Oklahoma has made its BCS case by being the hottest team in college football over the last month, and Sooner faithful everywhere have Sam Bradford to thank.
With all of the talent OU runs out on the field every Saturday " all the big hitters, playmakers and thundering giants " no one has done more to advance the Sooners' 2008 cause than Bradford, through his leadership, brilliant decision making and uncanny consistency.
Bradford has been the best quarterback on the planet since Game One back in late August.
Bar none. Period.
Just in case you haven't been paying attention, go back and watch the highlights. All the evidence you'd ever need is right there on YouTube or SoonerSports.com. And while you can find similar footage on other superb college quarterbacks " like Texas' Colt McCoy, Florida's Tim Tebow and Graham Harrell of Texas Tech " Bradford's exploits are hard to top.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
In only his second season as OU's starting quarterback, Bradford has been, as OU coach Bob Stoops likes to say, "Absolutely out of this world."
The numbers don't lie.
The name of the game offensively is scoring points and Bradford has accounted for more touchdowns (51) than any other player in Division I. He leads the nation with 46 TD passes.
Bradford ranks second nationally in passing efficiency and third nationally with 4,080 passing yards " a new OU single-season record " which he has accumulated on 175 fewer attempts than Tech's Harrell.
Bradford continues an assault on OU's record books. In just two seasons as the starter, he has already established more than a dozen new marks, and he's obviously far from finished.
But the numbers and records are only part of Bradford's story to this point. It's been his leadership on and off the field that has factored heavily into the Sooners' overall success. He is focused on the big prize " the team prize of a BCS title " and is quick to remind media members of that fact each time he is asked about the possibility of winning the Heisman Trophy.
"To be honest, I really don't even care. All I know is that I gave our team a chance to play in Kansas City next week," the soft-spoken Bradford said after leading OU to a 61-41 win over Oklahoma State this past weekend.
That victory helped his team secure a spot in the Big 12 Championship game against Missouri on Dec. 6. A win there would more than likely send the Sooners on to the BCS title tilt at the Orange Bowl in January.
In between those games will be the Heisman ceremony and Bradford is sure to be one of the finalists invited to New York City for the announcement on Dec. 13.
An image that will almost certainly follow Bradford the rest of this season and probably the remainder of his quarterbacking days is that of him diving for the goal line against OSU, getting cartwheeled through the air and landing hard out of bounds just short of a touchdown.
The late third-quarter play was nothing short of incredible, and set up an OU touchdown en route to the win. It also served as further proof of Bradford's mettle.
"That plays shows Sam's determination to win and how much heart he's got," said OU lineman Trent Williams. "I know the Sooner Nation's heart skipped a beat when they saw Sam go airborne like that, but it basically just shows you how tough and courageous he is. Makes his teammates want to go play that much harder for him."
What about the Heisman?
"Look at what Sam means to this team and the way he's played all season long," Williams said. "Does he deserve that kind of recognition? No doubt about it." "Jay C. Upchurch