Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops continues to shower praise on his upcoming opponent, the Alabama Crimson Tide, in the run-up to Thursday evening's Sugar Bowl.
According to B/R's Marc Torrence, Stoops called Alabama the best team in the country, despite its last-second loss to Auburn in the Iron Bowl:
Bob Stoops calls Alabama, "in my eyes, still the best team in the country."— Marc Torrence (@marctorrence) January 1, 2014
Stoops' opinion is not an unpopular one. The Crimson Tide lost one game last season too, but with enough breaks they were able to make the national title game against undefeated Notre Dame. And after they beat the Irish 42-14, no one was arguing their supremacy.
That Alabama led for most of the game, on the road, at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn leads many to believe it is actually the stronger team. College football is a sport where one week can ruin your season—but that's not necessarily a foolproof way to judge a team's merit.
According to Football Outsiders' F/+ ratings, Alabama is indeed a better team than Auburn, ranking No. 2 in the country. Auburn checks in at No. 4—though it was far lower before beating Alabama and Missouri—and Florida State is No. 1.
Oklahoma, for what it's worth, ranks all the way down at No. 23, behind the likes of Virginia Tech. According to Vegas Insider, the Sooners are 16.5-point underdogs, though Alabama's motivation has been called into question. After contending for a national title for most of the season, it remains to be seen how much the Crimson Tide care about a "meaningless" bowl game.
Under similar circumstances, Utah upset the Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl in 2009, beating a far superior team by two touchdowns.
If his opponent shows up ready to play, Stoops will likely be proven correct in his assessment of its talent. But he'd gladly be proven wrong.