What the Caleb Williams vs. Spencer Rattler QB Battle Means for Oklahoma Futures & Betting Power Ratings
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Caleb Williams (13).
Some Oklahoma fans got their wish last Saturday when Caleb Williams replaced Spencer Rattler at quarterback in the Red River Showdown against Texas.
Rattler, the preseason Heisman favorite, lost his job after going 8-of-15 for 111 yards and an interception. Williams, a freshman and former five-star recruit in his own right, entered the game to throw for 212 yards and two touchdowns, helping Oklahoma to 25 fourth-quarter points and a wild come-from-behind victory over its rival. Williams also ran for 88 yards and a score on the ground.
Things had been going downhill for Rattler in Norman after the high expectations, as Oklahoma fans started calling for Williams during the Sooners’ game against West Virginia in Week 4.
“We want Caleb” chants have begun in Norman after a Spencer Rattler INT…..yikes pic.twitter.com/8OCIv4B6BU
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) September 26, 2021
Now, one question remains: How does Williams’ emergence impact Oklahoma futures and bettors at large via power ratings? Our college football experts — Collin Wilson, Stuckey, and BJ Cunningham — have answered that very question below.
The change in quarterback from Spencer Rattler to Caleb Williams may boost Oklahoma’s power rating, one of the craziest statements considering Rattler was in the pole position all summer for Heisman odds.
Rattler has made eight turnover-worthy throws this season and was instrumental in getting the Sooners behind early in the Red River Showdown. He’s just 5-of-15 on passes beyond 20 yards with half of his turnover-worthy plays coming from that distance.
After posting a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 2020, Rattler has buckled in clean pockets and decreased his average depth of target by three yards.
Conversely, Caleb Williams has two touchdowns through the air — both from passes over 20 yards.
There are always struggles with a freshman quarterback, but the dual-threat capability trumps Rattler in scramble attempts. Williams has generated three runs over 20 yards and an iconic touchdown run to lead the Sooners over the Longhorns.
The zone read now has teeth when it comes to keeping linebackers in the box, giving the Oklahoma wide receivers more space for explosive passing thanks to Williams’ dual-threat capabilities.
This is a fascinating question. Do you actually upgrade the Sooners with a freshman quarterback in his first start over the preseason Heisman favorite?
That’s an insane thought on the surface, but if you just watched Rattler this season, something is clearly off. And Williams clearly showed he’s capable after coming in against Texas.
It also helps that he’s an extremely talented, highly-touted recruit and the fact that Rattler seems to be the exception to the rule when it comes to QBs in Riley’s system.
Then again, Riley has had a lot of QBs with prior experience during his time in Norman. Williams is lacking in that department.
I did boost the OU offense after last week for some things I saw along the line and have just decided to err on the side of caution and stay neutral this week in regards to the QB situation, although my gut says OU is better with Williams.
Caleb Williams is now the guy for Oklahoma, and for me, things don’t change too much for Oklahoma’s futures, but Lincoln Riley’s offense will go back more to what we saw when Kyler Murray was under center given Williams’ ability as a runner. After all, he was the No. 1 dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school.
Williams ran for 88 yards on four carries against Texas, which is more rushing yards than Rattler has had all season. The difference from the first quarter with Rattler against Texas on Saturday compared to when Williams entered start the second quarter was almost night and day for the Sooners.
Oklahoma has three very winnable games to get the offense going with Williams under center, as it sees TCU, Kansas, and Texas Tech the next three weeks. Then, the Sooners have a gauntlet to finish the season, going to Waco to play Baylor, at home against Iowa State, and finishing the season in Stillwater for Bedlam against Oklahoma State.
With the way the college football landscape is set up right now, Oklahoma could make the College Football Playoff with one loss if it wins the Big 12 Championship and Alabama potentially loses to Georgia in SEC Championship.
So, if you want to get in on Oklahoma, now is the time at 16-1 with three very winnable games on its schedule the next three weeks.