If Oklahoma takes Bedlam and captures an eighth Big 12 title, would coach Bob Stoops consider it a successful season, even though the Sooners opened preseason No. 1 and the favorite to win the national championship?
“How could it not be?” Stoops said to the question Tuesday during his weekly news conference. “Is it the ultimate? No, and that’s understandable. But it’s still a great year when you’re a champion. In my mind, anytime you win a championship, it’s a great season.”
The Sooners entered 2011 with the highest of expectations with 27 players returning with starting experience. Stunning losses to Texas Tech and Baylor, however, knocked OU out of the national title race.
Before the season, Stoops told a group of fans that it was “about time” OU won another national title, adding even more fuel to those expectations. Does he have any regrets now about saying that?
“What did you think, our people didn’t think it wasn’t about time we got another one?” Stoops said. “I know how they are. I know where I’m at.”
Stoops said he doesn’t mind the expectations, though reminded those that want to criticize about where OU was before he arrived.
“I love where I’m at. I’m smart enough to say that,” he said. “It just is the way what it is. I’m also very aware, 10 years prior to us when we were here, there weren’t any [conference championships]. I think we were in 3 bowl games in 10 years prior. I think we’ve done a fair amount to bring a decent reputation to Oklahoma and what we’re doing.”
Stoops said adding another Big 12 title would add to that reputation.
“To play in eight Big 12 championships and win seven of them is pretty darn special,” Stoops said. “And let’s face it, to be in four national championships, anyone can say what they want, they don’t just pick your name out of a hat for those. They’re not easy to get in. We’ve won one. Been to eight BCS bowls in last 11 years. Say what you want, they don’t put in you in those bowls because you got lucky.”