Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Last Saturday was the Missouri football team’s first bye of the season. So what do college football players do on the rare fall Saturday without a game?
“I watched a lot of football,” Bud Sasser said.
The senior receiver said he watched the Alabama-Mississippi game, the LSU-Auburn contest, the Oregon-Arizona game and parts of Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State and Oklahoma vs. TCU. The weekend spelled losses for five of the top eight teams and Nos. 14 through 19 in the AP poll.
“Pretty sad day for some guys,” Sasser said.
The Tigers hope to play spoilers themselves this weekend, when No. 23 Missouri hosts No. 13 Georgia.
“It’s college football. There’s always going to be upsets, and a lot of that happened on Saturday,” receiver Jimmie Hunt said. “We just want to go out and make sure we’re on the winning end of that next week.”
Upsets or not, quarterback Maty Mauk wasn’t quite as intrigued by Saturday’s action.
“Actually, I planned on (watching games) all day, but I went back after practice, and I was tired,” he said. “So I slept from like 11 to almost 7. I caught the tail end of some other games, but it was a nice day to just get back and relax.”
Still, Xs and Os typically outweigh Zs on the Saturdays with no game.
“As players, we most definitely watch the game,” Hunt said. “We all get together and watch it on Saturdays when we get a chance, and we just critique everything that we can get a chance to see on the field that we can’t see on film. So it works to our advantage sometimes.”
For players at this level, catching the game isn’t necessarily an escape.
“I don’t ever watch a football game relaxing,” linebacker Michael Scherer said. “I will watch the linebackers. I watch the offensive line. I’m stuck on watching offensive linemen now when I watch games on TV.
“Even pro games. It’s just like watching film to me. It may not be a team we’re playing, but I’m still watching it like I’m watching film. I even rewind a few plays sometimes to see what happened.”
More than information, games on TV can provide inspiration. Especially when you’re trying to hold your spot as the leading tackler in the Southeastern Conference.
“To be honest, this Saturday, I watched a lot of football, but once I realized that (Tennessee linebacker) A.J. Johnson had more than five tackles and passed me up, I came up here and started working out,” said Scherer, referring to the Mizzou Athletic Training Center. “I figured I had to get a little better.”