That was a heck of a Heisman race wasn’t it?
Sam Bradford trying to go back-to-back. Tim Tebow trying to win his second stiff-arm. Now what? The only thing that links them at the moment is the memory of splitting headaches. The Heisman race is not over with damage suffered by both superstars, the race will have concussions as a subtext.
Bradford suffered his a couple of years ago against Texas Tech. It was more than painful. The subsequent loss to the Red Raiders knocked OU out of the national championship race.
Florida was able to survive Saturday against Kentucky, 41-7, but it lost its leader and most inspirational player to a concussion.
These things never go away meaning that once you suffer a concussion you are incrementally more likely to get another, and another, and another. Ask Troy Aikman who had to retire because of them.
Superman finally showed he is vulnerable. We never thought we’d see it. The thing is, the college football season is still linked to Bradford and Tebow. If Tebow hurts his head again, it’s curtains for the Gators. Their offense already is reduced with the loss of Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin. Oklahoma may get Bradford back this week from his separated shoulder.
Only Texas’ Colt McCoy remains fully healthy from the preseason Three Amigos storyline. Bradford hopes to return against Miami, which would be a good sign. He absolutely has to be ready by Oct. 17. Despite the loss to BYU, everything is still on the line with the Texas game looming that day.
Tebow spent part of the night throwing up into a trash bag. His, and the Gators’ future, a bit cloudier.• Kentucky’s Rich Brooks on Taylor Wyndham, the kid who hit Tebow:
“I just told him that these things happen in football and you can’t feel responsible. What you did is make a clean football play. I don’t feel any better about it myself.”
Brooks knows a little bit about concussions and quarterbacks. In 1995 he was head coach of the St. Louis Rams. The team got off to a hot start but quarterback Chris Miller suffered a concussion. The Rams finished 7-9.
“That,” Brooks said, “was the beginning of the end.”
Dick Vermeil took over in 1997.• Chip Kelly clinched the coach of the year award – for September.
OK, that doesn’t quite make sense but remember where Oregon was at the beginning of this month? LeGarrette Blount was punching out the opposition and teammates. The public and media were screaming for his head.
They got it, but which way were the Ducks headed? Up, it turns out. In Saturday’s 42-3 victory over pretender Cal, Oregon set itself up as the next-best team in the Pac-10. A challenger, maybe, to USC’s death grip on the conference.
But back to Kelly. He somehow held the team together after it lost its best running back, then pointed the Ducks back on the field. They followed the Boise State – which doesn’t look that bad by the way – with wins over Purdue, Utah and Cal. The last two teams were ranked.
The Ducks now have a personality – and it’s a good one. Nick Aliotti’s defense held Heisman pretender/contender Jahvid Best to 55 yards on 16 carries. Jeremiah Masoli, slammed by fans recently, completed 21 of 25. Blount even contributed playing Best last week on the scout team.
For once Oregon’s throwback jerseys didn’t make you throw up. They were kind of cool. So is Kelly who has Oregon in the thick of the conference race four games into his head coaching career. The intense little coach is a mix of schemes and desire.
Asked before the game how his team could possibly knock off powerful Cal, he responded:
"They've got to knock us off.”• It’s 1967 and counting for Indiana. A soul-crushing 36-33 loss to Michigan means the Hoosiers haven’t won in The Big House since Sgt. Peppers.
• What are we to make of Ralph Friedgen? His time at Maryland is coming to an agonizing end. The thing is, coach-in-waiting James Franklin doesn’t exactly look like the answer. Fear the Future. Rutgers stomped the Terps 34-13. Maryland now has more turnovers  than touchdowns  this season.
• Fire up fireronzook.com. Ohio State destroyed Illinois 30-0 in a rematch of the Illini’s epic 2007 upset at The Shoe. This one was epic only in the way Illinois has slumped since then. The Buckeyes churned to a 13-0 halftime lead Saturday without completing a pass.
Preseason All-American receiver Arrelious Benn of Illinois has one receiving touchdown in his last 11 games, none this season.
“It’s like a nightmare,” Illini quarterback Juice Williams said, “a nightmare from which you can’t ever wake up.”
• The right-now, no-hype, no-b.s., not-what-they-did last year Heisman rankings for this week:
1. Chad Jones, LSU: I told you Saturday it’s time they establish a new award in this kid’s name [The Chad]. All the Tigers safety did was stop Mississippi State twice from the one-inch line with the game on the line. Oh, and did I mention the College World Series star also scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on a 93-yard punt return?
2. Tim Tebow, Florida: Superman finally blinked. After almost four years of pounding, it seems that Tebow’s body wore down just a little bit with what seems to be a concussion. Still, he piled up more than 220 yards in total offense in less than three quarters.
3. Colt McCoy, Texas: It was only Texas-El Paso, but McCoy stayed red hot throwing for three touchdowns.
4. Tony Pike, Cincinnati: The shining reason why the Big East matters this year. Cincinnati is unbeaten because Pike has developed into a top flight quarterback.
5. Case Keenum, Houston: 38 of 58 and the game-winning touchdown [rushing] vs. Texas Tech. What can’t this kid do?