Greason: Mayfield’s actions won’t prevent him from winning the Heisman
Elizabeth Greason | Monday, November 20, 2017
Nothing too crazy happened in the world of college football this weekend. At least in terms of results.
But Twitter, ESPN and a wide variety of fans did explode not once but twice during a game that probably would have otherwise gone unnoticed: Oklahoma–Kansas. The 10-1 Sooners were fully expected to blow out a one-win Kansas team.
However, what was unexpected was the behavior of Sooners redshirt-senior and Heisman frontrunner Baker Mayfield. Maybe it shouldn’t have been that unexpected. Mayfield has established a pattern of problematic actions this season, but Saturday’s were arguably the worst yet.
At the coin toss, Kansas’ captains refused to shake Mayfield’s hand. Mayfield laughed it off.
But, late in the third quarter, with Oklahoma up 27-3, Mayfield ran along the sideline grabbing his crotch while yelling some choice expletives at the Kansas sideline.
Mayfield apologized for his actions after the game during media availability and via a tweet, but it was too late. The world had already gone wild, discussing whether this would affect or even end Mayfield’s Heisman chances.
Well, I’m here to tell you it won’t.
Sure, the criteria for the Heisman Trophy winner are as follows: “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance and hard work.”
Arguably, Mayfield has proven he does not live up to the “integrity” portion of that Heisman mission statement, especially since Saturday was not an isolated incident.
During Oklahoma’s Week 2 win over Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, Mayfield planted the Sooners’ flag at midfield after the game, angering many.
And then, before the Sooners’ Week 4 matchup with Baylor, Mayfield got chippy with Baylor players pre-game, saying “You forgot who daddy is. I’m gonna have to spank you today.” Not necessarily wrong, in the world of trash-talking, but certainly weird and questionable.
But, Johnny Manziel won a Heisman after being arrested for disorderly conduct at Texas A&M. That didn’t deter many Heisman voters.
Or worse, Jameis Winston won a Heisman. After being accused of rape. And theft. And skipping out on a hearing with the school.
Winston and Manziel’s Trophy wins prove, more than anything, that the majority of Heisman voters care a whole lot more about on-the-field performance than they do about off-the-field antics and distractions.
Baker Mayfield has accumulated 3,816 yards passing so far this season and is averaging nearly 350 yards per game through the air. He currently totes an efficiency rating of nearly 200, at 199.3. He has a 70.8 completion percentage.
There is no denying the guy is good. The question is whether or not Mayfield has the moral character to be a Heisman winner. And while I wish I could say Mayfield is out of the Heisman race after yesterday’s performance, he simply isn’t. His statistics are too good. He’s another Manziel or Winston — and he hasn’t done anything on the level of an alleged rape — in the sense that his performances will stick in the minds of voters much longer than his flag-planting and crotch-grabbing.
So, Baker, the Heisman is yours to lose. But I certainly hope you can pull your act together and represent the Trophy a little better, if it does end up in your hands.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.