NORMAN — Mid-November. Leaves fall. Weather cools. Pumpkins bust. Bob Stoops rumors fly. The latest, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times, claims Stoops has "told confidants he would be interested in talking” to Notre Dame.
Here we go again. It happens every autumn. Stoops is going to Notre Dame. Or Michigan. Or Florida. Or the Denver Broncos. Some day, a rumor will turn true. But not this one. Not Notre Dame. "There’s not even a job (open) at Notre Dame,” Stoops said Monday night. "That’s ridiculous. Some guy makes stuff up.” Stoops’ Sooners have staggered through a miserable year. A 6-4 record. Injuries and penalties and general sloppiness have led to four maddening defeats in games there for the taking. But Stoops’ denials ring true. They’ve rung true for several years. OU is not the best job in football. But there aren’t many above it. And certainly not Notre Dame. Starting with the weather. I’ve talked to some Stoops confidants myself. He’s grown to love the Sun Belt and isn’t all that crazy about leaving. The odds are long that Stoops would leave OU for another college job. But if he ever did, he’s going south or west. Not north. Notre Dame, of course, has problems far beyond the average temperature of South Bend. Bob Davie (1997-01) and Tyrone Willingham (2002-04) were fired after identical winning percentages (.583). Charlie Weis’ current winning percentage in five seasons: .583, so he probably will be fired, too. When enough coaches go .583, reality sets in. Notre Dame has become a .583 job. Would Stoops be enticed by a better job in better weather? A Florida State or a Florida, should they ever come open? It’s possible.