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Bob Stoops not focused on Big 12 future

Bob Stoops and Mack Brown shape the direction of the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns football programs, powerhouses that allowed the Big 12 to stay together for at least one more season when they recommitted to the league last summer.

But both coaches insist that -- while a super-league may be the wave of the future, as Stoops said -- they're staying out of the decision-making process as school officials again discuss a possible jump to the Pac-12.

"I'm for whatever the president and athletic director feel is best for the University of Oklahoma," Stoops said Monday of David Boren and Joe Castiglione, speaking to media during the Big 12's weekly conference call. "And as long as we get to play I'll go play where we need to go play. So I've got great faith in them. So for me to say what I'd prefer wouldn't be at all right to do."

The opportunity to join the Pac-12 is up to Oklahoma and Texas, and the schools realize the ball is in their court, a source close to the situation told ESPN's Joe Schad last week. The concept of a Pac-16 regained steam after Texas A&M said it would leave the Big 12 by July 2012 if it can find another home, preferably in the SEC.

"It seems that's the direction that the world's going," Stoops said of the prospect of a super-conference. "So if it is, so be it. But my job right now is we're getting ready for practice today and start working for Florida State. That's what I'm spending my time on this morning."

Brown also deferred to his school's president and athletic director when asked about the Big 12's future.

"I really just left that up to Bill Powers and DeLoss Dodds," Brown said. "Gotta get our football program back to where we want it to be."

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Saturday the conference isn't seeking expansion partners, but acknowledged that "schools have reached out to us."

"Very honestly, haven't talked to them about it," Brown said of Powers and Dodds. "We went through all this last year and we talked about it daily. We were in the Pac-10. At that time it was gone, we were done. And then the next day we were here. So it was all over the place."

With half the Big 12 heading into an off week, after all 10 teams won their openers at home, there are more questions about the future of the league.

"It seems like there's about five different scenarios out there that everybody thinks are guaranteed to be the case," Brown said. "So I've got my hands full with Brigham Young on Saturday night, and I know we're in the Big 12 until the end of the year."

After trimming down to 10 teams with the losses of Nebraska (Big Ten) and Colorado (Pac-12), the Big 12 hadn't even opened its new season before Texas A&M last week formally announced its intention to leave the league.

Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman grew tired last week of constant questions about realignment and the Aggies' likely move, a storyline piqued by Wednesday's official announcement.

"We never paid a whole lot of attention to any of the other stuff," Sherman said after Sunday night's 46-14 victory in College Station. "We focused pretty hard on SMU. They warranted our undivided attention. That's all we talked about."

The Aggies are expected to apply for membership to the SEC as early as this week when they are one of the teams with an open date.

"I did not think it would come up again," Brown said. "I thought it was over for at least 10 years."

There had been interest from the then-Pac-10 last summer of Texas and Oklahoma, along with Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, heading West as potentially part of a 16-team league.

But there is more uncertainty for teams such as Kansas, Kansas State, Baylor and Iowa State should the Big 12 crumble.

Second-year Kansas coach Turner Gill insists he is not too concerned and has confidence in Big 12 leadership, including the presidents and chancellors of the league's schools.

"I believe that the Big 12 Conference will be standing strong at some point in time," Gill said. "How it all shakes out, I don't know, but I do have confidence that there will be a Big 12 Conference."

Two days after Oklahoma State billionaire booster Boone Pickens said he didn't think the Big 12 will last much longer and believes the Cowboys eventually will end up in the Pac-12, coach Mike Gundy said he hopes that's not necessarily the case.

"I would hope that our league could somehow stay together and survive. I guess it doesn't look like that that is going to happen," Gundy said during his weekly availability on the Stillwater campus. "Or maybe somebody could come in because I like the Big 12. I like this part of the country, I like the recruiting aspects of it. I'm not afraid to say that. I like the rivalries that we have in this league."

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said he has addressed his team about the situation, telling them to take care of "what is really significant" for them on the field playing games.

Snyder shared with his players some of the history of Kansas State, from being part of the Big 6 Conference that started in the 1920s, to the evolvement into the Big 8 and later the Big 12.

"You can't afford to get caught up in the politics of what's taking place in our conference," Snyder said. "That's for somebody else."

Baylor's Art Briles, whose team is coming off a 50-48 opening win over defending Rose Bowl champion TCU, said he isn't really thinking about what might happen since he can't change it. The coach doesn't plan to talk to his players about it unless they ask, and none of them have asked.

"I have absolutely no control over what's happening," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "I'm just going to focus on our big game this week against Arizona State."

While Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech all have open dates already, Missouri and Oklahoma State have short weeks of preparation.

Before Missouri plays at Arizona State on Friday, Oklahoma State is home Thursday against Arizona. At least for the Cowboys, they have a rematch of a team they beat 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl last December.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.