Stoops' performance in 2013 could be considered the best of virtually any season in his tenure as head coach. The Sooners were left for dead nationally after a 41-12 shellacking at Baylor in early November, but ended the regular season on a three-game win streak, including a 33-24 upset at Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma also lost senior captains Trey Millard and Corey Nelson to season-ending injuries, plus the team's best defensive lineman, sophomore Jordan Phillips.
The Sooners entered the Sugar Bowl a heavy underdog, with no one giving them a chance to compete with the mighty Crimson Tide, winners of three of the last four national championships.
“Obviously, we play with anybody,” Stoops said. “This was our down year according to everybody, and we win the Sugar Bowl and beat Alabama, a team that's been No. 1 in the country for three years, so how bad could it be?”