Comparing the Football Programs of OU and UT
version 4.14
January 4, 2011


This webpage is dedicated to the memory of Herman Mitchell.
He left us way too soon and he will never be forgotten.

As the day approaches for high school players to decide what college football program they will join, an annual war stirs up between OU and UT. But unlike the game in October which is decided on the field of play, this war is fought for the hearts and minds of the best young high school football players. Picking the right college is already a difficult task for many -- adding football scholarships into the mix only adds complexity. What's a high school senior to do when they're recruited by both schools? To such high school seniors I offer the following suggestions -- I hope you find them useful:

  • I've used the following rule for my life and it has served me well to this point -- I now recommend it to you: Never make any major commitment without at least giving yourself 24 hours to reflect on it. Yes, this will mean that every now and then you were miss out on an opportunity. But usually decisions can wait whether it appears like they can or not. Important decisions need to be made from the heart and not from the emotions of the moment. (Of course you can prepare for a big meeting or telephone call that you know is coming by "finding your heart" before hand.)

  • There is wisdom in a multitude of counsel. Get feedback from your parents, a trusted school teacher, a trusted football coach.

  • It's your decision, and you need to be comfortable with it. Don't let anyone bully you into going somewhere against your heart.

  • Be realistic about your chances to get immediate playing time. Very, very few true freshman see a lot of playing time at OU or UT. In high school, most highly recruited players can be in the wrong place or use the wrong technique and still get good results because of their physical superiority. It's highly unlikely that you will have physical superiority in college. Give yourself time to improve your technique and learn your school's offense or defense. I've heard that when a gifted inexperienced athlete begins to act instinctively instead of trying to assess everything as it happens, at that point they'll be able to compete at the next level -- but that takes a lot of repetitions.

  • This point should be obvious -- both UT and OU are universities. An athlete who plays for UT is playing for one of many universities in Texas, and not for the state of Texas. Likewise, an athlete who plays for OU is playing for one of many universities in Oklahoma, and not for the state of Oklahoma. The two states are not in a rivalry, it's the universities that are in a rivalry. Both schools have a tremendous fan-base (much larger than the number of alumni) spread out all across the country; OU fans live in the state of Texas and UT fans live in the state of Oklahoma. If you are not from Texas or Oklahoma, I'm sure you will be awestruck by the spectacle surrounding the weekend and the game: the multitude of fervent fans and the carnival atmosphere draw all types (especially politicians and people in the media). An opportunity to play in this game is special and should not be passed up. The rivalry starts way before the game in the work-places, offices and neighborhoods of Sooner and Longhorn fans all across the country. Many people have crossed the Red River going in both directions -- Billy Sims left Hooks Texas and won a Heisman at OU, Darrell Royal left Hollis Oklahoma and became one of UT's most successful coaches. Do not let your parent's address dictate your college football career; rather, make an informed decision of which university program suits you by listening to wise counsel and your heart.

  • In a heart-wrenching scene, one of the world's most gifted runners, Marion Jones recently admitted steroid use before the 2000 Olympics. Track and field experts have speculated that she would have probably won her 5 medals without using steriods based on her high-school performances. A few years ago, a scandal involvin g steroid use within a prominent high school team made national headlines. The easy access to steroids and the promise of a shortcut to improved strength and weight gain beckons to all athletes. We watch pro baseball players and marvel that they no longer need the split-second timing to hit a pitch perfectly to get a dinger -- a number of steroid users can muscle a hit out of the park even when they don't get "all of it". The problem is that this "shortcut" to strength and weight is really not a shortcut at all. Rather, it's a path to a different destination -- a destination where you will permanently lose some of your mental keeness. The most important organ in football is your brain. That's true for all positions at the college level -- especially offensive and defensive lineman. Successful offensive linemen (those that get drafted into the NFL) are consistently among the smartest players in the NFL according to Wonderlic tests (IQ tests). Mentally preparing for the play, knowing what's going on, and utilizing the correct technique are critical to success for all positions in the team sport of football. Both OU and UT have the resources to build strength and weight the correct way. College coaches know they have the resources to help players build strength and weight and their recruiting evaluations will require your best mental keeness. Do not eliminate some of your potential by taking the FALSE shortcut of steroids. If you have already used steroids, stop taking them now. There are resources to help you, click here for one such organization.

  • The rest of this posting provides a comparison of the UT and OU football programs in terms of gridiron success. There are many factors in deciding which school is best for you (e.g. is it too far from home or different from home, is it too close to home or similar to home, does my girlfriend go there, ...), but this list only considers the football programs at OU and UT. I'll save my opinion for the conclusion at the bottom, the numbered points are just a list of facts culled from the NCAA record books. The facts include overall history, as well as recent history. Also check out my blog of comments on OU & UT.

      1. Coaching

      1. OU's Stoops has more coach of the year honors. OU is coached by Bob Stoops. UT is coached by Mack Brown. Stoops has received 8 Coach of the Year honors by 7 organizations, Brown has received 2. Stoops has received AFCA, FWAA, HomeDepot, BearBryant, WalterCamp (twice), BobbyDodd, and GeorgeMunger national coach of the year honors. Brown has received BearBryant and BobbyDodd coach of year honors. [through Jan-2011]
      2. OU's Stoops has a higher winning percentage. [through Jan-2010]
      3. OU's Stoops reached 100 wins faster. Stoops is the fastest coach to reach 100 wins since 1905 (123rd game). Brown reached 100 wins in 180 games.
      4. UT's Brown has a better record in Bowl games. Against bowl opponents, Stoops is 6-6, Brown is 11-7 [through Jan-2011].
      5. OU's Stoops has a better record in avoiding losing seasons. Stoops has zero losing records. UT's Brown has 5 seasons with losing records with 1 season at UT and 4 at schools before he came to UT. [through Jan-2011]
      6. OU's Stoops has a better record in championship games. In championship games, Stoops is 8-5, Brown is 2-2 [through Jan-2011].
      7. OU's Stoops has a better record in Big-12 Championships. Stoops 7-1, Brown 2-2. [Through Jan-2011]
      8. Tie: OU's Stoops and UT's Brown both have 3 BCS Bowl victories (Stoops in 12 seasons, Brown in 13 seasons). [through Jan-2011].
      9. UT may have a slight lead in recruiting during the Stoops/Brown years, but it is debatable. Brown had better recruiting classes than Stoops during Stoops first 3 years according to national media pundits like Max Emfinger. Since Bob Stoops became head coach at OU, OU has steadily improved their recruiting classes (again, according to the media pundits). Both schools have fielded top 10 recruiting classes for most of the 2000s. For three of the past 5 years, OU was ranked higher than UT. [Also see the "Player Development" section 7 below.] [through Jan-2011]
      10. OU has 3 coaches in the College Football Hall of Fame (Bennie Owen, Bud Wilkinson, and Barry Switzer), UT has 2 (Darrell Royal, Dana Bible). [through Jan-2011]
      11. OU has 3 coaches that have coached their squads to a national championship (Wilkinson, Switzer, and Stoops). UT has two coaches that coached a national championship squad (Royal and Brown). [through Jan-2011]

        Conclusion: Coaching favors OU.

      2. Head-to-Head

      1. UT has the better all-time head-to-head ranking. Since their first meeting in 1900, UT leads the series at 59-41-5. [through Jan-2011]
      2. OU has the better modern era head-to-head ranking (by decade). Most of UT's 58 victories came before 1950. In fact, UT won more games than OU in each of the five decades included in 1900s to 1940s. However, if you look at the last 6 decades (including the 2000s), OU wins four of the last six decades: 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and 2000s. [through Jan-2011]
      3. OU has the better modern era head-to-head stats by count and margin-of-victory (since 1970).
        In games since 1970 [41 games through Jan-2011]
        source: adapted from a webpost by "The Voice of Reason"
        • OU-20 wins, UT-18 wins, and three ties.
        • The average score is: OU-24, Texas-20
        • The average score of an OU win: 34-14
        • The average score of a UT win: 27-15
        • Wins by 10 or more points: OU-13, UT-9
        • Wins by 20 or more points: OU-9, UT-4
        • Wins by 30 or more points: OU-5, UT-3
        • Wins by 40 or more points: OU-2, UT-0
        • 20 points or more scored: OU-22, UT-19
        • 30 points or more scored: OU-11, UT-7
        • 40 points or more scored: OU-6, UT-3
        • 50 points or more scored: OU-3, UT-0
        • 60 points or more scored: OU-2, UT-0
        • Games decided by fewer than 10 points: UT-9, OU-7, three ties

          So, basically, since 1970:
          OU is more likely to win a game in a blowout (nine of OU's 20 wins are by 20 or more points). UT is more likely to win a game by less than ten points (nince of UT's 18 wins).

        Conclusion: the school one favors for Head-to-Head depends upon how one treats modern era wins relative to wins from leather helmet days. Does Vanderbilt have a better team than UT? Vandy leads UT in head-to-head wins based on games played before World War II. Does Bethany College have a better team than OU? Bethany leads OU in head-to-head wins based on games played before 1910. Is Harvard one of the strongest teams in NCAA division 1 football? They are if you give equal weight to championships before Harding was president. On the other hand, one shouldn't ignore early accomplishments. Given that UT has a better record stretching back to 1900, and OU has a better record in the modern era, you can make a good case for either school. Which matters most to the prospective recruit? I'm not sure -- you decide.

      3. Program Trends

      1. OU has never had a losing season under Stoops. UT's last losing season was 2010 under Mack Brown.
      2. OU has a 1 game winning streak. [as of Jan-2011]
      3. OU has won more head-to-head games during this decade. [2010s] (They also won more head-to-head games in the 2000s.)
      4. Tie: Both OU and UT have won 1 national championship since 2000.
      5. OU has won 7 conference championships and UT has won 1 conference championship since 2000.
      6. OU has appeared in more BCS Bowls since 2000 (9 to 3). [through Jan-2011]
      7. OU has ended the season with a higher rank than UT more often since 2000 (7 to 4). [through Jan-2011]
      8. OU won the last Big12 Conference championship.
      9. OU has a better winning percentage since 2000 (.8243 to .8143). [122-26-0 to 114-26-0]
      10. OU has more wins since 2000 (122 to 114).
      11. OU has a better win loss record against Gametime AP Top 10 teams (13-9 to 7-12). [through Jan-2011]
      12. OU has a better win loss record against Final AP Top 10 teams. [through Jan-2011]
      13. OU has fewer seasons with a losing record overall, and has the longer current streak of winning seasons. (UT had a losing record in 2010.)

        Conclusion: Program Trends favor OU.

      4. Championships

      1. OU has more national championships: OU has 7 national championships (1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000). UT has 4 (1963, 1969, 1970, 2005). [through Jan-2011]
      2. UT has won the most recent National Championship (2005). [through Jan-2011]
      3. OU has more conference championships: OU has 43 conference championships. UT has 33 conference championships. [through Jan-2011]
      4. OU has the most recent conference championship. OU is the current (2010) Big12 champ. [through Jan-2011]

        Conclusion: Championships favors OU.

      5. Tradition (Noteworthy Achievements)

      1. OU holds the NCAA record for longest winning streak (47 games) and has three winning streaks of 28 or more games (something unique to OU). UT's longest winning streak is 30 games. [through Jan-2011]
      2. OU has finished in the AP top-5 more times than any other school (29 times through 2010 season). UT has finished in the AP top-5 19 times. [through Jan-2011]
      3. OU has spent more total weeks ranked #1 by the AP poll than UT (97 to 43). In fact, OU holds the current record for weeks ranked #1. [through Jan-2011]
      4. OU also has more appearances than any other college in the AP top 5. OU leads UT (367 to 261). [through Jan-2011]
      5. OU is ranked number 1 in ESPN's Most Prestigious Football Programs list. UT is ranked 7.
      6. OU is ranked higher in the overall Lemieux ranking system. Dr. Robert Lemieux has developed a historical ranking of college football teams based on AP ranking (which began in 1936). By dividing each team's average positions in the postseason media and coaches polls by the percentage of times it appeared in the polls, Lemieux ranked 94 current I-A teams. OU ranks #1 among all Div-1A teams; UT was not in the top 5. [through Jul-2009]
      7. OU ranks 5th and UT ranks 6th in an All-Time Team ranking developed by College Football Warehouse. [as of Jul-2009]
      8. OU has finished the season ranked in the top-20 more times: 51 to 47 [through Jan-2010].
      9. OU is the first school ever to eclipse 30,000 points as a program. OU now has 30,488 points. [through Jul-2009]
      10. OU passed the single season scoring record in 2008 with 716 offensive points. [through Jul-2008]
      11. UT has more bowl appearances: 48 to 43 [through Jan-2011].
      12. UT is ranked 6th all-time and OU is ranked 7th all-time by Billingsley. [as of Jul-2009]
      13. OU is ranked 4th all-time and UT is ranked 7th all time by David DeLassus' Team Rankings[through Dec-2010]
      14. OU has the #7 winning percentage for bowl games among all Div. 1 teams with 20 or more appearences: OU is .6023 (26-17-1), UT is .5306 (25-22-2). [through Dec-2010]
      15. OU is ranked first in winning percentage since World War II (1946 to present). UT is ranked 5th. [through Jan-2011]
      16. OU leads in "dynasties". The NCAA lists OU in their list of "Famous Major-College Dynasties" (page 99). OU is included twice in the list of 12 dynasties; UT is not included in the list.
      17. OU leads in all-time almanac ranking. The Information Please Almanac has developed an all-time rating system based on top-20, top-10, and national championships. OU ranks higher than UT (3 to 8).
      18. OU leads in all-time QRPS program ranking. According to the QRPS ranking system of all college football programs since 1940, OU has a better football program than UT.
      19. OU leads in ESPN all-time great teams. According to ESPN, two of the top 10 college teams of all time have been Oklahoma, UT has zero.
      20. OU leads in number of top teams according to the QRPS team rankings. According to the QRPS ranking system of all college football programs since 1940, OU has more teams ranked as OU has more in ranked in the top 100 (OU has 14, UT has 7), and more ranked in the top 20 (OU has 3, UT has 0).
      21. UT was ranked #2 most desirable place to coach college football according to a journalist for EEE Sports (see OU was not ranked.
      22. OU has the most weeks ranked number one in the BCS with 20 weeks. UT is in tenth place with 3 weeks. [through Jan-2011]
      23. OU has the most weeks ranked in the Top-5 in the BCS with 46 weeks. UT is in third place with 36 weeks. [through Jan-2011]

        Conclusion: Overall Tradition favors OU.

      6. Winning and Winning Percentage (All Opponents)

      1. UT has more total victories: 850 to 808 [through Jan-2011]. (UT also has more losses -- they played more games in the early days of college football.)
      2. OU has a longer winning streak: OU at 47 games, UT at 30 games. [through Jan-2011]
      3. OU has won more Big-12 Championships: Ou at 7, UT at 3. [through Jan-2011]
      4. OU has more undefeated and untied seasons: OU at 12, UT at 9. [through Jan-2011]
      5. OU has a better all time winning percentage: .733 to .715 [through Jan-2011]
      6. OU has a better winning percentage in Bowl games: .602 to .531 [Jan-2011]
      7. Tie: Both OU and UT have 3 BCS bowl victories. [through Jan-2011].
      8. OU has fewer losing seasons (the Sooners have the fewest losing seasons of any major college with 11). [through Jan-2011]
      9. OU has more bowl victories (26 to 25) [through Jan-2011].
      10. OU has the most wins in the BCS era (since the 1998 season) at 134. UT has 132. [through Jan-2011]
      11. OU has the best home record in the BCS era (60-2). [through Jan-2011]
      12. OU has the longest home winning streak in the nation (36 games). [through Jan-2011]
      13. OU has a higher winning percentage during the last 5 decades. During the last five decades (1950 to 2000 inclusive) OU has a .743 winning percentage (431-145-12), and UT has a .699 winning percentage (408-173-9).

        Conclusion: Winning and Winning Percentage (All Opponents) favors OU.

      7. Player Development

      1. Ultimately, a serious football recruit should be interested in which school he will develop best. The Fort Worth Star Telegram did an analysis of player development for each Big 12 school based on the 2006 recruiting class. The Star Telegram concluded OU's players achieved much more than all other Big 12 schools. Texas came in fourth.  

        Player Development Comparison: 2006 Class of OU (left) and UT (right)
        1 Heisman winner
        3 Consensus All Americans
        1 Big 12 Defensive MVP
        9 All-Big 12 (Bradford, Beal, McCoy, Murray, Carter, Williams, Gresham, Mensik, Franks)
        1000 Yard Rusher (DeMarco Murray in 2008, 2010)
        1000 Yard Rusher (Chris Brown in 2008)
        4000 Yard Passer (Sam Bradford in 2008)
        3000 Yard Passer (Sam Bradford in 2007)
        3 Big 12 Titles
        1 First Team All American
        2 All-Big 12 (Houston, Kindle)
        1 Big 12 Title

      2. A UT fan put together this 2005 class analysis of UT's 2005 recruiting class (considered a very productive class by most Longhorns), and a Sooner fan put together this 2005 OU class analysis. The below table summarizes accomplishments from both classes. In addition, here is an analysis of the class of 1999 by ESPN. Here's a second analysis directly comparing OU and UT. [Thanks to Sooner94 for second analysis]  

        Player Development Comparison: 2005 Class of OU (left) and UT (right)
        2 First Team All Americans
        10 First Team All Big 12 players
        1 Big 12 Defensive MVP
        17 Multi-Year Starters
        1000 Yard Rusher (Allen Patrick in 2007)
        1000 Yard Receiver (Juaquin Iglesias 2008)
        #2 and #3 All Time Receiving Yardage Leaders (Iglesias and Kelly)
        3 Big 12 Titles
        1 First Team All American
        2 First Team All Big 12 players
        7 Multi-year Starters
        1000 Yard Rusher (Jamaal Thomas in 2007)
        1000 Yard Receiver (Quan Cosby in 2008)
        3000 Yard Passer (Colt McCoy in 2007,2008)
        1 Big 12 Title

      3. Bob Stoops has coached 12 different players which have won awards. These 12 players won 21 awards with some winning multiple awards. Awards have went to various positions These awards represent Defense, Offense, Special Teams, and Overall. Mack Brown has coached 8 players which have won 14 awards for Offense, Defense, and Overall awards.

        Award Winners Coached by Stoops (left) and Brown (right)
        Baugh: L.Jones
        Baugh: S.Bradford
        Heisman: S.Bradford
        O'Brien: S.Bradford
        Bowden: C.Pendleton
        Unitas: J.White
        Maxwell: J.White
        Outland: J.Brown
        Lombardi: T.Harris
        W.Camp: J.Heupel
        Nagurski: D.Strait
        Nagurski: R.Williams
        Butkus: R.Calmus
        Butkus: T.Lehman
        Bednarki: T.Lehman
        O'Brien: J.White (twice)
        Heisman: J.White
        J.Thorpe: D.Strait
        J.Thorpe: R.Williams
        W.Camp: C.McCoy
        Nagurski: B.Orakpo
        Lombardi: B.Orakpo
        Hendricks: B.Orakpo
        Maxwell: V.Young
        Maxwell: R.Williams
        W.Camp: R.Williams
        Nagurski: D.Johnson
        Butkus: D.Johnson
        O'Brien: V.Young
        D.Walker: R.Williams
        D.Walker: C.Benson
        Heisman: R.Williams
        Thorpe: M.Huff
        Thorpe: A.Ross
      4. UT has more first round draft picks (UT has 43, OU has 42 -- through the April 2010 draft, includes #1 selections in supplemental drafts). [Source: click here for UT and click here for OU]
      5. OU has more total players drafted into the NFL (346 to 306 -- through the 2010 draft).
      6. UT has more active players in the NFL (46 to 31) [As of Jan-2-2010].
      7. OU had players included in the top 10 players of 2001 (Roy Williams), and the top 10 players of 2000 (Josh Heupel). UT had a player included in top 10 players in 1998 (Ricky Williams).
      8. OU has more Consensus All-Americans ( 68 to 52 through the 2005 season) [source: NCAA 2008 Records, pg. 233].
      9. OU has more players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (20 to 12) [through Jan-2011]
      10. OU has more coaches inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame (5 to 1) [through Jan-2011]
      11. OU has more Heisman trophy (Player of the Year) winners (5 to 2) [through Jan-2011]
      12. OU had the most recent Heisman winner (2008).
      13. UT has more Maxwell (Player of the Year) award winners (3 and 2) [through Jan-2011]
      14. UT had the most recent Maxwell award winner (2005).
      15. OU has more Walter Camp (Player of the Year) award winners (4 to 2) [through Jan-2011]
      16. UT had the most recent Walter Camp winner (2008).
      17. OU has had more role-specific awards than UT (24 to 12):
        • OU has more Outland Trophy (Interior Lineman) winners (5 to 3).
        • OU had the most recent Outland winner (2004).
        • OU has more Jim Thorpe award (Defensive Back) winners (3 to 2).
        • UT had the most recent Jim Thorpe winner (2006).
        • UT has more Doak Walker (Running Back) award winers (3 to 0).
        • UT had the most recent Doak Walker winner (2004).
        • Tie: OU and UT both have 2 Bronko Nagurski (Defensive Player) award winers (2 to 2).
        • UT had the most recent Bronko Nagurski award winner (2008)
        • Tie: OU and UT both have 3 Lombardi (Lineman) award winners (3 to 3).
        • UT had the most recent Lombardi winner (2008).
        • OU has more Butkus (Linebacker) Award winners (4 to 1).
        • UT had the most recent Butkus award winner (2004).
        • OU has more Mosi Tatupu (Special Teams) award winners (1 to 0).
        • OU had the most recent Mosi Tatupu award winner (2000).
        • UT has more Hendricks award winners (1 to 0).
        • UT has the most rescent Hendricks award winner (2008).
        • OU has won more Bobby Bowden award winners (1 to 0).
        • OU has the most recent Bobby Bowden winner (2006).
        • OU has more Davey O'Brien (Quarterback) winners (3 to 2).
        • OU had the most recent Davey O'Brien award winner (2008).
        • OU has more Johnny Unitas (Quarterback) winners (1 to 0).
        • OU had the most recent Johnny Unitas award winner (2004).
        • OU had more Sammy Baugh (Quaterback) winners (2 to 0).
        • OU had the most recent Sammy Baugh award winner (2010).
        • OU has more Chuck Bednarik (Top Defensive) award winners (1 to 0).
        • OU had the most recent Chuck Bednarik award winner (2003).

        Conclusion: Player Development favors OU.


      UT has a good football program, but the facts show that OU has a better program. Nevertheless, it seems that hope springs eternal in the Longhorn heart and that their fans are always looking through rose colored (burnt-orange colored?) glasses. It's interesting to note that over the last 20 years, UT's pre-season rank has been over-rated 12 times, and ten of those pre-season over rankings were off by 5 or more. Maybe if someone hears enough hype about UT they begin to believe the hype. It's interesting to read the response from UT fans when they're confronted with the above facts -- click here for a list of comments and acknowledgements from both OU and UT fans (last updated Jul-25-2009). Regardless of the hype and spin coming from Austin, OU's football program is clearly superior to UT's football program when one looks at the facts.

      Perhaps there is some insight in the school colors of the two universities. OU's colors are crimson and cream, and UT's color is burnt orange. Crimson and cream are the colors of blood and guts, of bone and marrow -- they represent commitment and a depth of conviction. This is in keeping with the attitudes expressed by OU's head coach Bob Stoops: no nonsense, no excuses, win by better preparation and more heart. Burnt orange is the color of the setting sun as seen through a thick haze -- it represents a time when the once bright sun has subsided over the horizon, a time when even the sun is reduced to modest heat and brightness. This is in keeping with the squandered talent and the attitudes expressed by UT's head coach Mack Brown: UT doesn't really lose games, they just "run out of time" like the last few minutes of daylight at sunset.

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