By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Anytime Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops says anything about the SEC, it tends to turn into a major story.
In May, he wondered why the entire 14-team league was getting credit for the success of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Florida. Those were the teams who had won the seven straight national championship dating back to 2006.
He was asked about it Sunday night after the Sooners were officially paired with Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Stoops said the summer comments were irrelevant.
“I’m not playing the bottom half (of the SEC). If the SEC is Alabama, there is nothing to talk about, right? If you want to say the SEC is Alabama, then sure. They’re the ones that have won all the national championships, or most of them,” he said. “Now, if you want to play in the bottom half, that’s a different story. But we’re not playing the bottom half, are we? So there’s not a lot to talk about, is there?”
Here’s what Stoops said in May that initially started the fire that will continually be stoked in the weeks leading up to Jan. 2.
“They’ve had the best team in college football. They haven’t had the whole best conference. Because, again, half of them haven’t done much of all,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m asking you. You tell me. It depends on who you want to listen to. They’ve had the best team in college football, meaning they’ve won the national championship. That doesn’t mean everything else is always the best.”
The SEC had four teams finish below .500 this season (Arkansas 4-8, Kentucky, 2-10, Tennessee 5-7 and Florida 4-7).
BCS bowl helps recruiting: The Allstate Sugar Bowl berth marks the ninth time since 2000 Oklahoma is playing in a BCS bowl game. OU coach Bob Stoops has been at the helm for all of them. Only Ohio State has been to more (10) during the BCS era.
Stoops, who was on the road recruiting when he talked to reporters via teleconference Sunday night, said another major bowl berth helps in recruiting.
“Well, you know, any time you’re in these BCS bowls it’s a positive,” he said. “That’s what players all hear about, talk about, being in these kind of games. It’s always a plus. You know, players recognize that, that you don’t just — they don’t draw your name out of a hat to play in these games. You play in these games by winning. So fortunately we’re in another one.”
Stoops endorses McCarron: Heisman Trophy votes were due Monday afternoon. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops doesn’t have a vote, but he gave an endorsement Sunday night for Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.
“I think AJ McCarron is the best player in the country, I really do. If I had a vote, that’s who I’d vote for,” he said.
McCarron has thrown for 26 touchdowns and 2,676 yards this season. Most importantly, the senior has gone 34-3 as the Crimson Tide’s quarterback the last three seasons.
The consistency is impressive. It looks even better when you consider OU had to use three quarterbacks last Saturday in its 33-24 victory over Oklahoma State.
Enough voters did put McCarron on their ballots. He was one of six players invited to New York for Saturday’s Heisman Trophy ceremony.
Saunders, Hunnicutt pick up Big 12 awards: OU wide receiver Jalen Saunders and kicker Michael Hunnicutt were both named Big 12 players of the week Monday.
Saunders was named the league’s offensive player of the week. He caught the game-winning touchdown pass with 19 seconds left to lift the Sooners to a 33-24 win over Oklahoma State. It was his sixth touchdown of the season and the ninth of his OU career. Saunders had seven offensive touches for 88 yards (2-49 rushing, 5-39 receiving). He also scored on a 64-yard punt return in the first quarter, his second punt return touchdown of the season and the third of his career.
Hunnicutt scored his first career touchdown on a fake field goal in the third quarter. He became the first OU kicker to score a touchdown since Tim Duncan did so on a 10-yard run vs. Texas A&M on Nov. 10, 2001.
With a 21-yard field goal in the second quarter, Hunnicutt set the OU record for most field goals in a season at 22. A 39-yarder added in the fourth quarter gives him 23 field goals this season and 61 in his career, also a school record. Hunnicutt also took over first place on the OU all-time kicker scoring list and is third on the all-time scoring list with 341 points in his career.
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