Northern Illinois lost its season opener to Iowa, which ended up with a losing record in 2012. It was the Huskies' only loss of the season.
“Northern Illinois, to me ... I'm not at all complaining,” Stoops said. “They had their place had they beat Iowa. They weren't undefeated. When Boise went to Georgia to start the year, and beat Georgia and goes on undefeated, hey, give it to them.
“In the end, Iowa had a difficult year, and here they lose to them, and go on to play a bunch of teams that we'd all love to play. To me, it's not valuing the strength of schedule enough. That's where this argument is going; not where we should've been. It should matter.”
Oklahoma, which was 10-3 and a Big 12 co-champion last season, returns few starters on defense, and will have to replace four-year starting quarterback Landry Jones in 2013.
Jones' backup last season, junior Blake Bell, is the front-runner to take over under center, although redshirt freshman Trevor Knight, sophomore Kendal Thompson and senior Drew Allen will all have their opportunities in the spring.
With so many key players to replace — and such an apparently difficult schedule — some fans have already expressed lowered expectations for next year's Sooners.
“Hey, I'm not gonna tell them what to think,” Stoops said. “They'll think what they wanna think, and say what they wanna say. We're gonna do all we can to improve and compete for the Big 12 and hopefully the national. That's what we try and do every year.”