"Real simple," Stoops said Monday morning during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "My comment on it is what it has been the last two weeks, that I leave that in the hands of my president (David Boren) and athletic director (Joe Castiglione) who I have great faith in to determine what's the very best for the University of Oklahoma, and I mean that. That's not just a pat answer."
The OU board of regents will meet late this afternoon in Tulsa, where it is expected to authorize Boren to act on the school's behalf regarding conference realignment.
Stoops said he has been consulted on the issue. "I have been all along," Stoops said. "They (Boren and Castiglione) have wanted to know my feeling in regard to this whole matter and in respect to the piece of the puzzle it is to everything."
Away from the board room, the top-ranked Sooners strengthened their hold at No. 1 with a 23-13 victory at No. 5-ranked Florida State on Saturday night.
OU hosts Missouri on Saturday at 7 p.m. looking to avenge last year's 36-27 loss against the Tigers in Columbia, Mo. At the time, the Sooners were ranked No. 1 in the first BCS rankings released last season.
"We went up there and they whipped us," Stoops said. "Our players are more than aware of that and anxious to play."
Earlier in the teleconference call, Texas coach Mack Brown reiterated his school wants to keep the Big 12 intact, in part because joining another conference would negatively affect traditional rivalries and the ability of fans to travel to road games.
"I think everybody that has been here the last couple of years was for all that, as I was," Stoops said of keeping the Big 12 intact. "But at the end the day, as landscape changes, you have to change with it. There's a lot to consider, which our university officials are considering. As far as (being) a distraction, I don't see it being one. All we're thinking about is playing Missouri."
Stoops on other topics during the teleconference call:
Your reaction when Jimmy Stevens' line-drive barely cleared the crossbar on his 31-yard field goal with 2:01 remaining.
"You're kidding me, with such an easy field goal that's all we got? But, anyway, at least he had the right (direction). It's kind of like when you hit a poor drive, 'I had it down the middle, even though it didn't go as long as I wanted, you know.' So, anyhow, it got the job done."
What did you learn about your defense Saturday night against FSU?
"A lot of guys were so good. (Middle linebacker) Tom Wort was incredible, had a huge game. (Defensive end) Frank Alexander had a huge game up front, was really great. (Free safety) Javon (Harris) had an excellent night. You know what? Most everybody did. It was great. We had one bad play (a 56-yard touchdown pass on third-and-28 with 9:32 remaining). Even with that bad play, they don't get 250 yards. It was really solid. It makes a big difference when you can play defense like that."
What did you learn overall about your team, especially in the fourth quarter?
"Just the character, the poise, to play in the fourth quarter the way they did and answer the bell. I've had a good feeling about this team, and yet you have to prove it and you have to see it – that they have that kind of poise and character to come out and finish the game. The last nine minutes of the game are exactly what you want, in all parts of the game. (When) we had to answer it and go down and score, we did. … Defense gets an interception, so they answer the bell. The offense runs the ball, runs the clock out, gets the field goal. … In all phases, we did what we needed to do."
What do you hope a win like this does for your team the rest of the year?
"Well, it just keeps building confidence and poise. There'll be different circumstances through the year and you ought to know how to handle them and what wins for you, and that's the discipline to play in the moment. I was really proud we played 66 snaps in that raucous crowd that was incredibly loud and we don't have a procedure, we don't have an illegal shift, we don't have a delay of game, so it was really good to play that way."
What was the biggest impact linebacker Travis Lewis had returning from an injured toe ahead of schedule?
"He did a great job of continuing to lead and to be a vocal and strong leader and motivating leader. It's hard to do when you're not playing. You can easily drift into the woodwork. It is hard to have a lot to say when you're not out there doing it, but the players have such respect for him. He made sure that he continued to do it and to be around and be in front of everybody. It made a big difference in these last few weeks."
How much of that is innate, and how much of that has he learned?
"I think it's been both. It is innate, it's fairly natural for him, but also in the last couple of years it's been learned and he realized that the team needs it and he's willing to give it. He's learned that, 'Hey, this is part of being an older player that's played well. I need to have something to say to get the other guys to play this way.' "
What's your impression of Missouri quarterback James Franklin? Was he a player you guys recruited very much?
"Yeah, we've always liked him and did (recruit him) to some degree. I think he's an excellent player. He has excellent size and can run, but also does an excellent job throwing a football. I said the same thing a week ago. (FSU quarterback) E.J. Manuel was a big, strong guy who can run and throw the football, so I'm going to say all the same things this week and it's true. He (Franklin) is a good player, a really good player."
Was one of the best parts of Saturday the run defense because other than a 28-yard scramble from Manuel, your team didn't give up anything on the ground?
"Absolutely. That's always a major factor for us. (FSU's running backs had 4 net yards on 13 carries.) To get people in predictable situations and to really be great against the run game is really a big factor on defense."
Explain your protest to officials concerning penalties while your team was in punt formation deep in your own territory.
"I was mad. I thought the rule states that if you are intentionally drawing a guyoff-sides and not making a legitimate move to jump the snap, that's a penalty. Actually, our team has been called for that. That's what I was stating to the official."
With the days of the Big 12 apparently numbered, is there any greater sense of urgency to win the conference this year?
"There's always a great sense of urgency for us to do that, and we've done it a lot (seven Big 12 titles in eight championship game appearances). Last year it was pretty special with Nebraska leaving (and) to play them in it (a 23-20 victory). Every year that's one of our main goals, so this year it is, too. To say it's more so than another would be taking away from these other years."
How do you manage the revenge factor stemming from last year's 36-27 loss at Missouri, or is that something you let go?
"It's just like managing last week with all the hype around. Just because there's hype doesn't mean that wins for you. Just because Florida State was mad and wanted to do something, they circled us for a year, doesn't mean it wins for you. Just because they (Missouri) beat us a year ago, we understand it's a big game, but it doesn't mean it wins for you. In other words, do the work. There's a process of working through the week and being prepared for it. That's what wins for you, being prepared, doing the work and when you get opportunities in the game, meeting the challenge and making plays."