Spencer Rattler's Heisman Campaign Off to a Brutal Start

Spencer Rattler
Spencer Rattler / Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Spencer Rattler was a very popular preseason Heisman Trophy pick. Rattler is a good player with the kind of skillset to thrive in Lincoln Riley's high-flying passing offense. Rattler is no Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield right now, but a QB under Riley does not need to have the talent level of a No. 1 overall pick to put up big numbers and win games.

Thus, Rattler is high on potential Heisman lists and the Sooners were ranked No. 2 in the country coming into Week 1. They played Tulane in Norman; it was supposed to be in New Orleans but Hurricane Ida changed those plans. It is fortunate for both Rattler and Oklahoma that it ended up a home game because it was a terrible showing for the alleged second-best team in the country.

They won, so it doesn't matter. And Rattler had good counting stats, going 30-of-39 with 304 yards to pair with a rushing TD and a passing TD. But he also threw two picks and needing 39 passes to surpass 300 yards is not exactly what Riley's quarterbacks are known for.

More importantly, he and the Sooners did not look as dominant as the best programs always do early in the year. Tulane played an excellent game and battled until the very end, but ultimately they shouldn't have had a prayer of hanging with the No. 2 team in America. That's why they were scheduled as Oklahoma's Week 1 opponent. For most of the top teams in the country, opening week is supposed to be a warm-up game. Instead, Oklahoma let Tulane hang around long enough that they needed a very close stop on fourth down to walk away with the win.

Now, there is a real likelihood nobody remembers this game except for the Tulane faithful. Oklahoma has a bit of a habit starting slow under Riley while things come together. If Oklahoma succeeds as expected and ends up in the CFP, nobody will care about this game.

But Rattler just didn't have "it." Not this week, anyway. He played well enough but Heisman campaigns are supposed to be dominant, with the player in question consistently doing what it takes to win games. Oklahoma didn't win in spite of Rattler this week, but nobody would say they won because of how he played.

This isn't meant to be overly critical. Rattler played well enough for his team to win and that's all that really matters. But Heisman favorites are under a different kind of spotlight, especially early in the year. Rattler's campaign is off to a tough start.