Baker Mayfield was treated poorly and flat-out done wrong. He knows it, his coaches know it, and his teammates know it. On Saturday he'll stand on the field for the first time to face the coach and program that did him wrong, and robbed a year of eligibility from him. He won't be standing alone either.
Charles Tapper (@Takeflightchuck) October 21, 2015
Let's rewind to January of 2014. Mayfield had both started and ended the season as Texas Tech's starting quarterback. In eight game appearances (seven starts) of the 2013 season, he passed for 2,315 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions. It was a performance good enough to earn him the honor of the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, but not good enough to earn him a scholarship from the Red Raiders. That's when things fell apart.
"I mean that was kinda leading up to it, yes," Mayfield told ESPN's Jake Trotter, in January of 2014, when asked if the lack of a scholarship was the final straw to Tech. "Then after the Texas game on Thanksgiving, the next week we went in, I was splitting second-team reps after starting on Thanksgiving. I still had no idea what was going on. I'd just had enough at that point."
Not only would Texas Tech not scholarship Mayfield, they blocked his transfer to Oklahoma which would ultimately cost the Austin, Texas native a year of eligibility. Essentially they saw value in Mayfield, didn't want him playing against them, but didn't want to pay for him either. "Could I please have something for nothing," seemed to be the company line for the Red Raiders. It was the move of not scholarshipping and not releasing that isn't settling well with Bob Stoops and Mayfield's teammates.
"There's dynamics to it when you're investing scholarships," Stoops said to the media on Monday. "The hard part with Baker is he wasn't on. So that's should be, in my eyes, looked at a little bit differently."
Now as we come back to the fall of 2015, Mayfield Mania is sweeping through Norman and folks are fully on board. Mayfield is completing 67.4% of his passes, while wearing the crimson and cream, for an average of 312.5 yards per game. He's thrown 19 touchdown passes on the season (ran for four more) to three interceptions.
He's added a value to Oklahoma's offense that hasn't been there in previous seasons, and apparently he's ready to face his former coach with the full might of that offense, against a defense that ranks seventh in the conference in defending the pass. "He's ready. I just had class with him," corner Zack Sanchez said on Monday. "He's definitely amped and ready to go but who wouldn't be?"
Receiver Durron Neal said that Mayfield circled this game on the calendar, "I can see he's excited," the senior added. Senior defensive end Charles Tapper Tweeted out the hashtag #PayBackFor6 on Wednesday afternoon, seeming to indicate that the team shares in Mayfield's excitement for this game.
Revenge is one thing, but winning is ultimate goal on Saturday. If Mayfield throws for a thousand yards and the Sooners lose then nothing was accomplished except for talking. If the injustice done to Oklahoma's star quarterback is a rally point for the team, that gets them focused on the task of continuing what they started in Manhattan last week, then I'm all for it. If it turns out to be a big distraction that blows up in their faces when they take the field on Saturday then it's potentially something this team won't be able to recover from.
Personally I feel that it's a lot closer to the former than it is the later.