Sam Bradford injury reflects good, bad of college football

When I wrote earlier this week about attending the American Idols Live concert last Saturday, it was followed by a late dinner. One of the first things I noticed while being seated was glancing up at the BYU-Oklahoma game and seeing Sam Bradford on the sidelines in a T-shirt and sling.

The first thought that went through my head – as I’m sure it did all college football fans no matter when and where they saw it – was “There goes the Heisman,” quickly followed by “There goes the national championship for Oklahoma.”

The intervening days have brought better news on both fronts regardless if you’re a Sooner supporter or not (and just an aside, the last time I was in Oklahoma was 1980, so there’s no hidden agenda here).

Bradford’s separated shoulder will keep him out until at least for the next two games against Idaho State and Tulsa. A return for an Oct. 3 game against Miami – which upset Florida State on Labor Day – is possible.

If the Sooners survive Bradford’s absence and the season-ending injury to top-flight tight end Jermaine Gresham to make it to the Oct. 17th showdown with Texas without any further damage, their BCS title game hopes will still be alive.

The hopes of Bradford repeating as Heisman winner are diminished without the gaudy stats he might have put up against two lower-level opponents. I believe it raises the profile of Cal running back Jahvid Best, an explosive touchdown machine for the Golden Bears. Everyday Christian publisher Chuck Manson likes Alabama running back Mark Ingram as a sleeper candidate. Ingram is the son of the former Michigan State and NFL wide receiver of the same name who won a Super Bowl under Bill Parcells with the New York Giants.

Bradford’s injury is no way a good thing. Injuries are part of any sport and wishing for anyone to get injured, no matter how deep your fan loyalty, is just plain wrong.

What it does do is open up a discussion that can only happen in college football for better or worse.

In no other major team sport can your entire season be in danger of being completely shot down the drain in the first week of the season. To use a common analogy, if a college basketball powerhouse like Duke loses to a small school in a November tournament in Hawaii, it will have zero impact on its NCAA Tournament fortunes.

This brings into play the whole issue of the BCS, strength of schedule, etc., that is ultimately a poor substitute for a playoff system. To get deeply into that mess would require another time and place.

The most important element in Bradford’s recovery from a Christian perspective is his very overt faith. Both he and fellow preseason Heisman favorites Texas quarterback Colt McCoy and Florida QB Tim Tebow are all unabashed Christians.

A statement Bradford made in a video in January is something he is likely relying on now and a good reminder for those of us who aren’t blessed with great athletic gifts: “Everything that God does He’s doing for a reason and it’s not our job to question what He is doing with our lives,” Bradford said.

 

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