Stoops wants no part of such talk, of course. No talk of a different vibe or renewed optimism.
“We didn't change,” Stoops said. “We didn't go do something different. It's not about riding the wave. We don't go down in here, down in here. We do the same. It's how we continually work our program.
“Guys in the locker room, coaches, we never lost faith. We felt like we could finish the year strong.”
Sure, Stoops said, everyone feels better, “but in the end, does it change how we operate and what we do? No.”
Of course, the Sugar Bowl could submarine the newfound giddiness. If Alabama wins 42-3, then reality sinks in fast. But otherwise, this is a no-lose bowl for the Sooners. Which is rare for them. Hard to remember OU ever walking Moral Victory Boulevard (Texas 2009?), but that's exactly what the Sooners would achieve, even in defeat, if they play Bama tough.
“We've kind of kept the same attitude all year long,” Knight said. “We've battled injuries, we've battled adversity. But we've always found people to step up and make plays and continue on. People got down on us throughout the year, but now here we are, 10-win team, going into the Sugar Bowl against a great Alabama team.”
Everything looks different. Everything looks better. Winning is the great elixir. There are two primary ways to change the vibe around a program. One is to fire coaches. This way is much better.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.