Of course, Stoops won the 2000 national championship with a team that wasn't talent-rich. So blue-chip stock and star ratings aren't the only variable.
“Lot of different forms of talent,” said OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who quarterbacked that 2000 team. “Lot of intangible characteristics and traits ultimately determine who and what you can be as a team.”
Josh Almighty said the 2000 team came to work every day focused and accountable to each other. “That's why that team went on and did some of the things it did. The special teams around here have handled themselves in that way.”
So how have the present Sooners acquitted themselves?
“We're trying to get these young guys to buy in and do a lot of those things,” Heupel said. “It's a daily process. That's what happens when you get the opportunity to deal with 18- to 22-year-olds.”
Maybe these Sooners have straightened out, maybe not. But the comings and goings of players OU was counting on – Stacy McGee, Jaz Reynolds, Casey Walker – shows that it's a work in progress.
Diminish the talent pool, even if only slightly, and diminish the culture of commitment, even if only slightly, and you've got a diminished football program, even if only slightly.
Sometimes the difference between winning and losing is slight.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.