Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sees the SEC going to four-team pods
Chris Lee • 8/9/2021 in Football
If Stoops's hunch is correct, the Southeastern Conference would be divided into four-team pods instead of eight-team divisions
Bob Stoops photo courtesy of the University of Oklahoma
Former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops believes that the Southeastern Conference will play in four-team pods, rather than eight-team divisions, once Texas and Oklahoma officially become SEC members.
Stoops, in a 17-minute episode uploaded to his YouTube channel last Friday with host Brad McMullan, believes that adding those two teams will change the conference structure.
"My feeling--and I haven't been in those meetings, and I haven't been told--I would guess it would be, with 16 teams, it would be pods of four. That would be my guess on how, similar to the NFL," Stoops said.
How does Stoops believe the pods would be divided?
"I think you automatically start geographically," Stoops said, "and so that would be Texas, Texas A&M, [Oklahoma] and Arkansas as the closest. And those are all some good rivalries on one pod. But again, please don't take it as I know, that is my guess."
McMullen also asked Stoops about the timing of the transition. Texas and Oklahoma are scheduled to stay in the Big 12 until moving to the SEC in 2025.
"I don't think we really know until we know what the future is for other teams in our league," Stoops said. "Some, if they're going to move to a different league, may have to move sooner. ... I'm not in those high-powered meetings where that's going on and what the timing is. But I know we're committed to moving through our contract... but if things fall apart, it may be sooner."
Stoops doesn't believe the SEC will act alone in expansion.
"I would anticipate conferences adding, hopefully, other teams adding that are throughout the Big 12, and elsewhere," Stoops said. "I don't believe it's going to stop. Rarely does anything... I think it will continue to morph into bigger conferences."
Stoops seemed optimistic about the Sooners' move to the SEC, but admitted it was a bittersweet transition.
"In the end, I think more than anything, I think our administration is looking out for the University of Oklahoma for the next 50 years," Stoops said. "Very few things in life stay the same. I'm a traditionalist, I wish things could remain the same, but that's just not possible in today's world. We've always been, in all these negotiations, over the last 10, 20 years, the Big 12 is last in line for all these TV contracts."
Stoops, who retired in the summer of 2017, had a 190-48 record at Oklahoma.