COLUMN: Sooner football teams' season 'just another typical OU season'
Season recaps are inherently difficult.
In a single column, it’s nearly impossible to summarize, evaluate and produce some sort of comprehensive final judgment of the successes and failures of a 12-game football season. Seven hundred twenty minutes of football and the countless hours in between are not reduced easily to 500 words.
So that won’t be happening here.
In no way will this column attempt to be a complete summary of this season, and no judgments will be made intentionally (but I’m sure a few inevitably and unconsciously will sneak in). Think of this as SparkNotes for the 2012 season. Let’s start from the top:
Ever the perennial powerhouse, OU’s football team began the season ranked No. 4 and was predicted to win conference title No. 44. The Sooners also had an outside chance of returning to the national championship game for the first time since 2008.
But before the season started, the Sooners lost two seniors — guard Tyler Evans and All-Big 12 center Ben Habern— on an already-thin offensive line for the entire year due to injury. OU had yet to step onto the field, and the infamous injury bug that plagued otherwise-talented OU teams in the past and undermined their high expectations — most recently in 2009 — had struck again.
But the Sooners persevered, going 10-2 and winning a conference title (which is blemished by a “co” prefix that just so happens to be invalidated by a loss to the other co-champion — Kansas State — but let’s not get caught up in technicalities).
This season was just another par for the course under coach Bob Stoops, who has won at least ten games in 11 of his 14 seasons and a conference title in each even-numbered year since 1999.
This season also saw Stoops and senior quarterback Landry Jones etch their names into the record books, immortalizing themselves in Sooner lore.
Stoops surpassed legendary OU coach Bud Wilkinson for second place on the Sooners’ all-time wins list, and at 149, he’s just nine wins away from supplanting “The King” Barry Switzer as the winningest coach in OU football history.
The often-criticized Jones overcame scapegoat status following his costly two-turnover performance in the Sooners’ loss to Kansas State and became the winningest quarterback in OU history and the Big 12’s all-time leader in passing yards. He also ranks fifth in NCAA history in that category.
But with the good comes the bad, and 2012 marked the first time OU lost two games at Owen Field since 1998, when the John Blake-led Sooners went 5-6 — the Sooners’ last losing season.
In OU’s defense, both losses came to top-five teams, and even with them added, one can still count on a single hand the number of home games the Sooners have lost during Stoops’ tenure. But the Sooners’ once widely-recognized reputation for being unbeatable at home is marred, at least for now.
With all that in mind, the Sooners are now back in Norman — mythical conference championship in tow — and will be headed to the Cotton Bowl to play former conference playmate Texas A&M, which, incidentally enough, caught some flak before the season for claiming co-Big 12 championships as conference titles after departing to the SEC.
So was 2012 a success or a failure?
Depends on whom you ask, but most would probably say it’s just another typical OU season.
Dillon Phillips is a journalism junior and assisstant sports editor for the Daily. Follow him on Twitter at @DillonPhillips_.