The first decade of the 2000s is over, and Oklahoma football can play what-if.
What if the Sooners had beaten Florida in the Big Bowl two years ago? OU would have the most national championships of the decade.
What if the Sooners hadn't been snookered by Boise State in that Fiesta Bowl classic four seasons ago? OU would have the most victories in the decade.
What if the Sooners had not shockingly lost to Kansas State in the 2003 Big 12 title game? OU would have the most conference titles, any league, in the decade.
But enough what ifs. Florida had two outright national titles to OU's one. Boise State had 112 victories, besting the 110 by OU and Texas. And OU's six conference championships are nipped by Boise State's 61/2 in the WAC.
You know what you call that? A heck of a decade by the Sooners.
"I'm not one to rank 'em, but I've been very pleased in many areas with what we've been able to do," Bob Stoops said. "I'm very aware of the fact we have done well.
"You want to do better. You always do. You always want to move up. I do, everyone in this program does."
Before the Sooners embark on their second decade of the 21st century, maybe it's time to reflect on the first, a 10-year period in which Stoops restored the luster to one of the game's finest traditions.
"We're so focused on the future, we rarely get a chance to look back," said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione. "It is remarkable, knowing how tough it is to compete at this level."
Sure, the Sooners' BCS record is maddening. Five straight losses in the bowls that matter most, including three in national title games.
But the decade's first season produced a perfect Sooner season, 13-0 and OU's seventh national championship.
By decade's end, no program played in more BCS bowls than OU's seven, which matched USC and Ohio State. The Sooners' six conference titles doubled the total of LSU and Florida and were more than even Southern Cal, which won 51/2 in the Pac-10, a league which was noted for its USC monopoly.
The Sooners would be runaway choices for program of the decade, had they won any of three games: the national-title losses to LSU (2003 season), USC (2004) and Florida (2008).
But results count. National championships are the ultimate carrot and carry more weight in determining historic greatness.
So OU probably doesn't rank No. 1 in the '00s, although the Sooners could be slotted anywhere in the top four without too much argument.
It's a decade that ranks with the greatest in Sooner history. The '50s and '70s might have been a hair more glorious; the '80s a shade less so.
But the '00s (the oughts?) take their place with those grand eras, and the 2000s were extra special because of what they followed.
OU in the '90s played in zero BCS (or equivalent) bowl games. The Sooners finished outside the final top 25 six times in the decade. OU's winning percentage for those 10 years was .543.
OU's winning percentage in the '00s — despite a full decade in the tougher Big 12 and an archrival (Texas) at the top of its game — was .821.