NORMAN — If come November, Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford remains in the hunt for the Heisman Trophy, that will mean two things. Bradford will be breaking school passing records. And he'll have the Sooners in the thick of the national title race. In all probability, however, Bradford winning the Heisman is a long shot. Sophomores don't win the award given to college football's best player, unless that player puts up mind-boggling statistics, which is what Florida quarterback Tim Tebow did last season. Tebow accounted for 51 touchdowns, 29 passing and 22 rushing, the most in SEC single-season history. That output, coupled with a weak field, allowed Tebow to become the first sophomore to win the Heisman. The competition will be much stronger this year. Three of the top vote getters in 2007 return: Tebow, Missouri quarterback Chase Daniel and West Virginia quarterback Pat White. Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree could put up record-breaking statistics in the Red Raiders' explosive offense. And running backs Beanie Wells of Ohio State and Knowshon Moreno of Georgia figure to be the top producers on the nation's top-two teams in the preseason rankings. That's why for Bradford to become the second sophomore and fifth Sooner to win the Heisman, he'll have to put up record numbers and have OU in the national title game. That was the formula for Sooner quarterback Jason White, who won the Heisman in 2003 and finished third in 2004. As a junior, White tossed 40 touchdowns in 2003 and OU made the national title game, despite a collapse to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship. Bradford's road, however, will be more difficult, since he'll have to overcome the stigma of being a sophomore. Also, the Sooners will hand the ball off to running back DeMarco Murray half the time, meaning Bradford won't have the same statistical opportunities that Tebow and Daniel will and White did in 2003. But as Josh Heupel proved in 2000 by quarterbacking the Sooners to an improbable national title and a second-place finish in the Heisman voting, anything is possible. Leading OU to a national championship game appearance this season will keep Bradford in the minds of Heisman voters. Even if his chance of winning the Heisman is slight.
Chattanooga at OU •When: 6 p.m. Saturday •Where: Owen Field, Norman •TV: Pay-per-view
2008 OU scheduleAug. 30 Chattanooga Sept. 6 Cincinnati Sept. 13 at Washington Sept. 27 Texas Christian Oct. 4 at Baylor Oct. 11 Texas (Dallas) Oct. 18 Kansas Oct. 25 at Kansas State Nov. 1 Nebraska Nov. 8 at Texas A&M Nov. 22 Texas Tech Nov. 29 at Oklahoma State