title sets Bradford apart from other OU stars
By Berry Tramel
Published: December 14, 2008
Oklahoma University, Oklahoma: Sam Bradford called it unreal. And kept calling
it unreal. I counted three times in his Heisman Trophy acceptance
speech Saturday night
Good a word as any for the Slingin’ Sammy
Unreal that Bradford almost went to Texas Tech
(where he would still be sitting behind Graham Harrell) before Bob
Stoops ponied up a scholarship offer in May 2005.
Unreal that the newest Mr. Heisman needed Rhett
Bomar to move on down the road to free up the Oklahoma quarterback
Unreal that in Oklahoma, America’s American
Indian capital, the state’s brightest hero is 1/16th Cherokee, which
in Tahlequah and beyond will make Bradford more popular than
Unreal that a kid who grew up with Josh Heupel
for a hero now has been coached to the grandest trophy in sport by
that same Heupel.
Maybe not as unlikely a tale as the Jason White
Heisman saga, but here’s where Sammy B. can trump White and every
other Sooner legend.
Win the Big Bowl. Win a national championship
and the Heisman in the same season, which no Sooner has ever done.
Not White. Not Billy Vessels or Steve Owens.
Not Billy Sims, who in a previous life was one heck of a football
player before he turned into a Heisman clown, yelling "Boomer” any
time he’s on the New York stage.
Truth is, the hardware double — Heisman Trophy
and national title ring — is a rare coup, accomplished by only five
players from any campus since 1950: Pitt’s Tony Dorsett, Florida
State’s Charlie Ward, Florida’s Danny Wuerffel, Michigan’s Charles
Woodson and Southern Cal’s Matt Leinart.
OU plays Florida on Jan. 8 for the national
championship, and if Bradford directs the Sooners to their eighth
national title, his season will surpass any in Big Red lore.
Win in Miami after winning in New York, and
Bradford’s feats will meld the greatest achievements of White and
Heupel, the Sooners’ other epic quarterbacks in this remarkable Bob
White won a most unexpected Heisman but lost in
the national title game. Heupel won a most unexpected national title
but lost a close Heisman vote to Chris Weinke.
There is great pressure on a Heisman winner in
a national title game. The biggest name on the biggest stage.
It’s a little like president. Euphoria upon
winning the election, then as Barack Obama soon can tell you, get to
the White House and have to fix the economy. Euphoria upon winning
the Heisman, then your mission is to beat Florida.
There is no doubt that the pressure just
increased on Bradford. Maybe it will weigh on him; maybe it will
empower him. We’ll see. Certainly nothing Bradford has shown in the
past makes you think he will handle such a load with anything but
Beat Florida, and Bradford’s status as a Sooner
for the ages will be very, very real.