Heading into the locker room for halftime during 2003 BCS title game, Stoops was stopped for the obligatory ABC interview. When Lynn Swann asked Stoops about LSU's "number one defense," Stoops actually stopped to correct Swann on a semantic point (that while LSU has the top-rated scoring defense, Oklahoma actually had the best total yardage defense ... gee, thanks for the clarification, coach), before moving on to blame the refs for his team's deficit. Not only did Stoops fail to give his opponent any credit or respect whatsoever, he actually went out of his way to say that the only reason LSU was ahead was because of OU's own poor play and because of the officiating.
The very next year, Oklahoma was back in the big game. The Sooners had edged out a fantastic Auburn team in the silly computer rankings to "earn" the right to play USC for the BCS title. Unfortunately, the computers didn't look so good that night and neither did the Sooners, as the Trojans led by the rather incredible score of 45-10 at the half.
Granted, no one wants to have a microphone shoved in his face at a time like that, but this was the chance for Stoops to be a good loser and to win some people over in the process. Something along the lines of, "Wow, they are playing fabulous football" or "I'm at a loss for words" would have worked just fine. Instead, when asked about USC's prolific offense, Stoops said that it was all because of Oklahoma's poor tackling.
I remember sitting in front of the TV, mouth gaping. I couldn't believe that a coach would still refuse to give his opponent credit when they had hung six touchdowns on him in a single half. Bad tackling? Not sure what good it does you to tackle well when guys are hauling in 50-yard bombs in the end zone, but then again, I'm not part of the Oklahoma football elite, so what do I know?
Anyway, those games really soured me on Stoops. So when the head coach with the "No Excuses" mantra started whining about the Pac-10 conference's rules and bemoaning that apologies and suspensions couldn't get that game back and threatening to boycott a scheduled game, I just got downright sick of the whole thing. Enough. Turn off the TV, ignore the latest articles, just get these poor sports out of my face.
Sympathy is quite a funny thing. You never quite know when you are going to gain it and when you might lose it. For about 24 hours, Oklahoma had it in spades. Largely ignoring the fact that they had a chance to win the game with a field goal in the final seconds, people everywhere were up in arms about this whole situation.