NORMAN — Oklahoma doesn’t play near as well on the road as it does at home.
Tell me something else Bob Stoops doesn’t know.
This is how comical it’s become.
Tuesday at Stoops’ weekly press conference, Tulsa World beat writer John Hoover arrived prepared. More prepared than the Sooner coach as it turned out.
Trying to get to the bottom of OU’s road woes, the prying began.
“I would like to see everybody else’s record and I bet it’s not much different,” Stoops said. “The disparity is probably because of our home record. I bet everybody else is around that away from home.”
Hoover was trying to tell Stoops they weren’t. Stoops didn’t want to hear it. Wednesday morning, Hoover spelled it out in The World.
Going back to 2006, judged against other schools that play for championships the way OU plays for championship — Alabama, Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas and USC — none has been as good at home as the Sooners, while all have been better on the road.
Further, OU has outscored opponents by a 30.6 point average at home over the same time frame, and by an average of 7.9 away from home. That is, over time, the Sooners have been 22.7 points better at home than away.
Of the seven other national powers, Florida has been 18.2 points better at home than away. Nobody else has been more than 15 points better at home than away.
So off was Stoops’ perception of reality, it’s unclear what the biggest issue facing Sooner football is heading into Saturday night’s game at Texas A&M.
The fact the Sooners are so much worse away than at home? The fact the coach appears to be unaware of this fact? Or, maybe, the coach is aware of it, but wants everybody to believe it’s not so bad, which has its own consequences?
Offensive coordinator, Kevin Wilson, God love him, who may be the only college coach in America who would ever begin an on-the-record quote with, “No one says this, but …,” has an explanation even if his boss doesn’t.
“No one says this, but in my opinion, I think we play so well at home that we start thinking we’re pretty good and we lose our edge,” he said. “And then we come off the road and we’ve gotten beat. Now, we’re mad, so we’re focused and we practice harder.”
It is so novel a point — the Sooners are so bad away because they’re so good at home — it might be true.
Yet the more interesting question is if Stoops has lost his edge. Or, at the very least, offered up a real blind spot for all to see.
Because whether the denial of his team’s road woes is real or fabricated, neither approach squares with the “No excuses” philosophy that really seemed to set Stoops apart from every other coach in America when he arrived in Norman.
That Stoops appeared far less bothered by anything insinuated about his team, good or bad, right or wrong, than by his own sense of expected excellence.
Stoops was asked if quarterback Landry Jones has struggled away from home.
“No,” he said.
Then he started talking about the whole offense again.
Jones’ fourth quarter at Missouri was referenced.
“Well, again, who was open? Nobody,” Stoops said. “It isn’t just him.”
Stoops has made excuses for Jones. From his only being a (redshirt) sophomore, to everybody’s else’s responsibility in the offense.
It’s a good thing Jones isn’t a kicker. Now there’s a position Stoops is willing to hold accountable.
The bigger point is this. Consciously or unconsiously, planned or spontaneous, Stoops has softened toward his teams, or hardened toward the folks asking about his teams.
Then, he wanted answers, too.
Now, he defends and denies.
It may not mean a thing to his players, the ones who for some unknown reason are so much better at home than away.