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Stoops says he's not surprised OU fell in AP poll

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer Published: September 26, 2011

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said he wasn't surprised his team fell from the No. 1 spot in this week's Associated Press poll, despite the Sooners pushing their home-field winning streak to 38 games with a 38-28 victory over Missouri on Saturday night.

"Not really," Stoops said Monday morning during the weekly Big 12 coaches teleconference. "Hey, I agree with LSU, the schedule they've played so far. I'm not surprised. I thought it might be by more, even. The schedule they've had, you definitely have to pay attention to."

A convincing preseason pick at No. 1, the Sooners fell from the top spot for the first time after No. 2-ranked LSU posted a 47-21 victory at No. 16-ranked West Virginia on Saturday night. The Tigers opened this season with a 40-27 victory over No. 3 Oregon at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and won 19-6 at No. 25 Mississippi State on Sept. 15.

However, where a team ranks in the weekly AP poll has no bearing on the quest to advance to the national championship game.

The AP poll no longer is used to calculate the BCS rankings, which determine the annual showdown between No. 1 and No. 2.

The BCS now utilizes the USA Today coaches' poll, the Harris Interactive poll and six computer rankings.

OU remained No. 1 in this week's coaches' poll, where LSU and Alabama tied for second.

Head-to-head matchups eventually will help determine the top spots in the final BCS standings. LSU plays at Alabama on Nov. 5 and OU plays at No. 5 Oklahoma State on Dec. 3.

Asked if his team might use the No. 2 ranking in the AP poll as a rallying point, Stoops said, "I don't know that they will or not. It's so early in the season there isn't anybody at all focused on that. I'm not sure whether they will or not. At the end of the day, we're just focused on each game as it comes and worry about doing what we can do something about, and that's playing well."

The first BCS rankings will be announced Oct. 16. This year's national championship game is Jan. 9 in New Orleans.

Here's what Stoops said on other topics during the teleconference call:

Thought on Texas A&M officially leaving the Big 12:

"I wished it hadn't happened, but I still believe we have a really strong and powerful league when you look at the rest of the teams and the quality of football teams in the Top 25. When you look at the fact that we have been in a bunch of championship games and have won a couple of them, it's still a very strong league with a lot of great players in it and excellent coaching. There's still a great deal here, when you look at the BCS system and what we've all been able to do."

How will A&M's departure affect what OU does in the future?

"I don't know that it's going to affect us all that much. It's disappointing. I wish it hadn't happened this way, but still if that's what they need to do, they'll do it and we'll continue on. What it changes for us, in the last 12 years we've been in eight Big 12 championship games and now we don't have one, but hopefully we can still be champions. I don't know if it has to change what we've been doing at all."

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