It's Take Two Tuesday time, when we give diverging opinions on a topic related to the Big 12.
Today's Take Two topic: Oklahoma plans to apply for waivers to get a pair of marquee transfers eligible for the 2014 season. Which player – WR Dorial Green-Beckham or QB Baker Mayfield -- would most boost the Sooners’ chance of advancing to the College Football Playoff?
Take 1: Jake Trotter – Green-Beckham
There’s no doubt having Mayfield eligible would be an invaluable insurance policy for the Sooners. Because of his dual-threat style, Trevor Knight has a track record of getting injured. And Mayfield, the reigning Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year, showed during the Sooners’ spring game that he’s more than capable of efficiently operating Oklahoma’s offense. Sure, Oklahoma’s other backups – Cody Thomas and Justice Hansen – are completely inexperienced and might not be ready to quarterback the Sooners in a pinch. Mayfield, certainly at this point, would be the better option.
But Oklahoma wasn’t tabbed the Big 12 favorite because of Mayfield’s pending eligibility. The Sooners are being considered playoff contenders because of the upside of Knight, who flashed potential in a performance for the ages in the Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. And DGB would give Knight a weapon in the passing game while filling the one offensive asset the Sooners currently lack – an experienced, big, physical receiver who can go get the ball downfield and in the red zone.
On top of that, DGB’s talent would be a difference-maker for the Oklahoma offense. By all accounts, he’s been phenomenal in preseason camp so far, and he’s coming off a season at Missouri in which he would have led the Big 12 in red zone touchdown receptions.
From Mark Clayton to Ryan Broyles, the Sooners have enjoyed some prolific pass-catchers in the Bob Stoops era. But none has the NFL body and build at wide receiver that DGB brings.
Mayfield would obviously help the Sooners should Knight suffer a bump or bruise. But DGB is the caliber of player that could put Oklahoma over the top – and into the playoff.
Take 2: Max Olson – Mayfield
You know it’s DGB, I know it’s DBG, it’s obviously DGB. But just for the sake of messing with Jake, let’s just go ahead and explore another argument.
What if Mayfield is better than Knight?
Both were unpredictable in their first season of starting, moving in and out of the starting lineup at various points. Mayfield got seven starts at Texas Tech. Knight got five.
In those starts, Mayfield completed 62 percent at 6.89 yards per attempt. Knight hit almost 59 percent at 6.32. Their passer efficiency was almost identical.
Throw in the rest of their appearances and Mayfield has Knight beat in completion percentage, yards per attempt and third-down passing.
Yes, their offenses were significantly different. Mayfield threw 42 passes per game in his starts to Knight’s average of 23. OU actually had a credible run game to lean on.
But let’s give Mayfield credit: He was a freshman walk-on who’d been on campus three months when he made his first start. Knight was a redshirt freshman at OU, a full year ahead.
OK, fine, I give in. Knight’s average QBR in starts is 16 points great greater, he’s three times the rusher (by YPC) that Mayfield was and his two best games by QBR, against K-State and Alabama, easily trump Mayfield’s best (Stephen F. Austin, Kansas).
But haggling over numbers aside, my point is this: You better believe Stoops wants Mayfield in his back pocket – and not ineligible on the bench – in case Knight regresses or gets hurt. We know what the scrappy Mayfield is capable of, and the same can’t be said of fellow backups Thomas and Hansen.
Not adding a five-star receiver won’t hurt OU’s College Football Playoff hopes. Not having a good No. 2 quarterback might.