Bob Stoops is done with the politicking that has turned the national championship race into a campaign, and he thinks other coaches are getting tired of it, too.
Bob Stoops is done with the politicking that has turned the national championship race into a campaign, and he thinks other coaches are getting tired of it, too.“It’s unfortunate. No one likes to do it,” the Oklahoma coach said Tuesday at his weekly news conference. “I think that’s why more and more of us say, ‘Hey, let’s find a way to get a playoff in place so that we don’t have to do that.’”His Sooners sit third in the latest BCS standings, a minuscule eight thousandths of a point behind rival Texas for the second-place spot that would put them in position to play for the national championship.Having already made his case for why Oklahoma deserves one of the top two spots after a 65-21 rout of then-No. 2 Texas Tech on Saturday, he refused to do it again on Tuesday.“You know what the arguments are. Everybody can raise them as they want to,” Stoops said.The challenge for the third-ranked Sooners (10-1, 6-1 Big 12) is to do enough to sway BCS poll voters to put them ahead of Texas on their ballots, even though the Longhorns beat Oklahoma 45-35 loss to Texas at the Cotton Bowl in October.Oklahoma already is ahead of Texas in the coaches and Harris polls, but needs to lengthen that lead and gain ground in the computer rankings, where the Longhorns have a slim lead.Chances are, Oklahoma can make enough of a jump in the computers by simply beating No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-2, 5-2) in the Bedlam rivalry game Saturday to pass or match Texas. The road game against another highly ranked team will provide the Sooners a boost in strength in schedule that Texas won’t get by hosting Texas A and M.“I’m not going to sit here and debate all that. We’re concentrated on going to Oklahoma State and being as prepared as we can be and focused to play a really strong team. That’s what we have to do,” Stoops said. “From there, we’ll see where it goes.”Stoops said he was “not going to go through all the hypotheticals,” and he believes there’s no room for the Sooners to concern themselves with style points. They’ve got enough of a challenge playing at Stillwater, where they lost in 2002 and their last two wins have come by a combined nine points.“When you’re the one that has to compete, you do all you can to focus on being as prepared as you can to win whatever way you have to,” Stoops said. “Always, going on the road, no matter where you’re going, is never easy. You’ve got to be able to meet that challenge.”Stoops laid out the Sooners’ case Saturday night, dismissing the logic that Texas should remain ahead of them on the strength of the October win because the same logic would have Texas Tech staying ahead of the Longhorns because of its head-to-head win earlier this month.Even Florida was brought into the mix: “If you’re going to forgive other people for one loss because they’re playing well now,” Stoops continued, “forgiving a team for losing at home to an unranked team and they’re playing well now, so let’s vote them up there. Well, we’re playing pretty well right now, too.”But all that posturing was over once game week started.“We can’t worry about the voters and where they’re going to rank us or anything like that. We’ve just got to come out and do our job and know at the end of the day we left it all out on the field,” cornerback Dominique Franks said.“Wherever they figure we should be, that’s where we’ll be.”It doesn’t do much good for Stoops and his players to delve into how certain computer rankings have Texas Tech rated in front of the Sooners because they consider only wins and losses, and not final scores, or how their bid to bolster strength of schedule by facing Cincinnati and TCU seems to be wiped out by Championship Subdivision foe Chattanooga and winless Washington, which wasn’t nearly so bad when the game was scheduled a few years ago.All they can do is win.“I don’t sit and try to figure it out, but I know what numbers show up on the TV. We know what we have to do to extend our season and reach the goals that we set for ourselves,” linebacker Austin Box said.“This coming Saturday is a big stepping stone for that, so we’re going to have to go out and play our best football.”