Oklahoma has not played a regular-season game against a Big Ten opponent since 1997, so Bob Stoops has been trying to gather intel from some of his confidants.
This includes Mark Dantonio, whom Stoops spoke with this week, per Oklahoma radio announcer Toby Rowland, as his No. 14-ranked Sooners prepare to face No. 3 Ohio State this weekend.
Oklahoma has faced Ohio State just twice in the national powers’ storied histories. The Sooners and Buckeyes faced off in 1977, when the schools still employed Barry Switzer and Woody Hayes, and in 1983 — when the Switzer-led Sooners faced Earle Bruce’s Big Ten outfit. The teams split in those years. In the top-heavy landscape of major college football, the programs are still relevant and among the best teams in the country, pointing to Stoops discussing the Buckeyes with the Michigan State coach.
Stoops and Dantonio have never coached on the same staff, although they did supervise secondaries for rival schools in the early 1990s — with Stoops as the defensive backs coach and eventual defensive coordinator at Kansas State from 1989-95 and Dantonio leading Kansas’ DBs from 1991-94.
Dantonio, who has coached the Spartans for the past 10 seasons, served as the Ohio State DC from 2001-03. However, the Jim Tressel-era knowledge probably isn’t what Stoops is seeking by contacting him in this instance.
Michigan State was the only team to beat Ohio State last season, preventing the defending national champions from advancing back to the College Football Playoff, and used it as a springboard to its own national semifinal berth. Oklahoma’s hopes for advancement into Division I-FBS’ final four of sorts may depend on the outcome this weekend in Norman, Okla., after Houston upset Oklahoma in Week 1.
The Sooners haven’t played a Big Ten team in the regular season since September of 1997, when they lost to Northwestern.