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OU football coach Bob Stoops: Sooners ‘major focus...great motivation' is winning Big 12 title

OU FOOTBALL — University of Oklahoma football Bob Stoops said Monday that the Sooners' goal of winning the Big 12 conference championship is still alive and well, even after losses to Texas Tech and Baylor.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: November 21, 2011

The Big 12's football mantra entering this season was "That's How We Play."

"To win this conference, you have to play the whole conference," was inscribed on the back of the Big 12 football media guide. "We believe a true conference champion can only be decided by playing everyone. Not just some of the teams some of the time."

This season, for the first time in Big 12 history, every football team played each other.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said becoming "a true conference champion" remains his team's quest after any shot at a national championship disintegrated following Saturday night's 45-38 loss at Baylor.

"Oh, it's a major focus and it's a great focus. It's great motivation," Stoops said during Monday's weekly Big 12 coaches' teleconference. "We look at it as a chance to be the (Big 12) champion. That's great motivation and it could be a great year. That's how we look at it."

A preseason pick at No. 1, the Sooners (8-2; 5-2) slipped to No. 9 in this week's BCS standings with only two polls remaining.

With its shocking 41-38 loss at home to Texas Tech on Oct. 22 and its first-ever loss in 21 games against the Bears, OU's sole focus is winning its eighth Big 12 championship since 2000.

"That's a great year anytime you're the champion of your league, and that's what we still have an opportunity to do," Stoops said. "That'll be great motivation right there. To be honest with you, that's something I talk about from the beginning of the season. To have just your one goal to be national champion isn't always very realistic and the percentages of that for everybody are pretty difficult."

What other motivation will Stoops share with his players?

"I'll leave that up to myself and the team," Stoops said. "I'm not much on broadcasting my messages to everybody."

The Sooners host Iowa State (6-4; 3-4) on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Cyclones are fresh off their 37-31 double-overtime upset at home over No. 2-ranked Oklahoma State last Friday night.

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