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PHOENIX -- Last December, Bob Stoops watched the Insight Bowl from the Iowa sideline with an Iowa football sweatshirt on.
His neck doesn't work like it used to because of his days as a free safety for the Hawkeyes from 1979-82.
"We have a whole collection of Iowa gear we had to leave home this week," Stoops said Sunday night, when the No. 19 Oklahoma Sooners (9-3) landed in Arizona for their Insight Bowl matchup against Iowa (7-5). ". . . Once you start to play, it's just somebody else on the other side."
The Sooners begin practice Monday at Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe. Iowa arrived Thursday night. The Insight Bowl kicks off Friday at 9 p.m. on ESPN.
Stoops said all of his players who were expected to make the trip are in Phoenix. Defensive end Ronnell Lewis (5.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss) was ruled academically ineligible and didn't make the trip. He will likely skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
Lewis is listed No. 18 on ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper's "big board." Iowa junior offensive tackle Riley Reiff is No. 10.
Stoops brought up a question about scheduling a regular-season game with the Hawkeyes. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz also was asked this when the Insight matchup was announced.
No, that's not happening, not as long as Stoops is at OU and Ferentz is at Iowa.
"I've been asked by our athletics director if it's something we'd ever want to schedule in the regular season," Stoops said. "I said not really. I'm not looking forward to that. This is just something that works out this way. We'll treat it like another game."
Not all of Oklahoma's players traveled to Arizona on the team charters (two planes). Stoops allowed a handful of players who live close to Phoenix to go home for Christmas and find their own way to the bowl. Oklahoma did the same thing last year when it played in the Fiesta Bowl, also in Phoenix.