Fox should put a microphone in front of Texas Tech’s student section when Oklahoma visits Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday.
The taunts students have for Baker Mayfield, their former classmate, might be more entertaining than the game.
Mayfield, now a star quarterback for the Sooners, left the Red Raiders after one season as a walk-on, controversially transferring to Oklahoma when Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury failed to promise him playing time or a scholarship in future seasons.
This week marks his return to Lubbock as an active football player. Mayfield expects an interesting welcome.
Never miss a local story.
“They’ll be ready for me when I get down there, that’s for sure,” Mayfield told reporters Saturday following a 38-17 win over Kansas State. “I’m excited for it. It’s always fun to play in Lubbock. This time, I’m on the other side of it. It’ll be interesting. I’ll have my guys ready.”
Oklahoma enters the game as a 14-point favorite. The Sooners have won three in a row and are once again contenders in the Big 12 championship race, despite two nonconference losses.
Texas Tech has lost two in a row and needs victories to feel good about its bowl chances.
But this feels like a situation where the records might not mean much.
“We’ll see how our guys handle the violent environment,” Mayfield said.
Mayfield made history at Texas Tech by becoming the first walk-on in power-conference history to start a season opener at quarterback as a freshman. He played in eight games and looked like a promising talent, but left for Oklahoma when his playing time disappeared near the end of the season.
Mayfield didn’t play the following year and then surprisingly won Oklahoma’s starting spot, beating out incumbent Trevor Knight. Then he led Oklahoma to college football’s playoff.
Things turned out well for Texas Tech after Mayfield’s departure, as well. The Red Raiders signed current quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has already completed 71.3 percent of his passes this season for 2,579 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Both teams have prospered at quarterback, but there is sure to be some venom in Lubbock for this game.
“I’ve gotten over everything,” Mayfield said. “It’s all in the past, which is what I said last year. It’s about settling in and being ready to play.”
Two of the Big 12’s best players are dealing with injuries.
Oklahoma running back Samaje Perine pulled a leg muscle in the first quarter against Kansas State and is likely to miss the next two weeks, Sooners coach Bob Stoops told media Monday. Perine is Oklahoma’s best power runner. The Sooners will turn to Joe Mixon in his absence.
Mahomes is also playing hurt, Kingsbury said Monday on the Big 12’s teleconference. Mahomes injured his throwing shoulder on a long run against Kansas and came back to play the following two weeks against K-State and West Virginia, but his production was down. Texas Tech managed just 17 points against the Mountaineers.
“The lack of practicing during the week obviously caught up to him,” Kingsbury said.
Mahomes is expected to continue playing through the injury, but it is not known when he will return to 100 percent.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen described the Mountaineers’ 48-17 victory at Texas Tech on Saturday as “our most complete win of the year.”
That may be an understatement.
The victory was so impressive that it shot West Virginia up to No. 13 in the national polls from No. 20. The Mountaineers were flying under the radar despite a 4-0 start. But that is no longer the case. This looks like Holgorsen’s best team since arriving in Morgantown, and a blowout victory at Texas Tech is further proof.
West Virginia has always had enough offense to compete in the Big 12, but now it has a defense to match. Few teams can hold Texas Tech to 17 points in Lubbock.
1. West Virginia (5-0, 2-0 Big 12): Mountaineers are for real.
2. Baylor (6-0, 3-0): Hard to say much about the Bears other than they can beat bad teams.
3. Oklahoma (4-2, 3-0): Mixon will need to step up without Perine.
4. Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1): Favored by 24 1/2 over Kansas, but Cowboys don’t always play well in Lawrence.
5. TCU (4-2, 2-1): An upset at West Virginia could turn the season around for the Horned Frogs.
6. Texas (3-3, 1-2): Defense finally flexed its muscles against Iowa State.
7. Kansas State (3-3, 1-2): Worst statistical offense in the Big 12.
8. Texas Tech (3-3, 1-2): Could Kliff Kingsbury be on the hot seat with a few more losses?
9. Iowa State (1-6, 0-4): Cyclones will eventually pull an upset, right?
10. Kansas (1-5, 0-3): Basketball season is right around the corner.
Kellis Robinett: @kellisrobinett