Congratulations to Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, who is the only Division I-A coach man enough to acknowledge the obvious: Perennial national title contenders continue to load their nonconference schedules with creampuff opponents and pay no penalty for doing so.
This fall, Oklahoma plays host to Utah State, Florida State and Air Force and plays at Cincinnati.
Then look at the nonleague schedule of Alabama: San Jose State, Georgia State and Penn State at home and Duke on the road.
No wonder Alabama is favored to repeat as BCS champion.
Stoops is right. There are no penalties for playing a creampuff nonconference schedule. Instead, teams are punished — not rewarded — for playing a quality nonconference schedule.
Here's what he told John Henderson of the Denver Post:
"Look at the AP poll last year. We beat Oklahoma State at the end of the year, 27-0, and beat another ranked team in Stanford. Well, Oklahoman State's ranked ahead of us. Why? At the end of the day when they go ranking teams, look at how it's ranked every year. AP as well as the coaches all look at the loss column and if one team has one less loss than you they're ranked ahead of you.
"Oklahoma State was ranked ahead of us. We just played. Please don't make it look like I'm worried about Oklahoma State. But in the end I don't know if you're rewarded for it. You're not. Everybody talks about it early. By the end of the year everyone's talking about wins and losses and you're ranked accordingly."
Stoops also expressed his displeasure with players leaving early for the NFL. The players, he says, pay a penalty. Henderson writes:
"[Stoops] walked to his desk and pulled a single sheet from a three-ring binder. It listed the average signing bonuses of all seven rounds from the 2009 draft: first round — $13 million; second — $2.1 million; third — $720,000; fourth — $460,000; fifth — $171,500; sixth — $$96,900; seventh — $47,000.
" 'Here's what people don't get,' he said. 'The average career in the NFL is 3 1/2 years. You need to maximize in that 3 1/2-year window to make as much as you can make because this money doesn't come back to you.
" 'If you settle for this,' as he points to $2.1 million, 'and you had a chance to be that,' as he points to $13 million, 'you're not making that up.' "