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December 22, 2008

The system favors the Sooners

Commentary

It’s probably no way to run a sport, but that’s college football for you.

In what other sport is next year’s recruiting class diligently being put together over the course of the season? In what other sport is the national champion decided while the coaching carousel simultaneously turns.

In every other relevant college sport, coaching staffs are given the opportunity to put recruiting to bed early. Only on the gridiron is it not allowed.

It’s no way to run a sport, yet it all plays to Oklahoma’s advantage heading into the BCS championship game Jan. 8 in Dolphins Stadium.

Bob Stoops met the media Tuesday and some of the questions centered on two Sooners who won’t be around to play. DeMarco Murray was injured returning the opening kick at the Big 12 title game and will not return, while a back injury has put defensive tackle DeMarcus Granger on the disabled list.

Murray’s loss takes a playmaker off the field. But the Sooners are deeper than most at the tailback position. Granger’s absence may be more handicapping, particularly when Florida tries running the ball.

Then there is the curious case of Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen, also Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen. Hired to run the Bulldogs program following the resignation of Sylvester Croom two weeks ago, the first thing Mullen did was hit the recruiting trail. Unless Mullen has returned home for Chrstmas, it is where he remains. After Christmas, however, it’s a different story.

“I think he’s going to coach,” Florida coach Urban Meyer said exactly a week ago. ”I talked to him … and right now the plan is he’s going to come back right after Christmas.”

Also, in the interim, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said he didn’t think Mullen would be calling the plays. He figured it might be done by committee. Whether Mullen will call the plays or not call the plays, he wasn’t at Gator practice last week nor this week.

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