NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Gabe Lynn understands if Oklahoma is considered an overwhelming underdog in the Sugar Bowl against Alabama.
Just don't expect the senior safety to react with such understanding when asked if the No. 11 Sooners are "scared" of the Crimson Tide — a question several teammates have been peppered with since the bowl selections were announced Dec. 8.
"Nobody's asked me that, but (they've) kind of talked about how they're such a great team or whatever (and) how we can't play with them," Lynn said. "I've heard stuff like that, but I haven't heard anything like, 'We're scared of them.' Because we're definitely not scared of them."
Oklahoma (10-2), a 16-point underdog, will have its chance to prove worthy of a BCS bowl selection on Thursday night when it takes on third-ranked Alabama (11-1).
The game carries with it plenty of intrigue simply because of the presence of the Crimson Tide — winners of three of the last four national championships and the premier program in college football since coach Nick Saban's arrival in 2007.
The might of Alabama, however, is far from the only story line.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops made sure of that as far back as last spring when he challenged the notion that the Southeastern Conference — which has fielded the last seven national champions — is the most complete league in the country.
Stoops called some of the stories about SEC supremacy "propaganda." He followed that by taking a jab at SEC defenses this season, all of which made for quality radio and Internet material.
The winningest coach in Oklahoma history, having surpassed former Sooners coach Barry Switzer this season, has wanted little to do with the SEC story line leading to Thursday's game. The closest he's come to providing clarity on his earlier comments about the conference was to say he was talking about the lack of quality teams in the league's bottom half — not teams like Alabama.
"There's always a lot of talk because newspapers have to be filled and airtime has to be filled," Stoops said. "You have to talk about something. We don't concern ourselves with it, really. That's their job to do. Our job is to get ready to play and to do the work we do."