As it turns out, the proof is in the pudding ...and the locker room reaction.
The pudding of Oklahoma's Fiesta Bowl victory came in the form of a 28-point victory, but it was the mood in that locker room that was perhaps more telling.
When Bob Stoops came through the door he asked, "Where's the celebration?" He had to ask because, for the most part, the reaction was relatively subdued.
Now, for the sake of clarity, the Sooners had celebrated on the field and then returned to the dressing area somewhat sporadically as a few lingered in the stadium longer than others. It wasn't the normal post-game gathering.
Still, the lack of whooping and hollering was less than one might expect following a BCS victory, even one of the blowout variety.
The reason for that could likely be traced to Dec. 26. It was on that day that OU arrived to the Valley of the Sun and held its first practice.
After that workout, as players knelt around him on the Scottsdale Community College field, Stoops reminded his team of the nature of this trip. "Have fun," he said, "but remember we're here to win a game."
When he concluded, he stepped outside the huddle. It was then that Landry Jones stood up. The quarterback told his teammates, multiple times, that, "this is a business trip." Then Travis Lewis echoed the comments. The pair went on to add even more stipulations to the curfews and code of behavior that the head coach had outlined moments earlier.
In other words, the two were saying, this ain't no vacation. If you came here for frolic, stay the heck away from those of us who came here to shut up the doubters.
The speeches by Jones and Lewis were not unprecedented. Others have made similar pleas in previous years, but the moment was still poignant. Very few of these players had experienced a BCS loss as an Oklahoma player. Only six had played in that once-cursed facility called University of Phoenix Stadium. Lewis had, but not Jones.
Instead of running from history, Jones and Lewis confronted it, and by their actions said, "enough is enough." In the midst of a team that had little recollection of previous Fiesta Bowl shortcomings, two team leaders took ownership of them anyway, and in turn, raised the level of focus for an entire team.
To me, the locker room reaction was the off-shoot. I like a good post-game celebration as much as the next person, and OU has had some dandies. But what occurred Saturday night seemed the appropriate punctuation on a no-nonsense week, a period rather than an exclamation point.