OU coach Bob Stoops dared to speak against the SEC during the offseason. Stoops has more insight than most into college football's Goliath conference.
Call it blood and water. Stoops not only has coached in the SEC, but his brother, Mark, now is head coach at Kentucky.
Stoops was Steve Spurrier's defensive coordinator at Florida for three seasons, 1996-98. The Gators won the national title in 1996.
Stoops admits he loved his days at Florida and still talks of Spurrier as his primary college football mentor. And Stoops' family loyalty is unassailable.
Yet Stoops took on the conference of those devotions.
“We don't worry about that,” Stoops said of his brother. “He laughs at me. He knew, if he was in my position, he'd say the same thing. He laughed. He asked me why I was getting you guys all riled up.”
Here's what Stoops said in the offseason, and how on target he was:
* On the gap between the SEC and the Big 12: “It depends on what gap you are talking about. What are the bottom six doing? The bottom of the SEC, what did they do? They fired their coaches … I don't know, I'm just asking you. The whole league isn't that way.”
Stoops' math is a little off. In 2012, a mighty gulf separated the bottom eight of the 14-team SEC from the league's elite. Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Auburn and Kentucky went a combined 0-30 against Alabama, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Florida.
Arkansas, Tennessee, Auburn and Kentucky have new coaches.
So Stoops' point has some merit. It also has some demerit. Among the SEC dregs is Auburn, which won the national championship in 2010, and Arkansas, which played in the Sugar Bowl in January 2011.
* “They've had the best team in college football. They haven't had the whole best conference.”