Oklahoma-Stanford is a no-win bowl for one man.
Not for Landry Jones, who could use a victory to stake his claim to keep the Sooner quarterback job in 2010.
Not for G.K. McCoy or OU seniors like Trent Williams, Chris Brown, Keenan Clayton, Brian Jackson, Adron Tennell, Matt Clapp, Ryan Reynolds and Brian Simmons. Never a small thing to win your final college game.
Not for anyone in crimson who can kick the ball or catch it. After a season of maddening drops and misses, anyone who masters solid fundamentals like kicking and catching will be awarded a blue ribbon, if not canonized.
But OU-Stanford absolutely is a no-win game for Bob Stoops. His bowl slump will continue no matter the Sun Bowl score.
The Sooners have lost five straight BCS games, three of them national-championship affairs, with only a 2005 Holiday Bowl victory as balm for the post-season wounds.
Beating Stanford won’t stop the bleeding.
"Everybody knows about the bowl slump,” said Williams, an All-America left tackle. "We need to win.
"But ultimately, we’re going to have to win a BCS bowl game to get that monkey off our back.”
Just like that 17-14 Holiday Bowl victory over Oregon, a win in El Paso will not lessen the glare on the major-bowl drought. But a loss to Stanford most definitely would exacerbate the problem.
Thus the weight of the late-season losses. Losing to BYU cost OU a chance at an unbeaten season. Losing to Miami eliminated the national championship hopes. Losing to Texas sent Big 12 title hopes down the road.
But that loss at Nebraska on Nov. 7 snuffed out all BCS bowl hopes for the Sooners. Snuffed out the last chance to make 2009 a season that at least could have slain the monster that looms over Stoops.
Give Stoops’ staff credit for this: Early returns show the Sooners are at least expressing excitement about the Sun Bowl.