It’s the most talked about scene so far of the tender college football season.
Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield grabbed a large Sooner flag moments after he led his team to a 31-16 victory over Ohio State on Saturday night and sprinted around Ohio Stadium. He then dashed to the 50-yard line and attempted to stab the flag pole in the middle of the Buckeyes logo. The flag fell over — it was one of only a few bad moves Mayfield made — given that it’s difficult to plant anything in artificial turf.
By Monday, the social media chatter debated whether Mayfield was savage or unsportsmanlike, and the Sooner quarterback opted to apologize for his perceived lack of manners.
“I didn’t mean to be disrespectful to any Ohio State people at all, especially the team or the players, because they’re a great team and a great program,” Mayfield told reporters Monday in Norman. “It was an emotional game. I knew that it was going to have a lot of implications on the playoffs. I got caught up in an emotional win. Yeah, it should’ve been something I did in the locker room. So I apologize for doing it in the middle of the field.”
Notice he didn’t say he was sorry that Oklahoma is right in the middle of the playoff talk, just after anyone mentions Alabama. It also should be noted that such chatter doesn’t have a long shelf life if OU doesn’t keep winning.
The Big 12 did itself proud over the weekend. After its victory over the Buckeyes, Oklahoma reached No. 2 in the Associated Press poll. Oklahoma State was ninth, Kansas State 18th and TCU 20th.
The Cowboys next go on the road to take on Pitt. It’s a Saturday game — what a novelty. Oklahoma State is 2-0 playing on a Thursday (a win over Tulsa) and Friday (a road victory at South Alabama). Cowboys coach Mike Gundy didn’t watch a ton of football on Saturday after his team got back from its 44-7 romp past South Alabama. Gundy spent his time hunting turtles that had been feasting on the fish that populate the ponds on the coach’s property outside Stillwater.
After the Sooners, the Horn Frogs helped the Big 12 the most by morphing into an SEC-style team to overwhelm Arkansas 28-7 on the road. The Frogs lead the country in scoring defense, allowing 3.5 points a game. Coach Gary Patterson paid most attention to the stat that said the Hogs offense was only on the field for 54 snaps.
“We’ve been No. 1 in nation in total defense five times,” Patterson said. “In those years we averaged 55 plays (per game). In that game Saturday, we were somewhere in the 50s.”
TCU will play host to SMU on Saturday before preparing for its Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State.
Texas Tech had a bye last Saturday, giving the Red Raiders an extra week to get ready for their home game against Arizona State. A year ago, the Red Raiders lost 68-55 to the Sun Devils. It was one of two games Tech lost last season in which the team scored more than 55 points.
Meanwhile, Baylor has bungled its way to an 0-2 record. To try and energize his team’s offense, coach Matt Rhule is making a move at quarteback. Rhule announced Monday that he’ll bench Anu Solomon and start Zach Smith on the road Saturday against Duke.
“Zach will go, and we’ll rally around him and see what he can do for us,” Rhule said.
Baylor hasn’t started the season 0-2 since 2003, when Guy Morriss was the head coach.
The Bears have lost eight of their past nine games. Smith quarterbacked them to their most recent win, a victory over Boise State last December in the Cactus Bowl.
Solomon completed only 44 percent of his passes in the two games. He’s thrown for 399 yards, with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
BIG 12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Offense: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
Defense: Kendall Adams, DB, Kansas State
Special teams: Matt Ammendola, K, Oklahoma State
Newcomer: Will Grier, QB, West Virginia