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Oklahoma expects the best from ’Bama in Sugar Bowl

THURSDAY, JAN. 2, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – Whatever Bob Stoops may have said about the overall strength of the Southeastern Conference, that apparently doesn’t apply when it comes to the challenge he sees before 11th-ranked Oklahoma in tonight’s Sugar Bowl.

The Sooners’ coach made that clear on the eve of a matchup with No. 3 Alabama.

“In my eyes, they’re still the best team in the country,” Stoops said about the 2011 and 2012 national champions. “They’ve been the best team in the country for three years, up to the very last play of the regular season.”

Last spring, Stoops challenged the notion that the SEC – home of the last seven national champions – is the strongest league in the nation, calling some stories about SEC supremacy “propaganda.”

His Sooners (10-2) have a chance to back that up by beating Alabama (11-1), but Stoops knows that won’t be easy.

Oklahoma is rarely a double-digit underdog, but odds makers have listed the Crimson Tide as a 17-point favorite.

Alabama coach Nick Saban only hopes his players don’t buy into the spread or anything else that might over-inflate their confidence. The last time ‘Bama played in the Sugar Bowl was under similar circumstances and it got run out of town 31-17 by Utah.

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