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Is Mayfield another Manziel? Rockets rolling, Savage ‘concussed,’ Springer with the World Series trophy and more: The update for Dec. 11

This really is a great sports story on the surface. A walk-on college football player goes on to win the Heisman as the best player in the sport. But that winner is Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, and I say he is the second coming of Johnny Football. (That is not a positive statement.)

Undersized at 6-foot-1, Mayfield won a state high school championship with Austin Lake Travis. He received a scholarship offer from Washington State (home of super bust Ryan Leaf) but decided to walk on at Texas Tech. He started eight games as a freshman. But Mayfield left Tech and said some nasty things about Lubbock (c’mon, who hasn’t?)

It was so contentious that Mayfield was not given a waiver by Tech to gain back a year of eligibility when he went to Big 12 conference-foe OU – even though he was not on scholarship. The Big 12 conference changed the rules and Mayfield got the year back, but he wore a T-shirt when he returned to Lubbock that some Tech students wore in his honor, saying “traitor.”

Mayfield relished the negative and swam in the churning waters that many eschewed.

When he played in Lubbock while at OU, the fans chanted “F_ck you, Baker,” over and over.

When partying in early 2016 in Fayetteville, Ark., the local police chased Mayfield when he was drunk and tackled him before arresting him. If only they could have put that much effort into tackling him in Lubbock.

After a big win at Ohio State earlier this year, Mayfield tried to plant the OU flag in the middle of the field at The Horseshoe in Columbus.

Against Baylor this year, he told some of the BU players during warm-ups that he would have to remind them of who their daddy was.

During the pregame coin flip at Kansas this season, the Kansas captains refused to shake his hand. A Kansas player also gave Mayfield a late hit, and he responded with curse words and making a lewd gesture that the TV cameras caught. Both Mayfield and the Kansas captains – to the head coaches’ credit at both schools – lost their roles as captain after the game.

There appear to be no guidelines on class and character to win the Heisman.

Mayfield gave a heart-felt apology after he was no longer captain – but it was his third heart-felt apology this year. How many times can you have a heart-felt apology?

Mayfield’s stats are huge. He has 14,320 passing yards for eighth all-time in Football Bowl Subdivision history. He is sixth all-time with 129 TD passes.

He finished third in last year’s Heisman voting and fourth the year before. But he was this year’s runaway winner, gaining 2,398 votes to 1,300 for second-place finisher Bryce Love the RB from Stanford. He is the first former walk-on to win the Heisman since athletic scholarships began in the 1950s.

But be warned. I think Mayfield is a train wreck ready to run of the rails. Some suggest that he is a sure, first-round NFL draft selection. So was Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, and we see what happened with Johnny Football. I am ready to sell popcorn and watch just how soon Mayfield is part of a dumpster fire at some NFL franchise. <Mayfield tackled by Fayetteville, Ark., police>

HEISMAN OVERHYPED? – There appears to be trouble with the way the Heisman is being run behind the scenes. And that comes from – of all people – former Heisman winners.

All former winners are invited back for the annual ceremony. But a number of former winners did not attend the ceremony this year in a form of protest. The former winners think there should be at least one former Heisman winner on the group’s Board of Directors.

“We want a seat at the table because the whole thing exists based on our images,” said 1972 winner Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska to Sports Illustrated.

The Heisman foundation has almost $20 million, yet the trust distributed $1.7 million in 2015 after spending $1.3 million to run the award, the last time papers were available, according to Sports Illustrated.

Many former players said that was not enough money put back into the community and they can’t get an answer as to why.

“We are at a stalemate,” said Eric Crouch, Nebraska’s 2001 winner. “The way things are going, it’s not hard to imagine an award ceremony with no winners and no sponsors someday soon.”

And you thought Tom Savage was having a rough go of it.

ROCKETS BURNING UP THE NET – The NBA season runs way too long, and there are those who suggest that with all the other sports going on that few pay attention to the pro basketball league until just before the playoffs. But in case you have not noticed, the Houston Rockets are on fire. They have won nine straight games and are 20-4 this year. Those games count as much as they do in April, but there is a long way to go in the season.

James Harden and Chris Paul are running roughshod, while Eric Gordon has been a scoring machine. Paul and Ryan Anderson are using each other’s skills on the court.  “He can shoot and I can pass,” Paul said to the Houston Chronicle.

However, I am seeing articles on Harden as MVP – in December. Remember that the Heisman was the USC quarterback’s in September, the Penn State running backs’ in October and eventually was won in a runaway by the OU quarterback. Just because Harden lost out on the award last year is no reason to give it to him this year. It would be cool for Harden to win it just after Jose Altuve won the AL MVP.

Wait and see.

SAVAGE HIT AND CONCUSSED? – One media outlet thinks the Texans should not have allowed Tom Savage back into the game after hitting his head on the ground and having his arm shake in the second quarter. The way T.J. Yates played as a replacement, Savage may have a “concussion” the rest of the year.

LACES OUT – The Navy kicker missed a field goal at the end of the Army-Navy game for the Midshipmen to lose to the Cadets, and my first thought was: Laces out Marine. (An oblique reference to Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, where Dan Marino was a holder didn’t put the laces out during a kick, and “Laces out, Marino” was a key phrase. And an even further oblique reference to the Navy, which has the Marines under its umbrella.) OK, forget I said it. It’s not funny when you have to go that far to explain a joke. But that was a damn funny scene in that movie.

NO MORE BATFLECK? – Call you senators, call your congressmen. Ben Affleck was the only Batman who was tall, muscular and athletic to play the role – like the comic book character. This is an outrage that he could be replaced, to those of us who have bought Batman comic books since the 1960s (but had them thrown away by a parent who shall remain nameless).

LECHLER PUNTS WAY INTO HISTORY – This article came out before Sunday’s woeful loss to the 49ers. Shane Lechler now has played in 251-consecutive games and remains a bright spot for the team. 

Springer with WS trophyGEORGE SPRINGER ON CRAZY DAYS AFTER WS – Hockey players do this with their championship trophy. So why not baseball players?
CLASSIC NOTES – Handel is one of the best, when it comes to celebrations. He wrote the Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah, which celebrates Christ rising from the dead. I thought it was an Easter piece, but I hear it a lot at Christmastime. It is a joyous piece and can put you in an upbeat mood no matter what season. I prefer the English version. I heard an electronic version with loud bass once in a store that blew me away, but I have never been able to find it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY – “Sure, luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.” – Don Shula


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