Three Reasons for Optimism

NORMAN, OKLA -- Three reasons to be optimistic that sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford will return for his junior season...

3. Desire to win another Big 12 Championship:

OU has won three straight Big 12 titles, including two in Kansas City and one in San Antonio. Bradford has led the Sooners to two of those three titles and redshirted when Paul Thompson led the Sooners to the 2006 conference title. So, obviously he is no stranger to winning the Big 12. In Bradford's two seasons starting as quarterback at OU, the Sooners have only lost three games in the conference and haven't lost at home. Their only losses came at Colorado and Texas Tech in 2007 and against Texas in Dallas this year. So, one can be sure that Bradford would like to continue this dominance again in 2009. There is no other competitor like Bradford, and you can bet your bottom dollar that securing Big 12 dominance for the Sooners was on his agenda when he signed a letter of intent.

2. Desire to win the National Championship:

When Bradford led the Sooners to the Big 12 Title against Missouri and won the Heisman a month ago, there were comparisons between him and many former OU quarterbacks, including Jason White, who also won the Heisman Trophy, and now-OU quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel, who led OU to the 2000 National Championship. Many started to list him as the best quarterback that head coach Bob Stoops had ever coached. Stoops himself even admitted that Bradford was probably the best quarterback to play under him. And Bradford was extremely humbled by the comments, but responded by saying he still hadn't completed a part of his goal, one that Heupel did, in fact, successfully complete. And that is winning the National Championship. Now that the Sooners fell short in last week's BCS National Championship, look for him to come back with even greater will to get the job done.

1. He still needs to mature some:

Don't mistake what this means. Bradford's progressions from receiver to receiver are unarguably a step above the rest in college football. He is a good decision maker and is fairly mobile. Bradford is a great pocket passer and has been in a number of big games in his career. He fits the mold for a National Football League quarterback both mentally and physically. But he can still gain some strength through another year of college football. Look at how he has matured from last year to now. Another year in the weight room will allow him to strengthen his arm and get bigger and will basically assure him as the top pick in the 2010 NFL draft if he does stay.

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