“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.