College football is not the only fall tradition in Norman.

It is the biggest, but it does not stand alone.

The second kicks into high gear the first time the mighty Sooners, now 10-time Big 12 champions, lose a game.

Bob Stoops elevated one of college football's proudest programs to the sport's most elite status, one reserved for only the Alabamas and Ohio States of the world.

Every program loses games. Very few programs leave the country and fan base wondering "What is going on over there?" after every loss, launching conversations about the state of the program.

It's the most obnoxious compliment a coach can be given.

"Is the Alabama dynasty over?"

"Does Urban Meyer still have his fastball?"

"Is Bob Stoops the guy who can get Oklahoma its next national title?"

Stoops, of course, already provided the program its seventh national title back in 2000, his second season in Norman and a staggering 17 years ago.

He's spent the better part of two decades futilely chasing Oklahoma's eighth championship, losing three times but collecting Big 12 titles like no coach in history along the journey.

That chase is over now. Oklahoma is 33-year-old offensive wunderkind Lincoln Riley's program now.

On Wednesday, Stoops shocked college football by announcing a retirement preceded by almost no chatter during the season or postseason.

The Sooners stumbled to a 1-2 start before ripping off 10 wins for another Big 12 title and a Sugar Bowl rout of Auburn. Stoops' Heisman candidate quarterback, Baker Mayfield, is back. He's got a hyped matchup in his home state -- against Meyer and Ohio State -- on the 2017 schedule. 

None of it was enough to draw the coach back for one more run. 

Stoops is done, and can you blame him? He might be a trendsetter. We may see fewer and fewer coaches on the sidelines into their 60s. 

His father, Ron, died of a heart attack at 54 years old while coaching a football game back in 1988. 

His father also never had the opportunity to make more than $5 million a year, as Bob Stoops does. Few coaches have ever had that opportunity. 

Stoops did it by building a consistent program that won at least 10 games 14 times in 17 seasons. 

He won five major bowl games and -- somewhat infamously -- lost seven more. Only four other active coaches -- three until this last season -- had national titles on their resumes.

It was rarely good enough for a large portion of the fan base that craved national titles in years Oklahoma showed up in the preseason top 25. That is to say, every single season since Year 2 under Stoops. The Sooners began the season inside the top 20 every year since 2000 and outside the top 15 just three times in that span. 

Fans chewed on Big 12 title trophies long enough for them to lose their flavor. 

Stoops had a famously close relationship with his bosses, athletic director Joe Castiglione and president David Boren. Both remained in their posts for Stoops' entire tenure. Those relationship kept him at Oklahoma when powers like Florida or Notre Dame came calling. 

But college coaching is an often thankless job with long hours and brutal travel, convincing teenagers that you're a better choice for them than any number of other well-qualified middle-aged men. Stoops knows he chose an inadvisable, inevitable career path for the son of a coach. The next cardiologist that recommends a patient enter college coaching will be the first. 

Stoops was appreciated in Norman, but it's not a stretch to say he spent much of his tenure being underappreciated. 

His bank account attests to the former. Last month, he purchased a second home in Chicago (that's two homes in Chicago and a third in Norman, for those keeping count) for $2.25 million. It's a purchase that lends credence to Oklahoma's story that this move was set in motion months ago. Stoops is leaving to live the kind of life his father never got to live. Stoops loves coaching, but enough of it is unsavory to see why riding off into the sunset at 56 with a healthy eight-digit net worth is an attractive option. 

But Stoops leaves with a luxury no amount of cash can buy. He'll depart Oklahoma with a near-pristine legacy. Even his greatest rival, Mack Brown, didn't get that. He was pushed out, barely removed from a 5-7 season and amid criticism he'd hollowed out the program's culture and foundation. 

This is the opposite of a forced retirement. It's a coach going out on his own terms and going out on the back of a Big 12 title and 10-game winning streak. 

Add it all up and no one should be surprised by this exit.

"I'm grateful for this season of my life, and feel I've fulfilled my purpose here at OU as its head football coach," Stoops said in his statement on Wednesday.  

Five years from now, don't be shocked to see Stoops scratching his coaching itch again at another major program, but for now, he wants to see life on the other side. He's made more money than he ever dreamed of as a kid in Youngstown, Ohio, but coaching college football often makes it hard to enjoy that money and the family that has made Norman home. 

It won't be hard anymore. 

Stoops is nine years younger than Nick Saban. He's 21 years younger than his mentor, Kansas State coach Bill Snyder. 

He never envisioned coaching quite as long as either of them, and more coaches may follow in his footsteps. Fifty-eight coaches made at least $2 million in 2016, according to USA Today's database. 

The weight of coaching college football has never been heavier. The need to carry it has never been lighter. 

Stoops is done (for now). It's Lincoln Riley's turn, and Castiglione doesn't feel nervous about handing the reins a man who will now be the youngest coach in college football. 

Riley's never been a head coach, but neither had Bob Stoops on Dec. 1, 1998, when Castiglione hired him. Castiglione didn't have a pressured, hastened coaching search of a few weeks to find the future of his most valuable asset. 

He had a patient two years to observe Riley and gauge opinions from players and coaches who interact with him every day. He's been impressed enough to give him a three-year extension last month, a raise to $1.3 million annually and make him the first assistant coach in Oklahoma history to make more than $1 million per year. 

If you have your guy, don't get distracted by the grass on the other side of the fence that might not be as green. Riley had been being groomed for this position for a long while, and even though he's being handed the keys far earlier than anyone expected when he was hired, it doesn't make him any less of the right choice for Castiglione. 

Oklahoma's entering a new phase of its program but for power programs with legendary coaches, you'll rarely see a transition this serene.