Norman, Okla. For the first time in five years, Oklahoma enters its Saturday showdown with Texas without having beaten the Longhorns the previous year. That makes no difference to Sooners coach Bob Stoops.
"Even when we were on our run, what'd I say every year? 'It doesn't matter what happened a year ago. We've got to go win it again,'" Stoops said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. "You've got to be able to do it all over again. Each year is different, each team is different, and I believe that now as well."
The Sooners lost last year's meeting at the Cotton Bowl, 45-12, ending a five-game winning streak in the series during which Oklahoma outscored Texas, 189-54. That's all in the past now, as is the talk of whether the Sooners had a psychological edge on Texas or whether Stoops had some innate ability to beat Longhorns coach Mack Brown.
"You have to get yourself in a position to win it now," Stoops said. "What happens next year doesn't matter, what happened last year doesn't matter."
Even this year, Stoops doesn't expect the fact that the 13th-ranked Sooners (3-1) enter as the underdog to No. 7 Texas, the defending national champs, to provide much motivation.
"I don't prefer it either way. It doesn't matter to me," Stoops said. "We've won it (as the) underdog and we've won it being favored. ... We're not sitting here like that's our mantra. It's not our deal."
Stoops said he thought the Sooners were better in all three phases than they were entering last season's Red River Rivalry.
"It's not even close," he said. "There's no question we're a much different football team coming into the game than we were a year ago. I don't even know that you can compare the two. And one of the biggest reasons, too, is Adrian Peterson's healthy. That changes everything."
Meanwhile, Texas is without its star from last year's game, quarterback Vince Young.
"There's no denying with Vince Young back there, it's just different. They run a lot of similar plays and again Colt McCoy's doing an excellent job. But you're talking about a guy who was picked second or third in the NFL draft who can make plays happen when they weren't there," Stoops said.