Mon Sep 28 03:49pm EDT
Among the members of the most hyped triumvirate of clean-cut, Heisman-contending quarterbacks in the history of college football, only Texas' Colt McCoy remains standing today in football-ready health, and with the Longhorns entering a bye week, there's a chance that -- gasp! -- an entire Saturday could pass without McCoy, Tim Tebow or Sam Bradford taking the field this weekend.
Florida is off, too, which leaves Bradford and his mangled throwing shoulder as the flag-bearers for Les Trois Mousquetaires d'Hype when Oklahoma visits Miami. When last we saw the Sooners, Landry Jones was setting school records and earning accolades in Bradford's place in an easy rout over the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa on Sept. 19; the Hurricanes in South Florida being somewhat more formidable, however, the reigning Heismanaut is still going to give it a go this week:
Sam Bradford will be back on the practice field for Oklahoma this week in an effort to regain his starting job before the Sooners take on Miami on Saturday evening.
But whether he takes the field as OU's starting quarterback is yet to be determined.
"We just have to feel comfortable that he's healthy, that he feels good enough to make the throws we need to make and that he's ready to do it," said Bob Stoops on Monday morning.
First consideration: Bradford's physical comfort level when passing. Second consideration: Whether the Sooners will be in desperate enough need of points to rush their most important back before he's ready -- if the always feisty OU defense can do to 'Cane quarterback Jacory Harris what Virginia Tech did to him last Saturday, the offense does not have to be humming at the optimal, record-breaking pace it achieved last November to win in Miami. And that's assuming that Bradford would be more likely to put the pedal to the floor after a month on the shelf, which isn't necessarily the case given Jones' last outing. If Bradford sits at Miami and comes back fresh for the Big 12 opener against Baylor, that should be plenty of lead time to get back in the swing before the season-making showdown with McCoy and Texas on Oct. 17.
Tebow, meanwhile, is still shaking out the cobwebs from the concussion heard 'round the world at Kentucky, a significantly more foreboding distraction than the diversion Tiger fans created before Florida's last trip to LSU. Even Gator fans aren't anxious for a hasty return from "damaged brain" -- and, like Oklahoma, aren't sure they really need their star to beat a team coming off an extremely sketchy performance -- but SEC guru Tony Barnhart's hear is picking up rumblings that Tebow has tentative plans to take the field in two weeks in Baton Rouge, brain be damned:
I spoke to several people at Florida close to the situation on Sunday and they are cautiously optimistic that Tebow will be able to play on Oct. 10, when Florida plays its next game at LSU. The next 48 hours, I was told, will be crucial in determining how long Tebow will need to rest.
About half of that waiting period has passed with no significant news on Tebow's status, but again, Florida has to ask how much risk it's willing to expose its MVP to against a rival that -- top-five ranking notwithstanding -- is struggling mightily on offense and has had to go to the mat as a huge favorite to beat both Washington and Mississippi State. Tiger Stadium may not be the ideal venue for John Brantley's first start, but unless Tebow is given a 100-percent clearance, it's not the place to put an extremely bright future on the line, either.