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Vautour: No apology necessary - Baker Mayfield is good for college football

  • Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield plays against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) Jay LaPrete

  • Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield plays against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) Jay LaPrete

  • Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield plays against Ohio State during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete) Jay LaPrete

  • Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) waves the school flag following a 31-16 win against Ohio State at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. (Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch/TNS) Adam Cairns



@MattVautourDHG
Monday, September 11, 2017

If anyone needs to apologize, it’s whomever told Baker Mayfield to apologize.

After Oklahoma beat Ohio State at the Horseshoe Saturday, the Oklahoma quarterback grabbed an Oklahoma flag and planted it in the middle of Ohio State’s O in the middle of the field.

In the weekend’s most important game, one of the sport’s most recognizable players was outstanding, completing 27 of 35 throws for 386 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in a road game against a consensus title contender.

Exuberance is called for. Fun is good. The last thing college football ever needs is to be buttoned up.

Did he cross the sportsmanship line a little? Maybe. But be certain, Ohio State was far more upset about getting smacked around than any postgame shenanigans. Apologizing almost makes it worse.

Former Buckeye star turned radio host Bobby Carpenter said it best via Twitter:

“He’s a classy kid but no need to apologize... he earned the right to celebrate any way his chooses”

If Ohio State is mad, that isn’t a bad thing either. Rivalries between name-brand schools are fun. Start up another series for big TV money. Who loses?

It’s not ridiculous to think these teams could meet again this year in the playoffs. Ohio State’s playoff chances are merely dinged not dented. This loss will seem like ancient history if the Buckeyes win the Big Ten.

Mayfield’s flag-planting would be a dream for anyone promoting the rematch.

In three years of the College Football Playoff, the Big 12 has only made one appearance, which has hurt the league’s relevance. Oklahoma being good and Mayfield becoming a national celebrity would be huge for that conference.

With no apology, Mayfield would have become a J.J. Redick-like presence for a year — albeit without the built-in Duke loathing — a defiant star who doesn’t care if the other team and its fans hate him.

Redick was good for college basketball. Mayfield shouldn’t back off.

GAMES OF THE WEEK:No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville, Saturday, 8 p.m. ABC — Reigning national champs against the reigning Heisman trophy winner should be a tough ticket to get.

No. 23 Tennessee at No. 24 Florida, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS — Always a classic SEC matchup, but will the Vols overlook the Gators with next week’s huge game lurking?

PLAYOFF BOUND: Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, USC.

IF I HAD A HEISMAN VOTE Lamar Jackson. Has any returning Heisman winner ever received less attention the next year than the Louisville QB? Six touchdowns Saturday ought to change that.

On Saturday against North Carolina, he threw for 391 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 132 yards and three more TDs. Somebody else might win it this year, but they’re going to have to pry it from him.

FINALLY — On Saturday at 8:30 p.m. Texas will play at USC, in a game that will make almost everyone nostalgic for the 2006 Rose Rowl, of the great championships of the BCS era.

It’s almost hard to believe that game wasn’t a precursor of the two programs annually competing for national championships.

Why wouldn’t the best players in the country go to Texas and USC?

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage