NORMAN — ESPN called. Several times. Wanted Bob Stoops over the phone during the South Florida-Connecticut game a week ago. During the NIT tilts from Lloyd Noble Center. During Texas A&M-Texas on Thanksgiving night. Heck, E-Span probably would have let Stoops filibuster the whole second half of that turkey of a game, since it put Mack Brown on for five minutes of the Bedlam barnburner Saturday night. But Stoops declined. The whole thing made him squeamish. The whole politick-for-your-football-team trend made him wonder what his business was coming to. The high road prevailed. But just barely. The BCS, asked to be a star chamber and declare a winner in the three-way quagmire of the Big 12 South, crowned Oklahoma, at the expense of Texas and Texas Tech. Texas’ campaign, worthy of Obama’s, swung voters to the Longhorn side. But the cold, hard computer formulas carried the day and put the Sooners in Kansas City for the Big 12 title game. “Glad to be over with,” Stoops said, sounding more relieved than celebratory. “I don’t think anyone’s been comfortable with this. Been more aggravating than anything.” Texas, which beat the Sooners 45-35 in October, put on a hard sell to remind voters of that Cotton Bowl verdict. Text-messages to voters before Owen Field was clear of OU’s 65-21 rout of Texas Tech on Nov. 22. Flyovers with banners proclaiming the OU-Texas score, funded by Longhorn alums. Mack’s mug all over ESPN, which has become the national sports stage, the equivalent of the old New York press. Don’t blame Texas. This isn’t the jelly contest at the county fair. This is cutthroat business. Big-boy stuff. Jobs and huge money and lifetime status on the line. But Stoops decided not to enter the fray. After doing the nation’s top sports radio show, ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning last Monday, Stoops said enough is enough. “When he said, ‘I’m done,’ he didn’t do anymore,” said OU publicist Kenny Mossman. Stoops could have mounted his own campaign. Could have jumped on with the GameDay crowd and asked exactly how a three-way tie became a two-way tie. Asked why Tech was being thrown out with the bathwater. Asked why Tech was punished for getting clocked by the Sooners, but the Sooners weren’t rewarded for doing the clocking. But no. “I didn’t think it was right,” Stoops said. “You gotta have your standards. I felt comfortable with the way we did it, what we had to say. I hoped it wouldn’t come back to haunt us.” Darn near did. Voters had OU solidly ahead of Texas last week. Then after Texas played at home and roundly thrashed woeful A&M 49-9, and the Sooners survived the Stillwater snake pit 61-41, voters moved Texas ahead. OU had the better victory but lost ground in the polls. Now you know why Mack Brown did what he did. Same reason politicians turn into pit bulls during elections. It works. “We talked about it all,” said OU athletic director Joe Castiglione.” One of those things, you can argue round or flat.” Joe C., like Stoops, was quick to say they mean no criticism of Texas. But their high road can be taken no other way. “Our program is grounded in really strong core values,” Castiglione said. “If those values are good most of the time, they should be good all of the time. “Taking the high road shouldn’t be something one decides to do only when it’s convenient.” Let the record show that both teams can make a solid case. Texas had to play at Tech but beat OU on a neutral field, the Cotton Bowl, so the Longhorns didn’t have a home game within the three-way tie. But the Sooners’ overall resume’ is stronger. Study the current BCS, and you see just how strong it is: * OU has four wins over teams ranked in the BCS top 15. Only Georgia Tech has as many as three wins against teams in the top 25. * OU’s win in Stillwater on Saturday night was the third-best road win all season, by any team. Ole Miss won at now-No. 4 Florida and Penn State won at now-No. 10 Ohio State. OU’s win at now-No. 14 Oklahoma State was impressive on all fronts. There was no right or wrong answer in this dilemma. Both teams — heck, all three teams — are deserving. But only one can go. The coach who didn’t politick is going. The Sooners took the high road to KC. Berry Tramel: 405-760-8080. Berry Tramel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.