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Sam Bradford, Gerald McCoy feel your pain

JAKE TROTTER Published: July 29, 2009

/> National title losses to LSU and USC, followed by BCS bowl losses to Boise State and West Virginia.

Then came the national championship loss to Florida last season.

"Me and my father watched the 2003 game together. That OU team people were saying could be the best college football team ever. They were just blowing people out. It was amazing. Then they lost the Big 12, got in the national championship, and lost that,” McCoy said. "That next year, I was pumping them up. You don’t say this as a player, but I was a fan, a high school kid, saying, ‘We’re going to kill USC.’

"When they beat us, I didn’t hear the end of it.”

McCoy has yet to hear the end of it, since OU hasn’t won a BCS bowl game since that USC game, when McCoy was still a junior in high school. Once again, the Big 12 media peppered the Sooner contingent Tuesday with bowl-loss questions.

"It’s even tougher to lose one as a player,” Bradford said. "You put so much time into it as a player. It’s all you think about, it’s all you dream about, to play for a national championship.

"And to come up short, it’s not a good feeling to have.”

Bradford and McCoy had other reasons for putting off the NFL and returning to school. To get their degrees. To enjoy football for another season before it becomes a job. To improve their draft stock. To be with their friends for one more year.

But also, for one more chance to leave the program better than when they arrived. And win that elusive eighth title.

"Why not come back one more year and take a shot at that national championship?” McCoy said. "You want to leave on top.

"People always remember the ones that leave on top.”