It’s a good thing Heisman voters don’t consider character when deciding who will get the college football award for the sport’s most outstanding player or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield might be out of the running.
The favorite to win the trophy, when it is presented Dec. 9 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City, made an obscene gesture in the Sooners 41-3 victory at Kansas on Saturday.
The senior signal caller’s antics happened in the second half when he had just thrown a touchdown pass. As he walked back to the sidelines he looked over to the Jayhawk players and yelled obscenities while grabbing his crotch twice.
After the win he apologized.
“I got caught up in a competitive game, a chippy game, but what I did was unacceptable,” he said. “I apologize. It’s disrespectful. It’s not the example I want to set. It’s not the legacy I want to leave at OU. I truly do apologize. Thinking about the kids that are watching this now, it’s not something I want to do to the parents out there. I’m sorry.”
His behavior shouldn’t affect his chances to win the award. He entered the game as the overwhelming favorite at 1-20 to capture the hardware. He opened at 7-1 behind USC’s Sam Darnold. The Trojans quarterback has had an up and down year and slipped to 100-1.
There have been other favorites during the year as well. Penn State’s Saquon Barkley opened at 20-1 and the running back for the Nittany Lions got bet all the way down to 4-7 three weeks ago. But two subpar performances in losses to Ohio State and Michigan State derailed his hopes. He is now 15-1.
One of the surprises of the season has been Stanford running back Bryce Love. He opened as a 100-1 choice but has moved all the way to the second choice at 8-1, behind Mayfield.
This is not the first incident for the Texas-born recruit. Earlier this year when the team defeated Ohio State on the road, Mayfield took the Sooners flag and planted it at midfield, a sign of disrespect that many fans soundly booed. He also apologized for the incident.
“Football is a competitive game for a reason,” he said. “There’s a lot of emotion. On the field, there’s a lot of trash talk that goes on.”
Wagering on the honor was closed a week ago per Nevada Gaming Regulations. This is only the third year that gamblers were able to put money down on the prop bet.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board allowed sportsbooks to offer betting on the award after they petitioned the agency that oversees gambling in the state in 2015.
Ed Salmons, assistant manager of the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, told ESPN they have been taking some mid-four figure bets on the Oklahoma quarterback, and added that the venue will take a loss if Mayfield wins.