NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops wasn't in the mood Tuesday to politick on behalf of his Sooners in the Bowl Championship Series debate. It's not time yet, he said. Maybe there won't even be a time for it in 2011.
“I don't think we have to,” Stoops said. “We'll see. I wasn't much on lobbying much the last time we were in that situation, and it worked pretty good.”
Stoops is referring, of course, to the 2008 season in which OU lost early in the season to Texas but rallied late with an important victory against Texas Tech. He made a soft play for OU immediately after the 65-21 rout of the Red Raiders, but then backed off to neutrality by his news conference the following week.
Stoops is not yet ready to wade into the muck of arguing which one-loss team — the Sooners, Alabama or Oregon — would merit a title shot should they all continue to win.
The hypotheticals are perhaps too great this stage, considering three games – including the all-important Bedlam game – remain for Oklahoma.
He said the team was told Monday in a meeting about the meaning and opportunities related to the three-game stretch run. Then it moved on to Baylor (6-3, 3-3 Big 12).
Really, though, Stoops will not be able to fully immerse himself into the week's opponent – because the BCS questions aren't going anywhere, so long as the Sooners (8-1, 5-1) continue to win.
Stoops said he does not watch the BCS unveiling each week on ESPN. After initially claiming he didn't even know what OU is ranked – it's currently fifth - he backtracked a bit.
“I might accidentally glance and find a paper or somebody might accidentally tell me,” he said. “I'm not totally naïve or out of it.”
OU, idle this past weekend, moved up from sixth to fifth as a result of losses by previous No. 4 Stanford and previous No. 5 Boise State. The Sooners didn't zip to fourth, though, because Oregon defeated Stanford and went from seventh to No. 4.
Pundits and fans of anyone other than OU continue to point out that the loss to Texas Tech was so ghastly that it should prevent the Sooners from national championship consideration. Proponents of OU, though, argue that the Sooners have the best wins of any of the suitors. That sentiment would only gain steam, too, if OU defeated OSU – currently No. 2 in the BCS – in Stillwater. It would be the biggest final statement any of those teams could make.
Oregon will likely face a lightweight, Arizona State or UCLA, the night before in the Pac-12's first-ever championship game. Alabama's loss to LSU knocked it from the SEC title game, presuming the Tigers keep winning.
There's also the potential that, in the end, voters could be against a rematch, again pitting either Oregon or Alabama against LSU.
Come on, who's really right and who's really wrong at this juncture? That's why Stoops generally abstained Tuesday from the lobbying game.
“Everybody has their own opinion,” Stoops said. “Let's face it. Everybody has their own opinion, agenda, whatever it might be. Sometimes it's, ‘Well, let's look at who's hot at the time.' Or someone else, ‘Oh, but they lost to this team.'
“At the end of the day, everyone has a different take on it. It's fair to say why they have a different take. Anyone that has a loss, you can turn it around any way you want and make it look the way you want, to write your story or make your comment.”
Here's a look at what Stoops had to say about...
… the status of linebacker Tom Wort's ankle.
“Tom Wort should practice today. We'll see. He was running and doing drills (Monday), but he didn't go through our team work. He looked closer to being ready to play.”
… who OU's starting center will be Saturday, Ben Habern or Gabe Ikard.
“We'll see here this week whether Gabe starts at center, or Ben. I'll announce that maybe tomorrow or Thursday. I'm sure the coaches are still looking at that. We just actually have to confer whether we'll change or go with what we had. The chemistry's been good. Let me just wait on that.”
… Robert Griffin III turning into more of a passer this season.
“Their efficiency throwing the football has continued to progress. It's been excellent here this year. That's probably the biggest part that I recognize.
… all three of Baylor's losses coming on the road.
“They're averaging right around 50 points a game. They're playing with a lot of energy and great success at home, for whatever reason – like a lot of teams around the country. … At home, they sure have lit it up and played well.”
… what matters to Stoops when he votes in the coaches' poll.
“What people have done to this point. And my feeling is strength of schedule matters the most, in how I look at it. … I do the best I can to follow the games. Where were they? Scores? … I've always tried to do a good job. I can't say I'm doing a better job now than I was. I've always tried to pay attention.”
… night games (this is OU's seventh kickoff after 6 p.m.).
“Beautiful.” (sarcasm?) “It's fair to say that it matters more. Hopefully, moving forward, we don't have to play as many and other teams don't. I don't know if that's how it should be. You shouldn't have to get in from a conference game that's a 45-minute flight at 4 in the morning, like we did (at) Kansas.”
… Landry Jones having to maybe prove himself without Ryan Broyles.
“I wouldn't say that. He's thrown to more than just Ryan, and thrown it well. I just feel he'll need to adjust to different people in that position. I've got confidence in his accuracy and decision-making that he'll continue to do well.”
… Broyles being around the team, even though he's injured. (Surgery, he said, is scheduled for about two weeks from now.)
“He's been around at practice. He's been rehabbing. I'm sure they'll start with the strengthening with the leg, now that the swelling's about down. He's walking in a brace. He comes out to practice and was visiting with the guys. He's doing his best to be around.”
… Irritation with people trying to crown players Big 12 player of year in early or mid-November.
“I always have a problem with everyone wanting to decide this with three games to go. Let's see where it goes in the end, if those guys are in contention. I'm sure there's athletes from other schools who have had excellent years.
“I thought the votes were in before we played Oklahoma State. … I've got no idea (why). That's a pretty important game. It was last year, as well. Some of our guys light it up and it gets overlooked, because everything's already been cast already. We'll see the timing of everything this year.”