By Paul M. Banks
You can describe the relationship of Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy in many ways: frienemies, unlikely BFFs, forbidden bromance. But no matter how you describe the friendship between the Oklahoma and Texas QBs, it’s certainly an unlikely one. Bradford and McCoy, last year’s Heisman trophy winner and 1st runner-up, are starting quarterbacks on opposite sides of what may be college football’s fiercest rivalry. A rivalry so heated it has a cool nickname “Red River Shootout,” and must be played on a neutral site each year. The next edition commences this Saturday at 11AM CT.
“People outside of the game think it’s crazy that we can be friends, but he’s a great guy, we have a lot in common. Our friendship is one thing, this game is another,” Colt McCoy said on conference call this week. I considered asking McCoy a question about his unlikely friendship with Bradford, but he was getting plenty already. The sports media, ok ESPN…and maybe a few other outlets, have played this angle up so much that I’m half-expecting this week’s “College Gameday” pre-game show to include a segment on the two Big 12 QBs set to the “Guy Love” song from the television show “Scrubs.”
On the University of Texas conference call, Colt took questions about his playing ping-pong with Bradford, how often he communicates with him and through which specific communication medium. One guy took it way past the Rubicon of ridiculousness by asking whether he texted, Facebooked or used the good old-fashioned telephone to contact Bradford on the day he was injured early this season.
“He’s such a competitor and such a leader. I know how hard he’s worked to get back on the field. I know I texted him the night it happened, right when the season started and told him I was praying for him to get back…I just encouraged him, we play a physical sport and you’re going to get hit, but anytime you’re injured and not able to play, that’s a hard pill to swallow,” Colt said.
McCoy re-affirmed their relationship, “We’re friends off the field. He’s an awesome guy. we have a lot in common, I’m glad he’s back and healthy and ready to play again. He’s a solid guy.” But he also conveyed how he isn’t able to really talk with him all that much.
“It’s been tough since the season started. We’ve been really busy, football is our lives now,” he said.
Of course, having “sympathy for the devil” is impossible in a rivalry where hatred for the opponent runs deeper on both sides than the river separating the two states, or is it? “I get a hard time from my teammates, they say I can’t believe you’re friends with this guy, but I got to know him through award shows, off-season stuff. That was a lot of fun.”
After this season, both senior QBs are expected to be take their friendship to the NFL, as both are projected first round draft picks.Follow paulmbanks