There are certain qualities that will make you strongly dislike an individual. One of those qualities is talent; coming into the 2013 football season, Davis Webb was pegged as the front runner for the starting quarterback job for the Red Raiders. The first game of the season was a contest against a struggling SMU team in Dallas, but somewhere in the mix of excitement for a new season and speculation of how successful the Red Raiders would be in the campaign, Baker Mayfield, a walk on for the Red Raiders, earned himself the starting job keeping Webb sidelined. It seemed that his talent had ultimately won him the starting job.
I was fortunate enough to be at that SMU game, watching Baker Mayfield in his college football debut. It was exciting to see such a young talent come out onto the national stage and win. I wasn't the only fan of his, it seemed that Raiderland seemingly fell in love with Baker Mayfield overnight. His enthusiasm, competitiveness, and talent had Raiderland wrapped around his finger. It seemed like there was a mutual interest in the Mayfield-Lubbock love episode, but sometimes, people fall out of love.
It was a Thursday night when TCU came into town. It was going to be a nationally televised game between the Horned Frogs and Red Raiders. Baker Mayfield seemed to be the answer to upsetting the 24th ranked Horned Frogs that night. The Red Raiders fired on all cylinders from the beginning, but TCU’s defense hindered Mayfield’s production. Eventually Davis Webb was brought into the game and lead the Red Raiders on a drive that would solidify their upset. That night, Davis Webb was the answer to TCU’s defense.
There’s a fight in every athlete, one that lives in them from their first to last moments on the field. Baker Mayfield may have had that fight to be the starting quarterback at Texas Tech, but must have lost it somewhere along the time Davis Webb began to produce results while Mayfield took a backseat to injury and slowing results. After a five game skid, Texas Tech found itself in a bowl game, but the biggest question surrounding the team was that of who would be starting under center. Michael Brewer, one who many thought would be the undeniable starter, was once again back in the conversation, but so was Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb as they were both back to full health following a harsh season. Davis Webb eventually took the first snap, and the Red Raiders upset another good team.
In the wake of victory there was a cry out from Baker Mayfield. It came in the form of his announcement to transfer. It wouldn’t have been news until everyone found out why he was transferring. Mayfield didn’t want to compete for the starting job, it may have been implicit, but it was also blatant that Mayfield didn’t enjoy how his athletic career wasn’t being prioritized.
I hate Baker Mayfield, but it isn’t what he said about Chimys, about how he was thrown out as a minor at a bar that doesn’t allow minors after a certain time, like all bars. It isn’t what he said said about Clemson when they lost in the semifinal of the college football playoffs. It isn’t about how he has somehow turned the media against Texas Tech. It’s about how irresponsible he is in the things he says and does, but somehow he is still loved by so many. The “Baker Mayfield” rule is definite proof to show that his word will always be over Texas Tech’s, even when Texas Tech wanted to grant him another year of eligibility. It’s about how he seems to do no wrong, but in reality is everyone’s villain. It’s about him joining a better team, beating everyone with that team, and then competing for the national championship. In all of that disrespect, karma came through and saw Baker Mayfield play poorly on one of the biggest stages in college football. It was satisfying to watch Baker Mayfield crumble in that game, but there will be much more satisfaction in this upcoming season as he is hunted by everyone. Baker Mayfield will be the Big 12’s public enemy number one.