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The Baker Mayfield 'Twilight Zone'

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The signs have pointed to Mayfield's usurpation for awhile. Now, his second reign has begun; this time, in Norman.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

You needed this, right? A Baker Mayfield #HotTake from a TCU perspective? Well, you got it. Here we go: remember that episode of Seinfeld, where Jerry is dating Christine Taylor, and he can't figure out what's wrong with her, and he alludes to The Twilight Zone--also pointing out that every episode of the brilliant, inspiring classic is pretty much the same--and how the rest of the world wakes up crazy? This is my relationship with the Lake Travis-alum, and ex-bff of Kliff Kingsbury. It's almost like the worst version of The Truman Show imaginable.

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Say what you want about TCU's 2012--or better yet, let me say it for you: it was a dumpster fire. However, the Frogs, as Bill Connelly and Phil Steele pointed out last summer, were much better than 4-8 record indicated. As the margin of defeat was only slightly more than a touchdown, the TCU defense, led by First Round Pick, Jason Verrett, was as polished as one could expect from Gary Patterson's 4-2-5.

All that said, let's play a game: since TCU's arrival in 2012, name three or four really good defenses. Texas, Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma, right? Mayfield only played the former three, and in those games, he had 6 total interceptions. 3 against the Frogs, 2 against the Wildcats, and 1 against a Greg Robinson-transitional Longhorn defense. Tech lost to KSU and Texas, and needed a miracle rally fox, and a horrendous call against Brandon Carter to seal the victory against the Frogs less than 14 days after they played LSU. That's how football goes, and I'm not trying to say TCU deserved to win that game, last year's victory made up for whatever anger I ever had for that. But don't tell me Mayfield won that game. Kingsbury's disapproval of Mayfield accelerated after the Baylor game. Tech scored on their first three possessions of the game, and in a close 21-20 game--in  favor of Baylor--the Red Raiders, under Mayfield, folded like a cheap suit beginning with his fumble early in the second quarter.

To Mayfield's credit, the Big 12 is deceivingly good at defense.

Mayfield against FBS Schools

Team, Defensive Rank

Did Tech Win

Passing: 33-51, 361 yds, TDs, 1 INT

Rushing: 22 yds, 1 TD

Kansas, 96

Yes

Passing: 43-60, 413 yds, 4 TDs, 0 INT

Rushing: 16 yds, 1 TD

SMU, 62

Yes

Passing: 34-44, 361 yds, 0 TDs, 2 INT

Rushing: 29 yds, 1 TD

K-State, 26

No

Passing: 28-51, 314 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT

Rushing: 39 yds, 0 TD, 1 fumble

Baylor, 27

No

Passing: 24-44, 237 yds, 0 TDs, 1 INT

Rushing: 29 yds, 0 TD

Texas, 69

No


Mayfield threw 12 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 2013, not far off from where Boykin was that same year. The only difference is that no one was really going to bat for Boykin this time last year, despite reports of his vast improvement, and shedding off the McDonalds weight the spring. Again, while this sounds like bitter hindsight, it's more to explain my perplexity as to why everyone's so gung-ho for Mayfield. With Preseason All-Big 12 Samaje Perine, you also have to wonder why they're so excited to get an air-raid quarterback in there so quickly. Then again, with Lincoln Riley's expertise, and knowing how Art Briles' hybrid of a run-and-shoot and Air Raid can work; maybe we should be scared of Oklahoma. And to be fair, Mayfield does have an electric presence on the field, but the electricity is often times erratic, and that's where we get the big fumbles, and making mistakes at important times. Mayfield is a great athlete, there's no denying that. I'm not saying Stoops wouldn't or would be crazy to transform him into a slot receiver.

whoops, how'd this get there?

The real problem is that Oklahoma's problems run deeper than Mayfield; the Sooners finished in the bottom half of most defensive categories; namely 3rd down conversions (20.3%, 7th), Turnover Margin (-.38, 7th), scoring defense (25.9, 5th), pass defense (276.2, 9th), and were 5th in total defense. The Sooners, however, did have the Number 1 rush defense in the Big 12, balancing out their horrendous pass defense. To Mayfield's credit, and even with Oklahoma's declining total defense in 2014--which should be better this year--it wasn't in the near the shambled monstrosity Tech's was in 2013.

Maybe, with a more workable defense, Mayfield, alongside Perine, can be kinetic. That said; he's not Seth Russell--who, in Baylor's scheme can lead a team to the playoffs regardless of whatever their defense does (although their's should be pretty great this year)--and he sure isn't Trevone Boykin. But you already knew that, and that really doesn't matter.

Full shoutout to his solid dance moves, though: