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Berry Tramel: Oklahoma's Mike Stoops will have to scheme to contain Johnny Football and Texas A&M

Oklahoman Modified: December 6, 2012 at 4:14 pm •  Published: December 6, 2012
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Why wouldn't Gundy take the TN job? That job is a lot better than OSU. If you think Gundy will fail because the previous coaches had, then why didn't Bob Stoops fail after succeeding John Blake

OSU is a better job than Tennessee. You can win big easier at OSU now than you can at Tennessee. The Vols have fallen to No. 7 or No. 8 in the 14-team SEC. OSU is clearly the No. 3 program in the 10-team Big 12, and OSU is moving farther ahead from the pack than the pack is gaining on OSU. You can win a national title easier at OSU than at Tennessee, reach a BCS bowl easier at OSU than at Tennessee, win a conference title easier at OSU than at Tennessee. I suppose that could change, but there's no evidence to suggest it's going to change anytime soon.

Is Mike Holder the principal individual at Oklahoma State that developed the relationship with T. Boone? Who do you think T. Boone would prefer to leave the program, Holder or Gundy?

Holder and Boone are virtual best friends. Some have likened them to father and son. So does that answer your question?

How big of a giant middle finger to Holder was that meeting with Tennessee in Gundy's Stillwater house?

I thought it was fairly abrasive. I think it was a poor PR move by Gundy. Now, if he's really interested in going to Tennessee, fine. But if he's trying to milk something else out of OSU — power, this time — that's a bad move. I don't think Holder is in the mood.

Will Gundy's flirtation with other jobs bring some stability to the assistant coaching situation in Stillwater (especially Monken)?

I don't guess I understand the question. I don't see how the flirtation brings stability to anything. I think Monken, especially, will get some head coaching opportunities, and he might go. That would be a big loss.

Are you sure Gundy is wanting to play lesser foes on the schedule?

Yes. I know this because I've heard him tell me himself. In fact, Gundy gave an interesting take on what losing to Arizona this year did to the Cowboys, primarily knock them out of the top 25 and off the ESPN crawl. I pointed out that that game also put Arizona in the top 25 and onto the ESPN craw.

Could you see Gundy bolting Stillwater as soon as his youngest son graduates from high school?

No, I don't think that's a big deal. I mean, I think Gundy would like to stay in Stillwater, but he's still got what, 7-8-9 years? Who knows what the landscape will look like then. Odds are that all kinds of things will have changed.

Glad we don't have to consider it now, but does OSU even have another coaching option with OSU roots besides Gundy? I don't think so.

I think Todd Monken would be elevated and the staff would be invited to stay. That's what I think.

Will the Gundy-to-another-job rumors now commence after every season ends?

Depends on the relationship. The rumors didn't have to pop up this year, had Gundy not courted Tennessee and Arkansas for leverage.

You are crazy if you actually think that OSU is a better job than Tennessee. One draws over 100k, the other struggles to draw 50k.

No, OSU does not struggle to draw 50,000. And Tennessee no longer draws over 100,000. There are big patches of empty seats at Neyland Stadium, and that's one reason the job is not as good. Too high expectations. They will fire you quickly. Tennessee fired Phil Fulmer, who had won a national title. OSU has been in a BCS bowl more recently than Tennessee, has been in national title contention more recently than Tennessee and has just as good or better facilities and recruiting area than Tennessee. The only thing Tennessee has on OSU is tradition and a bigger fan base. And the latter is a curse.

Hasn't Mike Holder butted head with practically everyone in the program? I remember stories about Gary Ward and him from my college days.

Butted heads? Maybe. I don't know. He can be a difficult personality to deal with.

 

ON THE OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS:

Any insight as to why OSU fell in the bowl choices? Was it rumor of Gundy conflict, etc.?

No, I don't think so. I think it was a series of unfortunate circumstances. Let's go down the list. Alamo? Always likes Texas, when it gets a chance. Tempe? OSU was there last year and TCU was a good option. Holiday? Was really fired up to get a team that had never been there before. Baylor, WVU, ISU, somebody. Houston? There's the real question. Why did Houston pass on OSU for Tech? Might chalk it up to politics. Probably some Tech people on the board, although I suppose it's possible there were some OSU people. Pinstripe? No brainer to take West Virginia. If OU had made the Sugar, then you've got Texas in the Cotton, I'd guess TCU in the Alamo, Baylor in the Wild Wings, West Virginia in the Holiday, Tech in the Houston and maybe OSU in the Pinstripes. So Northern Illinois kept OSU out of New York City.

I think it's ridiculous that OSU has to play an awful Purdue team in the Heart of Dallas of bowl. The 3rd place team in the Big XII has no business playing a middle of the pack (at best) Big 10 team. Thoughts?

Like I just wrote, sometimes that's the way it goes. If OSU had beaten Baylor, everything is different. OSU at 8-4 overall and 6-3 in the Big 12, OSU probably is back in Tempe, at worst. The killer is this. Had Penn State and Ohio State been eligible, then a better team would be playing OSU. Let's see, the Big Ten's three Florida bowl teams would be Nebraska, Penn State and Michigan. So Wisconsin probably would be in Tempe, Michigan State in Houston and Northwestern in Dallas. That wouldn't be a horrible game. OSU-Northwestern.

OSU's best offensive coordinator in recent years? Gundy, Holgorsen, or Monken?

If someone wants to argue Holgorsen, I'd have to listen to the reasons awfully close. I mean, one year, transformed the offense into an explosive machine that is still humming along, even though Weeden is long gone.

COMPARING OKLAHOMA AND OKLAHOMA STATE:

What are your early projections for the 2013 OU and OSU football teams?

I think I'll say OU 2nd and OSU 3rd in Big 12 preseason projections. Behind TCU. I think both teams will be good.

Travis Ford and Lon Kruger seems to have their programs headed in the right direction. Do you think they can return to where they were under Sutton and Sampson?

I agree that the programs are headed in the right direction. But I don't see either program getting back to the salad days. The Sutton/Sampson era was very special in Bedlam hoops. Those were the days, my friend. Going to be very tough to get back.

Looking into your crystal ball, which coach would you guess will be the first to leave their respective universities, Stoops or Gundy?

Oh man, great question. Clearly, Gundy has the hotter feet. He's sort of looking. On the other hand, Stoops has been around a lot longer and could just walk away some day. I guess I'd say Gundy is more likely to leave, since he's opened the door to the possibility.

 

ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL ACROSS THE NATION:

The Big XII has become a much less predictable football conference than in the past. I think it is the most interesting conference in the country. Agree?

Most interesting? No. I'd say the SEC is the most interesting. But clearly the Big 12 has found some parity. Four schools have won the last four titles. That's pretty rare.

How do you see Notre Dame matching up with Alabama? I know we have a month to consider this but I'd be interested to know your thoughts. Thanks.

I think it will be a great game. I think Notre Dame's defense will stop Alabama. I don't think the Irish offense will do much with Bama, so I expect a low-scoring game. I'll take Bama in a close game.

 

ON THE OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER:

Does Kevin Martin actually fit the Thunder better than Harden?

I'd say no, but Martin is fitting just fine. The loss of Harden hasn't hurt the Thunder so far. It might not.

The Thunder is playing great. Your thoughts?

They are playing great. But one warning. The easy part of the schedule is early. The Thunder has played a bunch of home games and bunch of games against the NBA's dregs. The schedule will stiffen.

 

ON THE NFL:

What's your take on Greg Jennings? Do you think he's going to be the force that he was before his injury or is he still tender?

Great day. I don't know. I doubt Bret Bielema knows, and until Tuesday, he was a football coach in the state of Wisconsin.

 

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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