NORMAN — Mark Stoops wasn't expecting to see older brother Bob or the Oklahoma Sooners this season.
He wasn't expecting it even after he decided to become the defensive coordinator at Florida State.
"Well, he was talking to me about it, leaving Mike, what I thought," Bob said of Mark, who previously was brother Mike Stoops' defensive coordinator at Arizona.
Unbeknownst to Mark, the Seminoles were scheduled to play the Sooners.
"He didn't even know it at the time. And I didn't bring up. I knew, of course, but I didn't say anything," Bob said. "We talked it through, that he's the only one that can make that decision in his career, what he wants to do.
"When he said he was going to do it, I said, 'Well, you know we're playing the second game of the year, right? And he said, 'No, I didn't!'"
For the first time Saturday, Stoops brothers will face off against one another from opposite sidelines.
The Stoops matriarch, Dee, is flying in for the game. Asked how his mom felt, Bob replied "conflicted."
"You don't really want to play your brother," Bob said. "You want to play your brother in the championship game because. ... someone is going to win the championship. That's really the only time you're looking to do it."
Saturday won't be a championship. But it's a big game for both sides.
Mark has been charged with resurrecting the defense of a Sunshine State power, something Bob did in Gainesville during the 1990s before taking the head job in Norman.
Mark's reclamation project could take a big step forward if Florida State upsets OU.
Bob's Sooners, meanwhile, could take a big step toward the national championship game with a victory.
Talk about sibling rivalry.
"I actually talked to him today, but not about much," Bob joked. "I said, 'Well, I'll see you Saturday.'"
Growing up, though, Mark had little sibling rivalry with big brothers Ron Jr., Bob and Mike, who were all at least five years older than Mark in age.
"My older brother Ron is three years older than me and the three of us were always scuffling, especially me," Bob said. "But Mark was too young, he couldn't be in the middle of it. No one was fighting him."
With their parents and sisters in rooms downstairs, the four boys shared a room upstairs in the family's Youngstown, Ohio, two-story home. That arrangement often led to trouble.
"He was like our toy," Bob said of Mark, who isn't allowed to do interviews during the season per FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher's rules. "He was in the hospital getting stitches about every other week. In fun ways. Bouncing him off the bed. We'd have him jump on the bed, and we'd try to take his feet out. And we'd catch him, but every now and then, he'd go flying off and crack his head. I can't tell you how many times he had to go get stitches.
"My dad would come up and shake his head. I can't tell what he'd do after that. In today's world, it wouldn't sound so good. It worked for us, let me put it that way."
Outside, Mark never backed down from the chance to impress his big brothers, or the other older kids in their blue-collar neighborhood.
"Mark would do anything," Bob said. "We'd get him on the high dive, he'd do back flips, anything. He was a little bit of a daredevil, too. But I think he was doing it because we were all telling him to do it. A young guy doesn't want to say no."
When it came time to hang out with kids his own age, having older brothers had its advantages.
"When he first started playing Pop Warner, he had been running around with three older brothers and he really understood how to play," Bob recalled. "So he was like Dick Butkus and Walter Payton out there. He'd play middle linebacker and kill everybody. He'd play running back, and he had all the moves. Just because he was so much further along with other kids. I remember just laughing, how good he was at that age."
As he got older, Mark was good enough to follow in the footsteps of Bob and Mike to the University of Iowa, where he too played defensive back.
After college coaching stints at Iowa, South Florida, Wyoming, Houston and then Arizona, Mark landed the plum gig of defensive coordinator at Florida State this past offseason, replacing longtime coordinator Mickey Andrews, who was one of Bob's mentors as a young coach.
Now, the two brothers will meet in Stoops Bowl I.
There won't be stitches this time. But the neighborhood kids will be watching.
And best believe, little brother will be looking to impress big brother once again.