NORMAN — Bob Stoops doesn't act like the football coach of a fading power. Doesn't act like Jenkins Avenue has been renamed Sunset Boulevard.
Primarily because he isn't and it hasn't.
But Stoops would be better off if he did show some disgust, rather than pride, at recent Sooner results. Would be better off if he stuck his head out the window and yelled across campus, “I'm mad, and I'm not going to take it anymore!”
The natives would feel better.
Stoops chatted with some of us writers Friday for his annual state of the Sooners. His kingdom grumbles after a 41-13 Cotton Bowl thrashing courtesy of the Texas Aggies.
But Stoops gives no ground.
“Let's see here,” Stoops said. “We've won two of the last three Big 12 championships. We just were 15th in the country. We've won more games overall than any other Big 12 team in the last three years. We've won more Big 12 games than any other team in the last three years.
“I think in the last three years, there's only five teams in the country that have won 10 or more games; we're one of them. In the last five years, there's only two teams that have won more games than us. So pretty good.”
I cringed the longer he talked. Everything Stoops said is true. One hundred percent accurate. But that's not what his fans want to hear.
They don't want to hear that over the last five years, only Alabama (61) and Oregon (56) have more victories than OU's 52. Don't want to hear that over the last three seasons, only Oregon (36), Alabama (35), Stanford (35) and LSU (34) have more wins than OU's 32.
Don't want to hear about a 2012 Big 12 co-championship, since it was shared with Kansas State, a fair-and-square winner at Owen Field in September.
OU fans want to see their coach lathered up over going four straight years without reaching the Big Bowl. Over going 12 straight years without a national championship.
“I hate it,” Stoops said of the drought. “We've been pretty used to it (national title contention). I helped create that, and to me, it's the pulse here.”
But Stoops quickly returned to the positives.
“We're back to winning the championship again like we did in 2010, and we caught a couple great teams,” Stoops said. “We played one team out of conference that was undefeated up until the last game.
“In the end, we weren't quite good enough to win 11, 12 or 13 games. We were good enough to win 10 and have a part of the (Big 12) championship once again, for the second time in three years. That's where we're at.
“People get bored with just winning the Big 12 championship. You've gotta win the national championship.”
Part of this defiance is Stoops' pride. He's a prideful man. Proud of what he's built and proud of what his Sooners have accomplished.
It hacks off Stoops when those accomplishments are minimized, and truth is, a decent portion of Soonerville minimizes it. Some in the crimson crowd — former players, high-status boosters, blue-collar fans — point to OU's 14-6 record in its last 20 games and wonder if the program is going in the right direction.
Point to point totals of 13, 13, 19 and 10 in OU's four most recent defeats, and points allowed of 41, 48, 49, 34, 44, 45 and 41 over that 20-game stretch and figure the Sooners are getting further from, not nearer to, national championship contention.
“You never know,” Stoops said. “We didn't seem very close when we had a shot at it in 2000. You never know when it's coming.
“We're gonna work hard for it, and we'll try and make some improvements through the winter and spring and hopefully have a chance to be better next year.”
Stoops is not giving in, folks. It's one of the things that's made him a great coach. He's not giving in, no matter how much better it would make everyone feel.