Baker Mayfield should be a big winner this week, as he has been all season

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Baker Mayfield
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 11: Quarterback Baker Mayfield /

This will be the biggest week in Baker Mayfield’s life, or at least until Jan. 8, when the Oklahoma quarterback hopes to be standing on the winner’s podium at college football’s national championship game.

There is little mystery either that Mayfield’s name has been engraved on the trophy long ahead of time or that the Sooner Magic Man has been the best player in college football this season. The Oklahoma quarterback has rewritten the record book in several national passing categories in his three years after walking on to the Sooner football program, and he has been in top contention for the Heisman for three years now.

Mayfield’s time has finally come. He has been a Heisman finalist in each of the last two years. On Saturday night, Mayfield will become only the second player in Heisman history to finish in the top four in votes for three consecutive years. Herschel Walker, the 1982 Heisman winner.

When the Heisman ceremony takes place this Saturday at the PlayStation Theater in the New York Mariott Marquee Hotel in Times Square, the only real question to be answered is who finishes second and third. Mayfield’s selection could be by the largest vote margin ever in the 82 years the Heisman Trophy has been presented (since 1935).

Lamar Jackson, quarterback at Louisville and last year’s Heisman recipient, and Bryce Love, a n outstanding young running back at Stanford, also will be in New York this weekend as 2017 Heisman finalists, but they are merely window dressing for what will be Mayfield’s night.

It’s hard to imagine that the player honored with the 2017 Heisman received very little recruiting attention out of high school and was a walk-on at two major college programs. Even harder to imagine that Texas Tech let him walk on and then walk away after just one season.

Even growing up in Austin, Texas, in the shadow of the University of Texas, the University of Oklahoma was always where Mayfield’s heart was. OU didn’t offer him a scholarship coming out of high school, and he ended up at Texas Tech, where he walked on and became the first freshman at that program to start the season at quarterback as a freshman.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

Mayfield started the first five games of the 2013 season at Texas Tech, all victories. He was injured in the fifth game, however, and missed several games. In the meantime, he was replaced in the starting role, and as the season wore on, his relationship with the Tech coaching staff soured, leading to his decision to transfer.

The rest is glorious history, and Oklahoma became the grand beneficiary of one of the best transfer gifts any college team could hope for (and a second might be waiting in the wings with next season’s expected QB starter Kyler Murray).

Mayfield has been a lightning rod in college football for the past three seasons, not only because of his outstanding play and incredible passing accuracy, but also because of his fiery competitiveness, his unwavering confidence bordering on cockiness and, of course, his sometimes brash, emotional behavior.

The widest winning margin in the history of the Heisman voting was in 2006, when Troy Smith of Ohio State received 1,662 more points than the runner-up. In 1993, Charlie Ward of Florida State outdistanced his chief challenger by a 1,622-point margin. More recently, Marcus Mariota’s winning margin in 2014 was 1,284 points. All, incidentally, were quarterbacks.

O.J. Simpson won by 1,750 points in the 1968 Heisman race, but that was when 1,200 ballots were cast in the voting. The number of ballots sent out was cut back after that.

Whatever the point total on Saturday night. Mayfield is expected to receive the vast majority of the first-place votes in what could easily be the biggest winning margin ever.

Rumor has it that they are already clearing a place for a new bronze statue of Baker Mayfield to join six other Sooner all-time greats in Heisman Park, outside and immediately east of Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.