College Football: Bradford wins Heisman Trophy
Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 13, 2008
NEW YORKó The first person to congratulate Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford was the player who won it last year ó Tim Tebow.
The star quarterbacks from the top two teams in the country shook hands Saturday night, then embraced.
On Jan. 8, with the national championship on the line, it won’t be so cordial.
Bradford, Oklahoma’s amazingly accurate and quick-thinking passer, won the Heisman after leading the highest-scoring team in major college history to the BCS title game.
A year after Tebow was the first sophomore to win the Heisman, Bradford became the second and kept the Florida star from joining Archie Griffin as the only two-time winners.
Bradford and Tebow will soon meet again, when the No. 2 Sooners (12-1) face No. 1 Gators (12-1) in Miami.
“We’re ready to get back to work to get ready for the 8th,” Bradford said. “When we started this season, winning the national championship was the first goal we put down as a team.”
Next month’s game between Oklahoma and Florida marks the second time Heisman winners will play against each other. The first was in the 2005 Orange Bowl, when ’04 winner Matt Leinart and Southern California beat ’03 winner Jason White and Oklahoma for the national title.
Bradford, who leads the nation in touchdown passes with 48, received 1,726 points. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy was second with 1,604 and Tebow ó who received the most first-place votes ó was third with 1,575 points.
“I was definitely surprised and I think it’s everything I imagined,” said Bradford, who raised the 25-pound bronze statue with his left hand still in a cast from a recent surgery. “I think it will take a couple weeks to set in.”
Bradford got 300 first-place votes, McCoy 266 and Tebow 309. Not since 1956 had a player drawn the most first-place votes and finished third; Tommy McDonald of Oklahoma holds that distinction.
Bradford was the third person to win without receiving the most first-place votes, joining Notre Dame’s Paul Hornung in ’56 and Oklahoma’s Billy Sims in 1978.
Any consolation, Tim?
“Not really,” he said with a smile. “You lose, you lose.
“We still get to play in January and decide something a little bit bigger.”
It was the closest margin between the top two since Nebraska’s Eric Crouch edged Florida’s Rex Grossman by 62 points in 2001. The only other time the gap between first and third was smaller was also ’01, when Miami’s Ken Dorsey was 142 points behind Crouch.
“Now I know what it’s like for those people on ‘American Idol,”‘ McCoy said. “My heart was pounding.”
When it was over, the finalists were whisked downtown with a police escort, about 50 blocks to the Sports Museum of America.