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Oklahoma Sooners Football | A Traditionally Overrated Program?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

With the release of the Preseason Coaches' Poll earlier this year, the Oklahoma Sooners have begun to draw attention for all the wrong reasons. Behind three first place votes and a No. 3 ranking, "overrated" murmurs can be heard by computer screens across the nation. However, there is a clear line between overrated and underacheiving.

During the Bob Stoops era, the bar has consistently been set high. A national brand, recruiting across the nation, eight conference titles, and a national championship continuously stir up unreal expectations from the fans or as it is referred to in Oklahoma..."the Monster." Regardless, the rankings tell the story here.

The metric commonly used is simple: the preseason ranking and final ranking are compared with the differential being added up whether that be positive or negative. However, I am proposing a new system based on groupings of five. Usually, when looking at a program during the preseason I constantly hear "they should fall in the 8-12 or the 10-15 range" and so on.

Therefore, my metric in determining whether a team is overrated is this: +3/-3, any more movement would justify as being underrated/overrated. My logic: If the political polls build in a small bubble to cover the margin of error, is it wrong to expect football polls to do the same?

Year Preseason Rank Final Rank Differential
1999 NR NR 0
2000 21 1 +20
2001 4 6 -2
2002 1 5 -4
2003 1 3 -2
2004 2 3 -1
2005 5 22 -17
2006 8 11 -3
2007 10 8 +2
2008 4 5 -1
2009 3 NR -23
2010 7 6 +1
2011 2 16 -14
2012 4 15 -11
2013 16 6 +10
2014 3 ? ?

By my metric set forth above, Oklahoma has been grossly overrated in 5-of-the-15 seasons (2002,2005,2009*, 2011, & 2012). That is 33.3% of the total leaving us with the ranking being correct 66.6% of the time when leaving room for the general +3/-3 in polls.

A case could be made to erase two of the season from the list of "overrated" seasons. In 2009, the Heisman winning quarterback, Sam Bradford, went down with a shoulder injury. Expected to miss two weeks before making a return, he would re-injure it sidelining him for the remainder of the season. However, had Bradford been able to return, he would would have been with leading receiver and All-American tight end, Jermaine Gresham who underwent season ending knee surgery. The losses drastically changed the outlook of the season for Oklahoma and without those two, the team would not have garnered a top five ranking in the preseason.

Again, in 2011 the Sooners lost two major cogs to the offensive wheel. Dominique Whaley shocked the nation by earning the starting role at running back as a walk-on. Suffering an injury sidelined him and the running game never truly recovered. Then, the leading receiver, Ryan Broyles, was lost to injury as Landry Jones scrambled to find a new security blanket.

In comparison, the Sooners have been widely underrated in 2-of-the-15 season under Stoops (2000 & 2013). Without the pressure of being a conference favorite and title contender, OU has proved all others wrong by rising to the occasion.

Conclusion? I would argue that Bob Stoops and company are not consistently overrated as only 1 out of every 3 years have they faltered leaving the majority on the side of properly ranked. With the numbers on paper, what is your take?