Question now is, can Bradford beat Tebow twice?
BY DAVE SITTLER World Sports Columnist
Sunday, December 14, 2008
1/29/12 at 8:25 AM
Super Sam defeated Superman. Now, can he do it again?
Sam Bradford might not know it yet, but that is the what-have-you-done-for-us-lately world he entered Saturday night when the Oklahoma quarterback became the fifth Sooner to win the coveted Heisman Trophy.
On the day after Bradford denied Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's bid to become only the second two-time Heisman winner, the super Sooner sophomore will be asked a question he'll face repeatedly over the next 26 days.
On Jan. 8, can Bradford again defeat Tebow? Tebow was nicknamed "Superman" a year ago when he became the first sophomore to win the college game's most prestigious award.
Jan. 8 is when the Sooners and Gators meet at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Fla., in the BCS national championship game.
The early line has OU (12-1) listed as a 3 1/2 point underdog to Florida (12-1), even though the Sooners are No. 1 and the Gators No. 2 in the BCS standings.
Bradford and the Sooners have demonstrated lately that they flourish when people doubt them. And they seem to relish the role of the outsider.
None of the preseason Heisman watch lists included Bradford as a serious candidate to capture the trophy. Just a week before Bradford won the 74th Heisman, many in the nation's media predicted Tebow's play as Florida won the SEC championship all but guaranteed him to join Ohio State running back Archie Griffin as the only two-time winners.
A few hours after Florida's win over Alabama in Atlanta, Bradford led OU to victory in the Big 12 Conference championship, a game the critics said the Sooners didn't belong in.
The pundits insisted Texas and quarterback Colt McCoy earned the right to play for the Big 12 title when they defeated OU during the regular season. When that didn't happen, many hoped McCoy would garner the "sympathy vote" and finish ahead of Bradford in the Heisman voting.
McCoy did beat out Tebow last night in New York City. But he finished 122 points behind Bradford, who won four of the six voting regions.
Bradford became an insider for life in the elite Heisman fraternity. Now it's up to him to help his Sooner teammates become members in that select group known as national champions.
Still riding one of the most remarkable meteoric careers in OU's rich football history, Bradford left little doubt in his acceptance speech that it's the 2008 national championship that he wants to be paramount in his Sooner legacy.
Thanking everyone from God to Bob Stoops (no, OU fans, they are not one in the same) along with his parents and friends, Bradford spent most of his time at the podium praising the teammates who helped make his improbable and successful run at the award.
Almost every Heisman winner is gracious enough to remember he didn't get to the Big Apple on his own. But Bradford's sincerity was undeniable when he said, "This is an individual award. But I feel like I'm receiving it on behalf of my teammates, because without them I would be nowhere.
"I wish they were here to accept this award with me."
Bradford basically was "nowhere" less than two years ago. As a redshirt freshman, he was one of three candidates who fought it out all spring and summer to see who Stoops would select as his starting quarterback for the 2006 season opener.
Amazingly, 27 games, 23 wins and two Big 12 championships later, Bradford has gone from an unknown, untested rookie to the pinnacle of an individual's collegiate career.
There is little doubt that if he wants to take his Sooner teammates from nowhere to somewhere big in 26 days, Bradford must continue to post the record-smashing numbers that enabled him to beat out McCoy and Tebow.
The last OU Heisman winner, quarterback Jason White, took his team to the national title game after winning the 2003 trophy. The Sooners got whipped 21-14 by LSU in the Sugar Bowl, starting a string of four consecutive BCS bowl losses and prompting thousands of fans to ask Stoops what he had done for them lately.
Now another SEC team awaits Stoops and his second Heisman Trophy winner.
"Next stop," said ESPN broadcaster Chris Fowler as he congratulated Bradford at the end of the Heisman telecast, "the BCS national championship game against Tim and the Florida Gators."
Can Sam the Man do it again? Why not?
After all, Super Sam will be accompanied on that next stop by his Sooner teammates when he takes on Superman and the Gators.