Przybylo: Just one more thing

OU can't win the national championship in the next three weeks, but it certainly could lose it in this defining stretch.

Time to put the bye week to rest for Oklahoma as the Sooners return to the gridiron this weekend. But before we do that, let’s talk about one more thing.

This three-game stretch will define OU

Every coach believes the bye week comes at a good time. When you’re done with the first month of the season, the little things start to pile up.

OU isn’t snake-bitten with injuries, but the Sooners had a lot of nagging ailments the players could try to rest up and get better for this week’s showdown against TCU.

Cornerback Zack Sanchez will probably have to deal with his shoulder injury the rest of the season. It gave running back Keith Ford another week to try to recover from his fractured fibula. Defensive lineman Charles Walker is still recovering.

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips said his back was bugging him. Coming off back surgery around this time last season, any mention of back problems have to be taken seriously.

The Sooners are 4-0 and as the games keep being played, it feels like OU has as big a right as any other school in saying they deserve a seat at the table of the first college football playoff.

Biggest nonconference test is behind them with the win against Tennessee. First conference road win is in the books at West Virginia.

And while everybody (and every recruit) is going to circle Nov. 8 against Baylor, this three-week stretch is going to let us know if that game is still relevant.

It begins this weekend at TCU. Following that is the annual Red River Showdown against Texas and concluded with the first home game in a month when Kansas State comes to town.

“Sometimes those stretches are positive in that, you know here they come, here they come, and you’re ready for them,” Bob Stoops said last week. “I can remember back in 2000, we had Texas, Kansas State and Nebraska in that stretch.

“So sometimes when they’re bunched together in that way, it’s a positive.”

Nobody is comparing this three-game stretch this season to 2000, but each presents its own challenge. The Horned Frogs are 3-0 and have looked dominant this season. The defense is always stout but so far the offense has been able to produce as well.

Texas is going through a rebirth with Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback, and the Longhorns defense has been up the challenge the last two games. OU was a heavy favorite last year against a two-loss Texas team and got ran off the field. Anything can happen in the Cotton Bowl.

And if you know one thing about KSU, it’s that Bill Snyder’s bunch is going to give you its best shot. The Wildcats were close to upsetting Auburn two weeks ago, and KSU went on the road and won in Norman two years ago.

The Sooners cannot win the national championship in October or even clinch a spot in the playoff, but it can all go away with one subpar outing against one of these three teams.

Baylor is getting closer and closer, but OU doesn’t need to worry about the Bears yet. And better not during the next three weeks.

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