There’s a pretty good chance that No. 15 Oklahoma (3-0) isn’t going to lose this weekend.
That’s because the Sooners have a bye.
The players are off. The assistant coaches are off. Even Bob Stoops is off. Sort of.
“I sit around and watch everybody else run through the wringer, watching all the other coaches sweat it out,” Stoops said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We have only one bye week this year, so I get the one reprieve, one Saturday to relax and watch everybody else go at it.”
Stoops probably needs a reprieve after a wild win over Tennessee in Knoxville on Sept. 12. The Sooners trailed 17-0 late in the first half before coming back to win, 31-24, in double overtime.
There’s big wins, there’s huge wins and then there are really huge wins. That was a really huge win.
“It was,” Stoops said. “And definitely we had some good fortunate and some breaks there towards the end of the fourth quarter. Baker Mayfield made some incredible plays. Then Sterling Shepard came up with some gigantic plays to tie it up.”
Mayfield wasn’t great statistically – 19-of-39 for 187 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions – but he combined for four touchdowns (three pass, one rush) in the fourth quarter and overtime. Shepard, to his credit, finished with game-highs in receptions (seven), yards (74) and touchdowns (two). He also had the game-winner in double overtime – an 18-yard grab on 3rd-and-3.
“I’m just proud of our team,” Stoops said. “They showed a lot of character, a lot of mental toughness to come back (and win) in that environment.”
That win, however, didn’t prevent nationally known radio personality Paul Finebaum from calling Stoops and Oklahoma “irrelevant.”
Was that an SEC/Big 12 jab?
“I’m not sure,” Stoops said. “To be quite honest with you, I don’t much care. In the end, I’m coaching football. It doesn’t seem to be real dignified to have an opinion on someone else’s opinion, so I just let it go.”
Stoops, who is in his 16th year at Oklahoma, has found a way to block out the noise and nonsense on a regular basis.
“During the week, you’re so busy preparing (that) you don’t hear (what’s being said). You don’t listen,” Stoops explained. “You’re not in an environment to pick up on it. Now what happens is Thursday or Friday, someone will say, ‘Well what about what so-and-so said?’ And I’m like, ‘Don’t go there. I don’t need to know what he said.’ I try to protect my mind and what I’m doing. I really do a good job until someone brings it up to me.”
Stoops won’t have to put with any noise this weekend. His Sooners host West Virginia (2-0) on Oct. 3 before the annual Red River Rivalry with Texas (1-2) on Oct. 10.