With the 2016-17 college football season officially underway, now is the time for the top players in the country to prove themselves and make their case for winning the Heisman Trophy.
Early pre-season Heisman favorites such as Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, LSU tailback Leonard Fournette, Florida State tailback Dalvin Cook and Stanford all-purpose specialist/tailback Christian McCaffrey are all likely to get a lot of attention this coming fall from likely Heisman voters.
One player that few are talking about as a possible winner is Oklahoma Sooners redshirt junior quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield, a 6’1 210-pound former transfer from fellow Big 12 rival Texas Tech, made himself a household name—and possible 2017 first-round pick—among Heisman watchers last year in passing for 3,700 yards, 36 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
Mayfield would also add 405 yards rushing and seven touchdowns, thus making him a dual-threat in the air as well as on the ground.
Despite coming up on the short end of a 37-17 College Football Playoff semifinal loss to the aforementioned Watson in the Capital One Orange Bowl, Mayfield still finished with an impressive stat line in going 26-of-41 for 311 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
One year later, the former high school standout out of Austin-area football powerhouse Lake Travis High has a chance to add to the Sooners’ recent Heisman Trophy-winning success.
Thanks to recent winners such as Jason White (2003) and Sam Bradford (2008), Mayfield has the tools—as well as a favorable schedule—to become possibly Oklahoma’s sixth player to claim college football’s most prestigious individual award.
Looking at Oklahoma’s 2016 schedule, Mayfield will face FIVE ranked teams, including three in the first five weeks such as an upstart 15th-ranked Houston Cougars team on the rise, a reloaded sixth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes team in an early-season primetime matchup in Norman. The week after that, Mayfield and the Sooners travel to Fort Worth to face an always dangerous 13th-ranked TCU squad.
Below is a list of Heisman “highlight” games where Mayfield can state his case, with three of them being at home in Norman, one tough trip to Waco to face Baylor and a neutral site game in Houston.
- (9/3) No.15 Houston (neutral site in NRG Stadium)
- (9/17) No.6 Ohio State (home)
- (10/1) No.13 TCU (away)
- (11/12) No.23 Baylor (home)
- (12/3) No.21 Oklahoma State (home)
What may be possible trap games are tough road games in a hostile homecoming game in Lubbock against projected 2017 NFL Draft top-ten pick in QB Patrick Mahomes and the high-flying Texas Tech Red Raiders (10/22). He will face a very fired-up and raucous Morgantown crowd vs. Dana Holgorsen’s patented Air Raid offense and the West Virginia Mountaineers (11/19).
And then there is longtime and bitter border rival Texas Longhorns (10/8) right after the Ohio State-TCU meat grinder.
If Mayfield can put up big numbers in those games against that gauntlet of teams and lead Oklahoma to another Big 12 title and College Football Playoff berth, he will book his ticket for New York.
If all things fall the way they should for Mayfield, then there is a good chance that some good old Sooner Magic will help him bring another Heisman back to the Great Plains.