Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Dom Franks wasn't all wrong

by Berry Tramel Modified: February 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm •  Published: February 28, 2014
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Dominique Franks said the top three quarterbacks in the nation were in the Big 12 in 2008. He was close. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Dominique Franks said the top three quarterbacks in the nation were in the Big 12 in 2008. He was close. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

I wrote a little about Tim Tebow earlier this week. Sort of an essay on societal views on sexuality and the spotlight. You can read that here. I meant what I said. But I also like writing about football.

So let’s back to football. And a small salute to Dominique Franks. Before the 2008 national championship game, Franks drew the ire of the Florida press corps when he suggested that Tebow wasn’t among the three best quarterbacks in the country.

Franks’ Sooners were about to play Tebow’s Gators. And Franks made headlines with this quote:

“If you look at the three best quarterbacks in the country, they came from the Big 12.”

Frank was referring to teammate Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy and Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell.

“The three best receivers in the country came from the Big 12,” Franks continue. “The three best tight ends came from the Big 12. So we’ve faced some great offenses, and a lot of people don’t understand that other conferences don’t have what we face.”

Franks kept going. That season, Bradford won the Heisman Trophy, beating out Tebow, who had won the year before. “With us being in Florida and playing against Florida, everybody’s going to think Tebow should have won the Heisman,” Franks said. “But the right person won the Heisman, and we’re going to go out there and show everybody the reason why he won it.”

Well, that didn’t happen. Tebow played well, Bradford not so well and Florida won 24-14, though the real star of the game was the Florida defense.

So Tebow and the Gators had the last laugh.

But five years later, Tebow can’t get an NFL job as a quarterback, which I think is partly non-football related, as I wrote. But it’s a lot football-related.

Tebow sat out the 2013 season. Meanwhile, six Big 12 quarterbacks from the 2008 season were on NFL rosters.

Bradford is the established starter with the Rams. Robert Griffin (Baylor) is the Redskins starter. Josh Freeman (Kansas State) started four games for the Buccaneers and one for the Vikings. Chase Daniel (Missouri) started one game for the Chiefs. Colt McCoy (Texas) was Colin Kaepernick’s backup with the 49ers. Zac Robinson (OSU) was on the Bengals roster. Plus Harrell (Texas Tech) was in training camp with the Jets before getting cut.

Now, like I wrote, Tebow has an NFL playoff victory to his credit, which is something none of those ’08 Big 12 quarterbacks have.

And Tebow was a phenomenal college player. An all-time great, really. Franks was wrong. The three best quarterbacks in the country were not in the Big 12 that year. Tebow was on the list.

But Franks wasn’t all wrong. The Big 12 was incredibly deep at quarterback. The Sooners had faced great quarterbacking most of the 2008 season. And the OU defense made life hard for Tebow that night. Just not as hard as the Florida defense made life for Bradford.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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