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Bob Stoops is happy the bowl system will live to fight another day

The OU football coach said, “What a lot of people don't get, these bowl games matter to young people.”
by Berry Tramel Modified: June 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm •  Published: June 25, 2012

Anthony Stafford will be watching a movie. “Goldfinger” or “The Bodyguard” or “Scarface,” and will see the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.

“Brings back memories,” said Stafford, an OU halfback from 1985-88. “Man, we were there. That kind of stuff sticks with you.”

Bob Stoops will smile when he reads that.

College football's peculiar institution is not dead. The bowl system will live to fight another day. And Stoops is pleased.

Bowls remain a part of the latest playoff plan, a four-team affair that will double the contestants if the sport's presidential oversight committee signs off Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

And that's a good thing for several reasons. Not the least of which is the reward for the players.

Bowls provide neutral sites and tradition and generally strong organizing bodies, all of which this sport needs.

But the vacation reward for players is the most redeeming element of bowl games.

Stoops actually got fired up the other day just talking about it.

“What a lot of people don't get, these bowl games matter to young people,” Stoops said.

“We recruit, all of us do, some kids from … disadvantage backgrounds that have never been out of their little community and here on campus.

“We get to take them to Miami for five, six days. Go to five-star restaurants, stay in five-star hotels. Or Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl.”

The hospitality for players at most bowl games is excellent. The better the team, the better the bowl, the better the locale.

Five days in Shreveport or Birmingham is OK. Five days in Los Angeles or Tampa is fantastic.

Stoops said the vacation aspect of bowls won't change even if it's a national semifinal. He will treat the trip same as always. And should the Sooners win, the national title game becomes the total-business trip.

“You have your bowl experience,” Stoops said, “then have a game eight days, six days, seven days, nine days later, whatever it is, we're all working on the same rules.

“Then you don't have to have the bowl experience. You've already had it.”

The proposed plan is for the title game to be put up for bid, ala the Super Bowl. Cities like Arlington and Atlanta have been mentioned. The semifinal bowls would be New Year's Eve and/or New Year's Day. Then a week later comes the title game.

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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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