Stoops elected not to try to win a still-winnable game because he thought he would be embarrassed if he failed.
There's a word for that: it's called quitting. When you compare what the Sooners would have risked -- a small handful of pollsters docking the team a small handful of spots, if Missouri had elected to punch in that final score, itself hardly a sure thing -- against the potential rewards of the comeback, is there any defending Stoops' decision? Discretion isn't the better part of valor when it comes to football, especially not when that discretion is based on cravenly trolling for poll votes. Valor is the better part of valor, and Stoops showed none here.
In short: if Derek Dooley 's Volunteers are World War II Germany , Stoops has made his Sooners the Big 12 's France.
HT: Rock-M-Nation .