Andrew Gilman

Slighted again: The Baker Mayfield saga

Slighted again: The Baker Mayfield saga

Deshaun Watson was named the nation’s best quarterback for the second season in a row.

Hard to argue, honestly, considering no one can pick apart the track record of the Clemson quarterback who has led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff for the second season in a row.

The Davey O’Brien Award went to Watson Thursday night in Atlanta. Good for Watson. Good for Oklahoma football, too. Perhaps bad for Baker Mayfield, but definitely good for Oklahoma football.

Just like last year, Watson has been named the best quarterback in college football and once again Mayfield has been overlooked, at least that’s how Mayfield will see it, and that’s a positive for Oklahoma.

Lightly recruited and passed over out of Lake Travis High School in Texas. A walk-on at Texas Tech before being passed over once more. A walk-on at Oklahoma where he sat out a season before becoming an unlikely savior of the 2015 season.

Mayfield led Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff a season ago, boosted by grudges – some real, some imagined. He’s the underdog and the story was played up. Rightfully so. Mayfield talked about his time at Texas Tech, talked about his time as a walk-on at Oklahoma and the season he sat out. He even disparaged TCU, out of the blue, for no reason, just a day before the Sooners took on Clemson in Miami. Make the case he’s rouge, a rarity.

Players are motivated by all sorts of different things. Hard to say what works for some. With Mayfield it isn’t hard to tell at all. He thrives on controversy, slights and even some negativity. Turns it into a positive, which is one of the most-endearing and odd things about the guy.

Watson is the first two-time winner since OU’s Jason White. Watson did lead Clemson to the Playoff, Mayfield didn’t. He led the nation in passing yards. He mad more rushing yards and touchdowns than any other quarterback in FBS. There’s a case here for Watson, but OU fans shouldn’t feel bad about this situation. Did Watson have a better season than Mayfield? Maybe. Doesn’t matter. Not to Mayfield, anyway.

And it shouldn’t matter to OU fans, either. Don’t feel slighted. Feel good about it because you know Mayfield does. It’s what fuels him. Mayfield won’t win the Heisman either and that, too should work in OU’s favor moving into next year as Mayfield says he’s returning for 2017.

Mayfield had an historic season last year. He had another this year as he led the nation in pass efficiency and completion percentage. Chances are, Mayfield will be expected to do it again next season. The question is what grudges will he able to use to motivate himself?

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