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King Barry was royal pain for Dr. Tom

(c) 1995 Copyright Nando.net
1995 Scripps Howard

The Daily Oklahoman

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Nov 21, 1995 - 14:36 EST) -- Last Thursday, we had a headline that read, "Osborne All-Time Big Eight Coach." The headline should've read, "Dumb and Dumber Vote Dr. Tom Ahead of The King."

A panel of 12 picked Nebraska's Tom Osborne over Oklahoma's Barry Switzer, by one-half vote, as the All-Time Big Eight football coach. The vote totals: Osborne 4 1/2 , Switzer 4, Bob Devaney 2, and Bud Wilkinson 1 1/2.

"Dumb" split his vote between Wilkinson and Osborne, and "Dumber" voted for Wilkinson.

No wonder Switzer isn't in the College Football Hall of Fame.

As stated here before, Wilkinson is the greatest college football coach of my lifetime. But Bud's greatness came in the Big Seven, not the Big Eight.

After the league expanded to eight teams in 1960, Wilkinson's OU teams were 24-16-1 overall and 19-8-1 in the Big Eight. Sound like the All-Time Big Eight Coach to you? Of course not.

The vote should've come down to Switzer, who won the most, against Osborne, who's lasted the longest. The comparisons from 1973 (when both became head coaches) through 1988 (Switzer's last Sooner season):

-- Head to head: Switzer was 12-5 against Osborne. The Winner: Switzer.

-- All games: Switzer was 157-29-4 (.837) and Osborne was 158-36-2 (.811). The Winner: Switzer.

-- Conference games: Switzer was 100-11-1 (.897) and Osborne was 93-18-1 (.835). The Winner: Switzer.

-- Bowl games: Switzer was 8-5 and Osborne was 8-8. In what were "The Big Four" bowls (Cotton, Orange, Rose and Sugar), Switzer was 6-3 and Osborne was 5-5. The Winner: Switzer.

-- National titles: Switzer won three (1974, 1975 and 1985) and Osborne won none. Teams in final AP top five: Switzer 10, Osborne four. The Winner: Switzer.

-- Conference titles: Overall, Switzer won a Big Eight-record 12 and Osborne won seven. Outright, Switzer won eight, Osborne four. The Winner: Switzer.

Clearly, The King was superior to Dr. Tom when they were Big Eight rivals. But Osborne has been adding to his Big Eight stature since Switzer left OU. In seven subsequent seasons, Osborne has won his first national title and forged records of 5-1 against OU, 43-4-1 in the Big Eight and 71-11-1 overall.

Entering Friday's Oklahoma-Nebraska clash in Lincoln (the final game in Big Eight football history), these are the updated Switzer-Osborne comparisons:

-- All games: Osborne is up to 229-47-3 (.826) and first among active college coaches. But he's still 11 percentage points behind Switzer (.837).

-- Conference games: Osborne is up to 136-23-2 (.851). But he's still 46 percentage points behind Switzer (.897).

-- Bowl games: Osborne 9-13, Switzer 8-5.

-- National titles: Even if Osborne wins his second straight national title in January, he'll be one behind Switzer.

-- Conference titles: By winning his fifth straight league title, Osborne has tied Switzer's records for Big Eight football championships: 12 overall and eight outright.

I would've voted for Switzer, with his 12-5 OU-NU record, as the All-Time Big Eight Football Coach. But The King and Dr. Tom as co-coaches would've been acceptable, and maybe the most reasonable thing to do. So, the voters had two choices.

Unfortunately, they chose neither, no thanks to Dumb and Dumber.