IRVING, Texas — Sam Bradford and Gerald McCoy both recall exactly how they felt after Oklahoma lost the national championship.
"Hurt,” McCoy recollected. "Disappointed,” Bradford remembered. But neither was talking about Florida. Instead, the two lifelong Sooner supporters born and bred in Oklahoma City were touching on their emotions as fans after OU’s title loss to LSU at the Sugar Bowl after the 2003 season. Bradford and McCoy may have lost only one national championship as the team’s quarterback and defensive tackle. But as Sooners, they’ve lost three straight. "Watching those losses as a fan,” Bradford said Tuesday during Big 12 Football Media Days, "It was rough.” Said McCoy, "I was a big OU fan. As a fan, that’s not what you want to see. It was bad.” Which is why the dynamic duo is dead-set this season not only on winning a national championship, but also on changing OU’s reputation as a perennial bowl loser. "It’s very important. I’ve grown up in Oklahoma and I know the tradition and I know the pride Oklahoma fans take in Oklahoma football,” Bradford said. "I want to leave the program better than it was when I first got there. "If we can win a national championship this year and be known as the eighth national championship team, that would mean the world.” Bradford should know. After all, it meant the world to him when the Sooners returned to prominence under Bob Stoops at the turn of the century. "When I was first growing up, OU wasn’t very good,” Bradford said. "Then coach Stoops came, and coach (Josh) Heupel won the national championship to put them back. When Jason White won the Heisman, it felt like everything was back to normal for OU football.” But that’s when the OU football world spun off its axis.