There were many prolific offenses in the Big 12 last season. However, none were greater than Sam Bradford’s Oklahoma Sooners.
Bradford put up ridiculous numbers in Norman last season. Fifty touchdowns and eight interceptions is otherworldly. Throw in the 4,720 yards and the 180.8 quarterback rating and you can clearly see why he’s the reigning Heisman trophy winner.
Of course, I didn't agree that he should have won it considering the competition that Tim Tebow faces week-in, week-out in the SEC. But it would be ludicrous for me to say that Bradford did not deserve to win the trophy. Quite the contrary, Bradford earned it with stellar performances against the great offensive teams in the Big 12.
Bradford comes in to '09 with a chance to improve on his sophomore season. I know it seems ludicrous for me to think that anyone could or should improve on 50 TDs/eight INTs, but oddly enough, it's possible.
Bradford’s losses in big games against tough, gritty teams are cause for concern going into '09. In losing to Texas and Florida, Bradford was merely pedestrian.
In those two games he threw four interceptions (half of his entire '08 total), and he was sacked for minus-48 yards combined. He was still incredibly accurate (67.5 completion percentage) and threw for 643 yards in those games, but the pressure caused the interceptions and showed the teams that are good enough to compete with the Sooners just how to beat them.
In 2009 the competition will be a little tougher, and Bradford has fewer weapons. Can he continue to dominate the Big 12 with his arm? As crazy as it sounds, Oklahoma will have to depend even more heavily on Bradford in '09.
With his talent there's no doubt that Bradford will once again be an elite quarterback; but will he be as great as last season? It’s doubtful, but you count the '08 Heisman winner out at your own peril.
Part five will feature The Best of the Rest...