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Oklahoma football: Co-champs*

by Berry Tramel Published: December 7, 2012

On the Bob Stoops’ television show this week, sitting on the table with host Dean Blevins and a variety of OU coaches was the Big 12 football championship trophy. The Sooners are not subtle about celebrating their title.

Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops

After the 24-17 victory over TCU last Saturday, OU broke out caps and T-shirts proclaiming their title, and the entire team posed for photos with the scoreboard in the background, just as the Sooners had after all those conference championship game victories in Kansas City or Houston or San Antonio.

OU and Kansas State tied for the Big 12 title, and KSU’s 24-19 victory in Norman back in September is a tiebreaker for the Fiesta Bowl berth, but not for conference championship consideration.

However, the whole thing has a certain funny feel to it, because of what Stoops said a year ago. When OU went to OSU for the regular-season finale in 2011, OSU led the Big 12 by a game over the Sooners. An OU victory would have created a tie for the conference championship, and OU would have earned the Fiesta Bowl berth.

Here’s what Stoops said the week of Bedlam 2011: “There will be one (champion). That’s just how I see it. Again, I don’t know any other way to look at it. If you’re all going to play each other, it pretty well sets up that way.”

After beating TCU last Saturday, here’s what Stoops said: “Big 12 champs or co-champs, either way, they’re recognized as champions. There seemed to be a little confusion about it, but there isn’t. … Nobody here made those rules. At the present time, that’s where we’re at.”

Nobody “here” made the rules last year, either. If the Sooners had won in 2011, there would have been co-champs, and OSU would have received a trophy, too.

Historically, the Big Eight always recognized co-championships. As I wrote a year ago, the Sooners have always recognized their co-championships, even when it was shared with a team they lost to, like Nebraska in 1978 and Colorado in 1976.

I don’t blame Stoops for claiming the championship. OU won eight Big 12 games this season. That’s more than all but the 2000, 2003 and 2004 teams won. That’s hard to do.

But it’s disingenuous to change your beliefs year to year. If it’s a title for OU in 2012, it would have been a title for OSU in 2011.


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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