Mayfield gave Oklahoma its sixth Heisman winner, which moves the Sooners into a tie with USC for the third-most all time (not including Reggie Bush’s vacated 2005 Heisman). Alongside Heisman winners Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White and Bradford, Oklahoma will soon erect a statue of Mayfield in its Heisman Park, which sits just to the east of Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium.
There’s no reason to think he won’t have a third straight prolific game, as Kyle Shanahan has found his play-calling groove with all of the team’s versatile weapons, even without a healthy Pierre Garcon. Marcus Mariota is more banged up and less effective. The Titans have lost their grip on the AFC South, and now a playoff berth is in serious danger.
But Paul’s value to the Rockets goes beyond his fantasy implications because he completely changes both the potency and the robustness of the team offense while making a tangible contribution to the team defense. The Rockets team was built — yes, largely using analytics — around the concept of a central ball handler creating offense with four high-efficiency finishers around him at all times. Most of those finishers are spot-up 3-point shooters, but the center slot can also be manned by athletic bigs who can dive to the rim off the pick-and-roll.
Using this approach in the D’Antoni system, with a single gifted lead guard, can create an offense that is often oppressive to opponents because of how difficult it is to face the barrage of high efficiency — often 3-point shots — that is produced.
Too bad they can’t be ranked higher than this after three consecutive 28-point victories. Carson Wentz and the defense have kept them rolling. They’ll get some good tests with back-to-back long road trips to the NFC West.