The Luxury of a Bye Week

Unlike the casual or diehard fans, college football players do not get the opportunity to watch the highly advertised games each Saturday during the fall, but OU players were able to sit at home this past weekend like fans and enjoy games.

Because of the No. 6 Sooners' recent bye week, players did not have to wait for someone to tell them or have to scoreboard watch, which was a weird feeling, said senior defensive tackle Adrian Taylor.

"It always is," Taylor said. "Especially sometimes when you see the replays on Sundays of yourself and it's kind of crazy, but just to see other teams and you know some of those guys and it's kind of cool just to watch them again."

The one game the players could sit and enjoy was the matchup between South Carolina and Alabama, where the Gamecocks upset the defending national champions 35-21. Alabama, who held the No. 1 ranking going into the game, losing helps the Sooners in their pursuit of a national title, especially in the week prior to the first BCS rankings.

"Obviously that helps us if we handle our business – that's all we can control," Taylor said. "We can't control what other teams do, but it was just nice to see somebody else lose on the top."

But the former top team in the nation falling does not mean OU has a clear or easy path to the national championship. The Sooners still have to do their job, junior linebacker Travis Lewis said.

"You still need to win all of your games," Lewis said. "Just because ‘Bama lost doesn't mean we need to play any less or, like, we play harder because they're not No. 1. You still need to go out there and you need to win all of your conference games and then go win your championship game."

But, some players did not take the opportunity to be only a Saturday fan. Sophomore defensive lineman Stacy McGee said he had almost a football-free weekend, and senior defensive back Jonathan Nelson took the off time to go home and celebrate his mother's birthday.

"I was watching a little bit because I went back home and it was my mom's birthday," Nelson said. "It was good seeing family and seeing her and seeing the rest of my intermediate family. It was more so trying to kick back and chill."

But when Nelson was able to catch some of the games, he finds himself watching like a coach rather than a fan.

"I actually find myself sort of turning into coach [Brent Venables] while I'm watching those games," Nelson said. "I remember back in high school I would watch it like a fan, you know, not really worrying about what's going on.

"Now, I'm more so critiquing it."

The Sooners cannot enjoy the luxury of sitting and watching a game on television this upcoming Saturday as they square off against Iowa State at home.

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