There are no shortage of good storylines in college football right now, from Alabama taking an L last week, Lane Kiffin's return to Tennessee this weekend, the future at LSU, on and on.
Still, there might not be a single more intriguing story than the impending quarterback controversy at Oklahoma. Spencer Rattler may have been the preseason Heisman favorite, but Caleb Williams took his spot last week in the Red River Shootout, led Oklahoma to a victory over Texas, and now it seems certain that it is his job going forward.
If there was any doubt, well, we got some clarification on Wednesday as some sneaky reporting from the Oklahoma student newspaper, the Oklahoma Daily got to the bottom of it. To its credit, the newspaper staked out practice, and saw that Williams spent the majority of practice working with the first team, and Rattler the second team.
Credit to them, and you can read their whole report here.
But while the focus nationally has been on that little nugget - that Williams is clearly working with the first team - and the fact that Oklahoma has now banned media from any practice, what got lost in the Oklahoma student newspaper's great reporting was this: They spoke to Rattler's dad.
And he did not sound like a guy who plans on having his kid serve as a back-up for very long in Norman. Here is what he told the Oklahoma Daily:
“For right now, he’s focused on working for this team, and we’ll see what happens after Jan. 10,” Mike Rattler said. “Hopefully he’ll be playing in the national championship on Jan. 10, and then after that we’ll evaluate where he is as far as if any teams are interested in him in the NFL, we’ll consider that.
“If we think, ‘Hey, you know what, we may ought to do another year or something at Oklahoma, wherever’… we’re leaving our options open whereas that is concerned, but for the most part, right now, we don’t even talk about it, because he’s got a task at hand to deal with.”
First off, shout out to the Oklahoma Daily for some really good reporting here.
Two, some additional context is needed here, as the younger Rattler apparently missed practice on Monday per the Oklahoma Daily. It was excused by Lincoln Riley per the paper, but only increased scrutiny that something suspicious was going on in Norman, which necessitated this report.
Three, it's not as though Mike Rattler said anything super egregious. But if you dig deeper, the comments are interesting.
One, we have Spencer's missed practice on Monday, which again was excused. Nope, nothing to see here. Two, Mike Rattler is still talking NFL, just days after his son benched in the biggest game of the season. It's no disrespect to the kid, but for all the hype coming out of high school, it's hard to envision any team making an investment on Spencer Rattler right now anywhere on top of the draft.
Then there is the... "if we have to do another year" where they talk about "Oklahoma, wherever" and that seems to be the money quote there.
Look, we don't root for any kid to hit the transfer portal, and we hope it all works out for Rattler, Williams and everyone else in Norman. But there is a zero percent chance that Spencer Rattler and Caleb Williams are both at Oklahoma next year. Either Rattler regains the job and goes to the NFL, Rattler regains the job and Williams transfers, or Williams wins the job and Rattler either transfers or takes his shot at the NFL.
This is just the first sign of it.
So now, the interesting part begins: We get to see who actually gets the start on Saturday (the guess here is that its Williams), and how Lincoln Riley juggles his quarterbacks.
But if Williams keeps the spot as the games get tougher (at Baylor, at Oklahoma State and Iowa State still await later in the year) then it will be fascinating to see what's next.
Does Rattler take his stab at the NFL with no momentum and hope his high school reputation allows him to get drafted? Or does he transfer, and boy oh boy oh boy what a transfer process that would be.
For more on this situation, Aaron talked about it on Monday's Aaron Torres Podcast. You can download here or listen below.