With the utter lack of pretty much anything resembling news, aside from all the vomit inducing talk about the Longhorn Network, coming out of Big 12 media days we're sadly left with little to discuss for the next 39 days. However following along as I did throughout Monday and Tuesday, I was intrigued by a question that started form in my mind. It's one that I'm sure has been asked before at different times in the heated rivalry between OU and UT, but given the hysteria that seemed to surround the burnt orange contingent in Dallas earlier this week (despite their putrid performance last year) I think it's worth asking again.
Are Bob Stoops and Mack Brown held to different standards. I ask because I'm left to wonder why there appears to be very little criticism of Brown, both from a national and fan perspective, considering the season they're coming off of and my firm belief that things would be much different in Sooner Nation is the situation was reversed. Now before anyone goes flying off the handle, let me say I get that one year does not a coach make. Look, as big of a Texas hater as I am even I can't argue with Brown's track record of success in Austin. One 5-7 season doesn't erase all that success and while I think back-to-back losing seasons would change things for him pretty significantly, we're a long ways from that being a reality since 2011 has yet to even kickoff. That said as I mentioned above and we'll get more into after the jump, I'm quite confident that were their roles reversed things would be quite different amongst both the national media and the respective fan bases.
But before we go any further, understand where this is coming from. I'm not whining about whether or not Stoops has it harder than Mack. That's not what this is about at all, or at least not how I'm intending it to come across. More of a hypothetical for the sake of conversation about how it seems we as OU fans and you as UT fans treat our coaches differently. Ultimately, all that really matters is that each respective fan base is happy with the guy they have in charge so I just ask that you keep that in mind as you go forward.
There is little point in sitting here and rambling off all the relevant stats for each coach, you've all likely heard them countless times before and more to the point this isn't necessarily about who is the better coach. The point that I'm attempting to make, probably poorly, is that here we were at media days and really throughout the entire offseason and hardly anyone is asking Mack the tough questions about their 5-7 season. This is a guy, who like I said before, has had incredible success in the past. Yet for all that success, he's only He seems to still have the same revered standing with both the local and national media alike and for lack of a better word, appears to be getting somewhat of a free pass for last year.
Meanwhile you have a guy like Bob Stoops, who has won seven Big XII championships, played in four BCS MNC games (which no other coach has done by the way), never had a losing season, and yet he repeatedly gets crap from the media and some in Sooner Nation. He'd be the first to tell you he never asked or wanted the "Big Game Bob" moniker, that was bestowed upon him by the same people who rip him for, in their eyes, no longer living up to it. The media. His critics, of which there are many for some reason and who magically appear only when it's convenient, will be quick to point out that his record in this four MNC games is only 1-3. Can't argue that, it is what it is. However, I've never really followed this logic as it's pretty much impossible to win a national championship if you don't play in the game that determines it. So while I, and I suspect he, would welcome any criticism over the USC debacle the other two losses were close, hard fought battles that really could have gone either way. Additionally, it's as if the loss in those games immediately erases the required success they would have had to achieve to even be playing it in the first place. Again, this makes zero sense.
So what I find odd is that you don't hear anyone, and I mean anyone, dubbing Brown "Mail it in Mack" despite the fact that he's only won two conference championships in 13 years. Or the fact that UT has only played in two MNC games under his watch. Or the fact that he's coming off a losing season, which again is something Stoops has never had to do. Or when you consider the resources at his disposal and all the inherent advantages the University of Texas provides and yet how little he's actually accomplished. Yet despite all of that it doesn't seem as if he's receiving very much, if any, criticism from those in the media or UT fans and I'm kind of amazed by this.
So I ask you, would things be different if it were Stoops who had the lesser accomplishments that Mack does? Now again, don't get crazy, as that's not meant to imply that Mack and UT don't win. Clearly that's not the case, but do you put more stock in pure wins or winning your conference? In playing in a bowl game or making a BCS bowl game. I suppose it's in the eye of the beholder, but I'd like to think that even the biggest homer could admit the difference between those things. Take a moment and ask yourself what would things be like if Bob Stoops were coming off a 5-7 season? Would Stoops be under more pressure headed into 2011 than Mack appears to be right now? Again, I say yes. Definitely.
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure why I believe this to be the case. I guess you have to start with who is doing the 'holding' with respect to the "standard." Do OU fans have higher standards that UT fans? I don't really think that's true. Both schools' expectations are high year in and year out and both coaches are expected to win and win big. So do OU fans place a more unrealistic expectation on Stoops than UT fans do on Mack? Perhaps that is the case. Maybe I'm just totally misreading the situation, but I just don't get the sense from Texas fans that they're as upset as I believe OU fans would be. Maybe they're just more calm minded than we are? Or maybe they've just bought into the sales job that Mack feeds them every year (lord knows he can sling it) and this has quieted their criticism?
Regardless, it's a unique question to pose in that it really is dependent on each individual fan's opinion. Now there will almost always be a group of fans (size indeterminate) that shares that same opinion and some will be louder than others, thus garnering more attention, but that rarely means they're opinion is the correct one. At the end of the day, I guess I'm just curious if (1) OU fans agree with me that Stoops would be under more pressure than Mack appears to be and (2) Have I misread how UT fans feel about Mack right now headed into 2011? or I suppose (3) Does anybody really care?