OMAHA, Neb. — The changing Big 12 Conference caused a dust storm throughout college sports this week, but Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops doesn’t see what the big deal was.
“The dust wasn’t bothering me,” the Sooner football coach said Saturday at Rosenblatt Stadium prior to OU’s game against South Carolina in the College World Series. “In the end as everyone likes to say, it is what it is.”
Stoops admitted he was a largely a spectator in the process. Coaches were on the sidelines while school presidents and athletic directors worked out the details.
He sees positives and negatives of playing in a 10-team conference that no longer has a conference title game.
The Sooners have played in the Big 12 title game seven times since 2000 and won six of them. But one less game could reduce the chance of injury to players.
Nebraska has stated publicly this coming season will be its last in the Big 12 before moving to the Big Ten.
According to an NCAA rule, a conference must have at least 12 teams in order to play a conference championship game. Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe has talked about petitioning the NCAA for a waiver to the rule, but nothing is certain.
On the other hand, Stoops has long been opposed to teams from the Pac-10 and Big Ten being able to advance to national championship games without having to win conference title games.
“Now everyone else is playing them and we’re not. It’s kind of flipped,” he said. “We’ll see. It may be a good thing.”
So might a move by the Sooners to a 16-team Pac-10. Stoops said he was “excited” by the idea of joining the super conference as it didn’t severe ties with the Big 12 schools in Texas.
“Playing those other teams in Texas gives us a strong presence in Texas. It helps us recruiting. That along with travel and those kinds of things is what, logistically, was all working,” he said. “What the Pac-10 brings is also such long tradition and history, great schools — great academic schools. I thought all of it was win-win in my eyes.”
Since he was in Nebraska, Stoops was asked what the odds of adding the Huskers to the conference schedule in future years might be. The odds aren’t good.
OU has a home-and-home series with Florida State the next two seasons. Notre Dame is slated for 2012-13. Tennessee follows in 2014-15. Adding more national powers to the non-conference schedule isn’t likely.
“Different than some other people, we have a difficult out-of-conference schedule,” Stoops said. “To stick them (Nebraska) in between it isn’t realistic. Something needs to change.”