Bob Stoops is no fan of the Southeastern Conference.

The Oklahoma coach has been vocal of his displeasure of the SEC’s media perception. Last summer, Stoops questioned the league’s overall strength, pointing out that the SEC’s top six teams went 30-0 against the rest of the league in 2012 and called the conference’s perceived dominance of college football “propaganda”.

Stoops further addressed his thoughts on the SEC this past July while visiting with ESPN as part of the network’s “Car Wash” marathon of interviews with college coaches.

“It’s (non-conference schedules are) not real strong, and you’re only playing 8 conference games,” Stoops said. “The bottom line is, all 14 aren’t doing real well. And there’s some of them you wouldn’t mind playing.”

If any team fits that description, its Tennessee. The Vols have been a proverbial cellar dweller for several years. Historically an SEC powerhouse, Tennessee has experienced four-straight losing seasons and is 14-34 in SEC games since 2008.

But you won’t hear that from Stoops, at least not this week. As Oklahoma prepares for a matchup Saturday against Tennessee in Norman, expect to hear nothing but compliments from the Sooners’ head coach. Every coach speaks highly of their upcoming opponent, whether or not they actually believe it to be true. We’ve seen Nick Saban talk up Georgia Southern or Guz Malzahn praise San Jose State. The games’ outcomes are always what we expect.

It’s an unwritten rule to build up your upcoming opponent and Stoops will be no exception. He will likely say how Tennessee is an underrated program on the rise and a tough non conference opponent. In college football, you’re only as good as your schedule. For either team, Saturday’s game is a potential win over a well known NCAA program.

Hypothetically, a win over the Vols means much more to Oklahoma’s ranking with the proper build up. If Stoops acknowledges Tennessee as a major program with a rich, winning tradition, the win seems more monumental. However, if he holds true to his opinions, Stoops will downplay what could be perceived as a solid victory to boost Oklahoma’s already high ranking.

For Tennessee, a win over the Sooners would be monumental. Not only would a victory over No. 4 Oklahoma prove much more significant than Utah State or Arkansas State, but it would also prove the SEC’s biggest naysayer wrong. Stoops has been the most vocal antagonist to the Southeastern Conference and, even without dropping names, used the Vols as an example.

With Oklahoma heavily favored, an upset by Tennessee could provide the ultimate silencing for the vocal head coach. However, the Vols will have their hands full facing an even greater obstacle in the Sooners than the inferior competition they’ve faced thus far.