NORMAN — Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops doesn't enjoy facing his brother but it might become a regular occurrence.
Next week he will match wits with his brother Mark Stoops, Florida State's defensive coordinator.
With reports the Sooners are close to joining the Pac 12, he could face his brother, Mike, every year if OU and Arizona play in a Pac 16 Eastern Division as projected.
“I wouldn't like it,” Stoops said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “I've made that point. I don't like playing Mark in two weeks. It stinks.”
Stoops said he won't politick to OU president David Boren or athletic director Joe Castiglione to consider not joining the Pac 12. Athletic programs' long-term interests override family ties.
But it doesn't alleviate the awkward situation of playing against your brother. The biggest negative is it prohibits them from talking football.
“Out of season, springs, winters, when we are sharing ideas, that's been a little different,” Stoops said.
Since the two-year series ends next week, will Mark be allowed to visit OU's spring practice?
“He can come the Monday after we play if he wants,” Stoops said. “In fact, we'll talk then and share ideas on what you looked at, what you could have done better.”
Stoops said if he had a mulligan Mark might be on his staff instead of being FSU's defensive coordinator. He hired Mike as his defensive coordinator when he was hired at OU. He also wanted to hire Mark, a defensive backs coach at Wyoming.
“If I had known then what I know now I would have fought for him back in '99,” Stoops said. “If I had known I was going to be here 13 years I wouldn't have worried about some of those nepotism laws quite as much and would have had him here. I wish I had, believe me.”
Stoops also wanted to hire Mark when Mike left to become Arizona's head coach in November 2003. Each brother made a sales pitch.
“I'm not going to sit here and define everything about our family,” Stoops said. “At the end of the day he went with Mike and it's worked out really well.”
Mark ended up as Mike's defensive coordinator at Arizona, a better position than Bob could offer (defensive backs coach at OU). When Mike left it was a slam dunk Brent Venables was going to be promoted to defensive coordinator.
After six years as Mike's defensive coordinator, Mark left for Florida State last year.
“He's had great experiences,” Stoops said. “There is a lot to learn when you go into a difficult rebuilding job like they did at Arizona. Obviously, his experiences have done well for him. He's doing great. He's doing a little better than I wish he was this week.”
Mark Stoops didn't do so well last season when the Sooners romped to a 47-17 win in Norman.
“It's a rotten place to be because I appreciate the way we played,” Stoops said after last year's game. “But you cannot separate blood. I just don't like it. And I knew going into the game that I didn't. I'm positive of it now after the game.”
It's a situation Bob Stoops could face every year if the rumors are true.
Ironically, Arizona plays Thursday night at Boone Pickens Stadium. Since the Sooners have a bye week, will Bob drive up I-35 to see his brother?
“No,” Stoops said. “I (only) go to Stillwater when I have to.”
His primary focus is preparing for the Seminoles just like his brother, Mark, will be devising ways to avenge last year's loss. Still, Stoops looks forward to Sept. 18.
“It will be good to get this game behind us so we can start talking again, sharing ideas again,” Stoops said.