Sam Bradford made the wrong choice by staying In College!

OK, let’s hope this has a Peyton Manning-like, no-harm-no-foul happy ending.

No one wants to witness a replay of Matt Leinart’s plummeting-draft-stock, baby-mama-drama, USC farewell tour.

Yeah, we have no choice but to root for Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.

On Wednesday, the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner announced he would return for a fourth season at OU rather than risk being drafted by Kwame Kilpatrick’s favorite football team, the Detroit Lions.

Bradford’s decision is equal parts inspiring, stupefying and bat-(spit) crazy.

Most draft experts had Bradford at the top of their Big Boards. The kid just took a one-year sabbatical from a $60-plus million contract and close to $40 million in guaranteed bonuses.

I heard news travels slow in the Dust Bowl, but surely the Bradford family has heard about the world-wide financial crash. Maybe they’re immune? Maybe T. Boone Pickens is a Sooner supporter, too?

Whatever the case, I’m sure Warren Buffett could explain the financial mistake Sam Bradford just made. OK, Warren Buffett is a little too square. How about Tupac Shakur and his life philosophy, M.O.B.?

Money over BCS.

Right now, you got to get your money, honey.

I understand that losing the national title game to Florida left the feeling of unfinished business throughout Sooner Nation. But if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense in 2009.

Bradford made a wonderful financial decision for Bob Stoops and all the other grownups associated with Oklahoma football. Bradford’s return gives the Sooners another crack at avenging their fifth straight BCS bowl loss and third straight national title game defeat.

But this makes no sense for Sam Bradford. It’s irresponsible.

Keep in mind, I’m pro-education, pro-four years of college. It took me five years to graduate from college, and I wish it had taken six. Matter of fact, I’d re-enroll in college right now if the occasional specs of gray in my beard wouldn’t give me away.

Everything tastes, feels, smells, sounds and looks better on a college campus. It’s heaven for your five senses. Declaring for real life sucks. But real life ain’t too shabby when your pockets are fat like a post-holidays Oprah.

The University of Oklahoma is recession- and depression-proof. It’s not going anywhere. Bradford can always return to OU and collect his degree. The opportunity to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft is very fickle.

In 2005, Leinart, fresh off a Heisman Trophy season, was supposed to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. He returned for one more season at good-old USC. For his troubles, Vince Young spanked him in the national title game, Reggie Bush won the 2006 Heisman, a USC women’s basketball player helped Leinart become a daddy and Leinart dropped nine spots in the 2006 draft.

The total cost for Leinart was about $14 million. That’s the estimated difference in guaranteed money between what Leinart received in 2006 as the 10th selection and what Utah quarterback Alex Smith got for being the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft.

Leinart made a horrible decision, and in fact may have revealed a bit of the immaturity that has kept him tethered to the Arizona bench for three years. In order to excel in the NFL, you have to really want to be a professional football player. Being an NFL quarterback carries the most responsibility in professional sports.

There’s nothing wrong with Bradford wanting to prolong childhood. I’m desperately and embarrassingly clinging on to mine.

And maybe Bradford is the next Peyton Manning. The reigning NFL MVP graduated from Tennessee in three years and was pegged as the No. 1 pick in the 1997 NFL draft. He returned to college for his senior season and was the top choice in 1998.

There’s a theory, backed by stats, that the best NFL quarterbacks require four years of college seasoning. I don’t think there’s enough information to legitimately support the theory. The NFL did not allow early entry until 1990.

What’s a fact is once the NFL hands you a truckload of guaranteed money, it can’t take it back unless you open a dogfighting operation or do something incredibly stupid and illegal.

I’ve looked at this from every angle. Bradford made a curious choice at best and a ridiculous one at worst.

I hope it works out. The Sooners — despite a retention/recruiting effort that snagged three other high-profile, draft-eligible underclassmen — lose a lot of the pieces that made Bradford unstoppable this season.

Bradford is risking exposure. He threw the ball into huge windows this season. His line provided him top-shelf protection, and his receivers accelerated for massive separation. I’m suspicious of his arm strength and ability to make plays under pressure.

We’ll monitor this situation closely. There’ll be no I-told-you-so column if this ends poorly. There’ll only be sadness.

via FOX Sports on MSN – COLLEGE FOOTBALL – Bradford made the wrong choice by staying.