OU coach: End of rivalry not unlikely

Updated: September 7, 2011, 8:20 AM ET
By Jake Trotter | ESPN.com

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops could see the Sooners moving to the Pac-12 Conference without Texas. And in the event of conference realignment, Stoops didn't rule out OU discontinuing its historic football series with the Longhorns either.

"I don't think it's necessary" to continue playing, Stoops said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. "No one wants to hear that, but life changes. If it changes, you have to change with it, to whatever degree."

The Red River Rivalry, played annually in the Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair, dates back 111 years. With the crowd split 50-50, the game has become one of college football's most tradition-rich rivalries.

Stoops said it's possible that conference realignment could affect the series the same way the inception of the Big 12 effectively ended OU's annual rivalry with Nebraska.

"If it works, great, I love the game," he said. "But if it doesn't, it doesn't. Sometimes that's the way it goes.

"I'm not lobbying for anything. I'll stick to whatever (Oklahoma) president (David) Boren and (athletic director) Joe Castiglione feel is best for the university. I'm all in."

Stoops also downplayed the need for Oklahoma to play multiple games in Texas to sustain its recruiting pipeline into the Lone Star State.

"I think proximity in recruiting matters the most," Stoops said. "We've always recruited heavier and stronger more north in Texas than in the South."

Would it hurt if OU played fewer games in Texas?

"It may a little bit," Stoops said, "but overall, I don't think it would drastically."

The top-ranked Sooners (1-0), who have a rare week off this early in the season, meet No. 5 Florida State (1-0) in Tallahassee on Sept. 17.

Running back leaving Sooners

Reserve running back Jonathan Miller plans to leave the team and transfer.

Stoops said after practice that Miller had informed him that he was leaving for "family reasons and the opportunity to have a chance to maybe play a little more."

Miller took an injury redshirt last season after playing in seven games as a freshman in 2009, gaining 130 yards on 18 carries with one touchdown.

ESPN.com's Jake Trotter covers Oklahoma for SoonerNation. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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