OU playing a tough non-conference schedule: advantageous or not?
How OU should schedule its non-conference slate has become a big topic of discussion lately, especially after the Sooners lost non-conference games to BYU and Miami last season.
As it stands, OU has scheduled out at least one big-time foe every year through 2020. The Sooners play Florida State and Cincinnati this season. Florida State and TCU await next year. The rest of the decade, OU has a home-and-home series scheduled with Notre Dame, Tennessee, Ohio State and LSU.
For the better part of his time in Norman, Stoops supported playing such a challenging out-of-conference schedule. But with other schools, like Texas, dodging tough non-conference schedules, Stoops has begun to change his mind.
Said Stoops: “I’m not so sure I embrace it anymore. Joe (Castiglione) and I have felt when you put it all together other than this past year we’ve been in the top 10 usually and we feel there’s always a marquee game or two and if you’re going to be that type of team your going to play those kinds of teams. Again, I don’t know how much it advantages you. In the end, it all gets down to if you lose one of those games by a point to one of those teams and someone else plays four teams that are easy and you have one more loss than they do, they’re gonna be ranked ahead of you. Everyone talks about it now, but at the end of year it doesn’t happen. Most of you guys rank them by who’s lost and who hasn’t, and forget about who plays who.”
Stoops has good points. (Except the AP poll doesn’t figure into the BCS, anymore. The Coaches poll does. And the Harris poll — made up of ex-players, ex-coaches, ex-athletics department personnel, and some writers — does as well. The media probably has some influence on rankings, with what they show on TV, or write in newspapers. But they don’t, for the most part, influence the rankings directly. The coaches, however, do. One-third of the rankings, in fact. So, the coaches are largely to blame for what Stoops is talking about.)
But going forward, there’s not a lot Stoops can do about it. Except to renege on verbal contracts, which I don’t believe Castiglione would do, provided the conference landscape doesn’t shift again in the near future.
But not everyone is against OU’s philosophy. Oklahoman columnist Berry Tramel has been very outspoken in his support for the Sooners playing tough teams out of conference.
He’s not alone.
I asked Travis Lewis what he thought about the way OU has scheduled out-of-conference.
Said Lewis: “I love it. I love the way coach Stoops schedules our non-conference. Win all your games, and at the end of the season, it will be undisputed, you should be playing in that national championship. That’s how I look it.”
How do you look at it?
Is a tough non-conference schedule advantageous?
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