NEW ORLEANS — After Oklahoma's 33-24 Bedlam victory in Stillwater earlier this month, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops ended his news conference by offering a story idea.
“Write Big Game Bob, Sooner Magic's back,” Mike Stoops said. “How's that? That work?”
While many might dispute the return of “Big Game Bob,” the Sooners' berth in Thursday's Sugar Bowl against No. 3 Alabama proves beyond a reasonable doubt that “BCS Bob” is alive and well.
Since the Bowl Championship Series' inaugural year in 1998, OU's Bob Stoops has coached in nine of the top-tier bowl games, more than any other coach.
He has won an Orange Bowl, a Rose Bowl and a Fiesta Bowl, and with a victory Thursday, he would become the only coach in the BCS era to win all four games.
He would also join Joe Paterno as the only two coaches to win the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls.
Despite his success in getting to BCS games, Stoops' teams have struggled to win many of them over the past decade years. The Sooners are 3-5 in BCS games under Stoops, and but 1-5 in their last six appearances.
Stoops' first BCS loss, coincidentally, came 10 years in the Sugar Bowl — the 2003 national championship game — against LSU, led then by current Alabama coach Nick Saban.
The Sooners were routed the next year by USC in the Orange Bowl, stunned in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl by Boise State, then blown out a year later in the Fiesta Bowl by West Virginia.
Oklahoma also lost the BCS National Championship Game to Florida in January 2009.
Thursday's Sugar Bowl is Oklahoma's first BCS bowl appearance since routing hapless Connecticut in the Fiesta Bowl to end the 2010 season.
Since the 2008-09 national championship game appearance, Stoops' program has been on a steady decline in terms of recruiting success, All-Americans and championships, among other benchmark areas.
Still, this year's team finished the regular season 10-2, a remarkable showing considering the Sooners' inconsistent quarterback play and several key injuries to veteran leaders.
“We do same things daily, monthly and on a yearly basis in how we work our program,” Bob Stoops told reporters earlier this month. “The guys in the locker room and coaches, we never lost faith. … We had areas, whether it was inexperience or injuries, we didn't manage them as well.
“You guys paint the picture and it changes from week to week. The picture in our locker room doesn't change.”