IRVING, Texas — Putting a ton of stock in bowl games is a bad investment. No matter what happens in the season finale, there’s no guarantee — good or bad — that it will carry over into the next season. Nor is it a true validation of the regular season.
However, 12th-ranked Oklahoma can alter a perception problem with a winning performance against 10th-ranked Texas A&M tonight in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at Cowboys Stadium.
The identity crisis OU faces is simple. There’s a swelling perception that the Big 12 Conference isn’t the dominant football power it once was. The Southeastern Conference is where the great players and great teams have landed.
“I don’t look at it that way. That’s propaganda, that’s what media does,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “We need to win for other reasons. I’m not worried about the media war. I’m sure they’ve lost some games already. I don’t get into that stuff. That’s for everybody else.”
He may not want to participate in the debate, but everyone else — most importantly, the players he’s recruiting to OU — are taking part in the discussion.
With the Aggies now playing in the SEC, there’s a team in Texas’ lush recruiting grounds selling the gospel of the nation’s alleged top conference to any player willing to listen.
The Sooners can’t afford for that perception to take absolute hold.
The SEC has earned that reputation. It has won the last six national championships. It’s also made a habit of beating up on Big Ten teams and rolling over Big 12 foes at the Cotton Bowl.
Perhaps the tide is turning.
The SEC has lost some bowl games over the last week. Florida’s loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl was a hit. Mississippi State getting run over by Northwestern in the Gator Bowl was another. The next chance to chip away belongs to OU.