If there ever was a week made for Baker Mayfield, this is it.
A real-life, revenge situation for the former Texas Tech quarterback-turned Oklahoma folk hero. Mayfield makes his return to Lubbock, Texas, for a night game, in front of a hostile crowd, playing the villain and wearing crimson and cream.
Mayfield’s career has been propelled himself with a cocktail of grudges – some real, some imagined – and a giant chip on his shoulder. And it’s worked, too. He led OU to an improbable season a year ago, helping the Sooners to the playoff as well as being on the cusp of Heisman Trophy talk.
Meanwhile, Mayfield’s departure from Tech wasn’t good. All sorts of reasons contributed to Mayfield leaving and nearly losing a year of eligibility, but he arrived in Norman, walked-on, took over and played with a frenzied pace.
Now we get to find out if that frenzied pace, that grudge, the chip on his shoulder – all of it – will affect his play Saturday against the Red Raiders.
Will Mayfield press too much? Will he be too fired up? Too amped up? Probably, that’s his nature and that’s not a good thing if you’re playing Ohio State, Clemson or even Houston. The opponent can use that energy against you.
But then there’s Tech. Mayfield has no bigger reason to be excited. No bigger excuse to shout from the mountain tops or talk trash to everyone in West Texas.
But if he does, it won’t matter. Regardless of how charged up Mayfield gets, coach Bob Stoops and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley won’t let Mayfield’s emotions control this game because they’ll make sure he doesn’t get the opportunity.
This game, which will be billed as Mayfield’s return, which will have storylines about the quarterback’s time in Lubbock and the ugly divorce, won’t be determined by what Mayfield does on the field.
It will be determined by Joe Mixon and the Oklahoma offensive line and the lack of defensive presence from Tech and maybe even Abdul Adams.
Saturday will be the perfect situation for Mayfield. He can make a glorious return and not have to shoulder the emotional baggage and pressure to win the game. Thanks to Tech being one of the worst defensive teams around and thanks to Oklahoma’s rushing game being a strong point, Mayfield will get a pass.
And he can save that energy for next week against Kansas.