FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Shortly after Oklahoma won a seventh national championship in 2000, coach Bob Stoops simply said, time to go to work on No. 8. After two misses in the 2003 and 2004 national title games, the Sooners have another chance Thursday against Florida. But OU has the opportunity to achieve something grander than that. Win, and the Sooners break a four-way tie with Alabama, Ohio State and Southern California for second place in all-time national titles. Win, and the Sooners make a strong case for at least the second-greatest program in college football history, second only to Notre Dame. "I did a story for a national preview magazine about 15 years ago declaring Oklahoma the No. 1 program of all-time,” said ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde. "That might have been a stretch, putting the Sooners ahead of Notre Dame, especially given the periodic scandals in Oklahoma history. "But at the very least, I think Oklahoma is a defensible No. 2 — especially now that Bob Stoops has restored it to primacy. With a win here, Oklahoma is either a stronger No. 2 or a possible No. 1, if you want to argue it.” These Sooners have done nothing so far but augment that argument. OU became the first team in 104 years to score 700 points in a season. The Sooners are also averaging more points per game this year than any team in college football’s modern era. And last month, quarterback Sam Bradford became the school’s fifth Heisman Trophy winner, the second Sooner to earn the honor in five years. But while OU can bolster its all-time standing significantly with a victory, the downside to losing is just as precipitous. "Unfortunately, a lot of people live in the last 10 minutes,” said CBSSports.com columnist Dennis Dodd. "I guarantee you that 90 percent of people don’t even know OU has seven national championships.” That’s why losing a fifth consecutive BCS bowl, including a third straight national title appearance, could stick the Sooners with a stigma that will be hard to immediately eradicate. "With a loss — especially a bad loss — the Stoops Era takes a significant hit. The Sooners need to show us something about their ability to compete at the highest level outside the Big 12,” Forde said. "The last four BCS losses have all been embarrassing in some form or fashion: Oklahoma was solidly favored against LSU and never led; was murdered by USC; was stunned by Boise State; and was undressed by a West Virginia program everyone thought was in chaos.” But, as longtime Atlanta Journal-Constitution college football writer Tony Barnhart points out, OU will not be undone in the grand scheme by losing this national championship. Bud Wilkinson and 47 straight and The Game of the Century and Barry Switzer and the Selmon Brothers and Sooner Magic provides for a legacy that is far greater than a single game. "Oklahoma is one of the top five programs in the history of college football, and the Sooners will still enjoy that status, win or lose, on Thursday,” Barnhart said. "If Oklahoma wins its eighth national title, its standing next to Notre Dame is very noteworthy. "But one loss, or even a series of losses, does not take away from a legacy. Once you have it, you have it. You can only add to it.” The Sooners will set out to do just that.