Sooners 'definitely not scared'

Updated: January 1, 2014, 3:29 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NORMAN, Okla. -- Gabe Lynn understands Oklahoma is a huge underdog against Alabama, but don't expect the senior safety and his teammates to be afraid of their Sugar Bowl opponent.

The No. 11 Sooners (10-2) have been peppered with questions asking if they're "scared" of the No. 3 Crimson Tide (11-1), who are 16-point favorites, since bowl selections were announced Dec. 8.

"Nobody's asked me that, but (they've) kind of talked about how they're such a great team or whatever (and) how we can't play with them," Lynn said. "I've heard stuff like that, but I haven't heard anything like, `We're scared of them.' Because we're definitely not scared of them."

[+] EnlargeBob Stoops
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezBob Stoops may be the winningest coach in Oklahoma history, but he's lost his last three games against SEC opponents and is 3-4 during his career against teams from that conference.

Senior center Gabe Ikard still considers Alabama the "best team in college football," and now he'd love to shock the country.

"Alabama's been the king of college football, so they deserve all that respect," Ikard said. "Now it's up to us to go down there and play them well and go get our Sugar Bowl victory."

The Crimson Tide have won three of the last four national championships and are college football's premier program since coach Nick Saban's arrival in 2007.

The Sooners, however, are just falling in line with what coach Bob Stoops has been preaching since last spring -- that the SEC, which has fielded the last seven national champions -- isn't the most complete league in the country.

Stoops called some of the stories about SEC supremacy "propaganda" and took jabs at SEC defenses this season.

The winningest coach in Oklahoma history, however, has wanted little to do with re-kindling that fire heading into Thursday's game, saying he was just talking abut the lack of quality teams in the SEC's bottom half -- not teams like Alabama.

"There's always a lot of talk because newspapers have to be filled and airtime has to be filled," Stoops said. "You have to talk about something. We don't concern ourselves with it, really. ... Our job is to get ready to play and to do the work we do."

Stoops has lost three games in a row to SEC teams, including a Sugar Bowl loss to LSU after the 2003 season and to Florida in the BCS national championship game after the 2008 season. He's 3-4 overall against the league, with the latest loss coming against Texas A&M in last season's Cotton Bowl.

In fact, the last SEC team Stoops and Oklahoma beat was pre-Saban Alabama -- doing so in back-to-back regular-season games during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Of course, that was the pre-Saban Crimson Tide, and the games were also the last time the Sooners played an SEC team during the regular season.

The underdog role suits freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander just fine.

"I mean, we've been the underdog all year," Alexander said. "Nobody expected us to do what we've done this year. ... It just pushes us harder. We're just going to continue to do what we've been doing."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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