For Clay, comparing UA and OU

Aloha Clay,

Why has OU been greatly more successful in football than Arkansas?

OU has to share their state’s D1 talent with OSU/ Tulsa and others. UA has the state to itself. But historically OU has a far greater winning percentage. Is it due to their Texas recruiting? Or perhaps their illegal recruiting for the past several decades?

You are very familar with OU and UA. Would appreciate your thoughts of why OU football has been historically more successful than UA’s.


Norman is MUCH closer to the DFW area. It’s an hour – or less – to a great many good football schools in that area. I’m not accusing the Sooners of cheating, but they have been caught a few times, right? Really, it’s just proximity to talent, in my opinion. The oil money was always rumored to be in play. I’m sure it was at some point.

Like Clay said, I think the proximity to large recruiting areas helps Oklahoma. It has two in-state metro areas that are within a two-hour drive that are larger than Little Rock. The state of Oklahoma has about 1 million more residents than Arkansas.

Playing in a weaker conference has helped Oklahoma maintain a national image. Would the discrepancy between Arkansas and Oklahoma be as great if both were in the Big 12? I don’t think so.

They are like Bama in using decades of Cheating to develop a brand image. Bama had to vacate wins as far back as the 1930’s for cheating. OU has had 50+ years of using oil money to establish networks of OU sympathizers in TX HS FB coaching staffs. They have placed numerous OU grads on TX HS FB staffs as well. Okie Lite has done the same on a much smaller scale.

2 hours 15 minutes to Norman from Dallas proper, and 5.5 hours to Fayetteville. Much better positioned to recruit N. Texas. Plus, OU has a much more storied tradition. 7 titles and, what, 6 Heisman winners? Arkansas can’t sell anything close to that.

Castiglione is a very good AD that seems to make many right moves, the latest being L. Riley. Committed to winning.

Probably more big money (oil money) in Oklahoma to throw at the university and football, too. Despite what we tend to think, money doesn’t just come from Wal Mart, JB Hunt and Stephens.

My daughter is a freshman at OU. It’s a pretty cool place. They get a ton of N. Texas students. Football facilities are off the charts, as you might imagine. I can see why they succeed.

Do they cheat? Probably. But who doesn’t?

I’ve heard no less than Barry Switzer say that without Norman’s close proximity to Dallas, OU might be less like Texas and more like Kansas.

It’s also important to remember that, back when Arkansas had an enrollment of 10-15,000, OU was already at 20-25,000. That makes a difference in course offerings, facilities, booster support, etc.

Today, enrollments are a lot closer between the two schools and SEC money has helped Arkansas be competitive with anyone when it comes to facilities. But we’re still no closer to Dallas.

Clay is right. I trust Clay as an authority on that. However, someone I consider an even better authority on it is Barry Switzer. He said the same thing to the LR TD Club about 4-5 years ago. It’s proximity to Dallas. (And, for that matter, Oklahoma City, no small place.)

OU was very aggressive (cheating) in recruiting veterans immediately following WW II. This laid the foundation for Bud Wilkinson and the 47 game winning streak in the early ‘50s. They were also 15 years ahead of Arkansas in recruiting black athletes.

The OKC (maybe Norman) area had a big military training base during WWII. This facility had a big time football program playing other military centers. After the war, OU was able to recruit a significant number of these guys. This fed their post-war success including that of Wilkerson. Not cheating, just good fortune.

Give them credit, they have been able to sustain it for over 70 years ( with a little cash thrown in from time to time).

The root of their documented history of cheating fromtime to time I believe relates to rivalry between rich Oklahoma oilmen in competition with rich Texas oilmen. I have lived in these two states for 47 tears (while in the oil business) and I am pretty confident as to these comments.

Two schools really changed the rules of college football with the way they cheated, Oklahoma and Southern Cal. That was in the 80s and it had to do with players and complimentary tickets. The NCAA had to change the rules and no longer allowed players to actually hold their tickets. They called it the “Oklahoma rule.”

The consistency in head coaches has to be a factor in that as well.

Switzer once commented that when he was recruiting in East Texas (early, when he was an assistant at OU under Fairbanks) there was already a “network” of support. That was built but Bud Wilkinson years before. Switzer only made that network stronger.

Switzer also understood black players at a time that most schools were just removed from segregation. Switzer could talk the talk with them, and was comfortable in their living room. That is a network also.

Bob Stoops has noted that as well. He went into rural TX to recruit and everyone knew who he was.

It is a reason that I have been critical of the shifting recruiting territories at UA. It goes back to the start of the SEC, really. Go look where we did and did not recruit under the various coaches. The shifts make it tough to win uphill battles.

I to have spent 35+ years in the oil business (in states such as Ok, TX, CA, & WY, as well as different parts of the world). Oil money is vast and can be trickled down to non oil entities very easily. Oil business and Sports go hand in hand everywhere and the egos very much the same.