In the middle of Bob Stoops first season (1999) as the head football coach of the University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M came to Norman for a conference showdown with the Sooners and their 39-year old coach. The defending Big 12 champion Aggies were unbeaten and ranked No. 13 in the country.
OU walked away with a 51-6 victory and the first chapter in the saga of “Big Game Bob” had been written. Stoops parlayed that start into a national championship the next season and ten Big 12 titles before he surprised the college football world by retiring earlier this summer.
Replacing Stoops was OU’s wunderkind offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.
The just-turned 34 year old Riley had his first spotlight dance on Saturday against No. 2 Ohio State–in Columbus.
Adding to the drama, was the showdown with Riley and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who is part of every conversation when debating the best active football coaches in the country.
The challenges for Riley and the Sooners were obvious. The last time the Sooners had won a true road game against a Top 2 ranked team was 54 years ago. The Buckeyes had pounded the Sooners, 45-24, last season in Norman.
That streak was emphatically snapped as the Sooners posted a solid 31-16 victory over the Buckeyes, which now makes Riley 1-0 in “big games.” Big Game Lincoln?
Afterward, Riley slightly downplayed the significance of the victory. “”We’ll be disappointed if this is the highlight to our season.,” said Riley, who did recognize the reality of the situation. “Everyone will want to anoint us now.”
The guess here is that Lincoln Riley will have the Sooners ready to handle the challenges ahead. Beating Ohio State was a nice way to start, which is why he is TMG’s Newsmaker of the Week.