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Sam Bradford's Championship Season

MIAMI - JANUARY 08:  Jarrod Tahsequah, fan of the Oklahoma Sooners makes a sign in support of Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford prior to the FedEx BCS National Championship game against the Florida Gators at Dolphin Stadium on January 8, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Michael ClineSenior Analyst IMay 21, 2009

There's been a lot of talk this offseason about the Florida Gators, and rightfully so.

Their run for the 2008 National Championship was nothing short of impressive, but the talk this spring has been how the Gators should just simply be handed the AFCA National Championship Trophy to accompany last year's in the trophy case.

Now I'll admit that a repeat in 2009 isn't entirely out of question. Florida is, for the most part, returning everyone, including star quarterback Tim Tebow. And they have a swagger that is unmatched by even some NFL teams.

As the spring pushes towards summer, the question has turned away from if they'll win to who will they win against.

The usual suspects come to mind: Oklahoma, Texas, USC. But to name the Gators our 2009 National Champions before the lines are even painted on the field would be witless.

And if Sam Bradford has anything to say about it, he'd probably say it was laughable.

Bradford made a tough decision a few months ago. It was a decision I'm sure it took many hours and many talks with his family, friends, and coaches to decide upon.

Bradford decided to come back and play another season at the University of Oklahoma.

He didn't come back because he thought he'd raise his draft stock with another year of experience under his belt. No, Detroit probably would've taken him first overall. Even if they thought he wasn't ready to play this year in the NFL, it would have been a huge investment.

Bradford also didn't come back to finish his education, as important as that may seem.

Bradford came back for one reason, and one reason only: To win the BCS National Championship.

Many have questioned this decision, mainly because on paper, the Sooners don't look as deep as they did previously.

But Sam Bradford is a leader, and great leaders make things happen.

After losing to the Ole Miss Rebels, Tim Tebow gave one of the most inspiring post-game speeches ever heard by a college football player.

That speech, and his will to make good on his promise propelled his team to a remarkable finish in the SEC and in Miami for Tebow's second National Championship as a Gator.

It is leadership like that that will do the same for the Sooners this year.

Sam Bradford has the desire to do for Oklahoma what Tebow did for Florida—to literally will his team to victory.

However, we all know that will alone won't get you far. But will along with skill and strength can go very far in this sport.

If Bradford takes a page out of Tebow's playbook, he can be remembered alongside Tebow for their incredible resilience, leadership, and play on the field.

If he doesn't, he'll be remembered as the guy who, along with other Oklahoma stars of the past, were unable to win the big one—unable to fulfill their dreams and grab college football's greatest prize.

In 2008, after a tumultuous year in the Big 12 South, filled with drama and controversy, Bradford missed his goal by only two touchdowns.

You can be assured that that night in Miami will be in the back of his mind for the entire 2009 season— the entire season that will be remembered finally as Bradford's Championship Season.

 

 

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