Gators Binge, Purge, Intend to Repeat
For an encore, Tim Tebow will rescue a kitten from the top floor of a burning skyscraper.
Judging by the large number of blue and orange-adorned ticket holders puking in the parking lot, it was great to be a Gator last night. The Super Bowl of college football featured jets and fireworks and gazillions of reporters (including me, blogging live) and tickets going for thousands of dollars, all in the name of crowning the most arbitrarily chosen champion in all of sports.
Let us bask in it, after the jump.
Oklahoma was roughed up worse than Helen Hunt in Twister. But instead of a dirty make out scene with a newly reunited ex-husband, the Sooners and their fans got a fifth consecutive BCS game loss, and the most dubious of distinctions, a fourth title game loss. They have become the Buffalo Bills of college football. This will ultimately become the legend of Bob Stoops, a former assistant coach at UF who won his first national championship game as a head coach and never won another.
Before the final knee, Florida fans were already talking about the possibility of three championships for Tebow in four years. It would solidify his spot as the greatest college player ever, better than Archie Griffin or Herschel Walker or Vince Young.
And Tim Tebow, whose alliterative name will now echo through every hallway where sports banter is welcome for months if not years, was spectacular. Even at his most flawed - he matched his season total in interceptions last night with two, the first multiple interception game of his college career - Tebow outplayed the man who beat him out for this year's Heisman. It wasn't Bradford's football skills - neither of his interceptions were his own fault; it's just that nobody could match the pure power or communicative enthusiasm of the Tebow.
The turning point in the game came after OU made it 14-14 - which made this the first ever BCS title game to be tied in the fourth quarter. Tebow could not be contained, and more importantly, after what seemed like every play, he jumped up and ran around the field, clapping his arms in a Gator chomp. It energized the mostly blue and orange crowd, the sidelines, and all of his teammates. He even got a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct, the first of his career, but that just juiced everyone up even more. At that point, the Sooners - like a boxer who has the realization in the ring that yes, he CAN lose - no longer stood a chance.
When the powers that be (my fingers are crossed, Barack Obama) move to a playoff system, the sound Te-Bow will come to symbolize the problem sports fans will have when comparing players and teams from this era. It certainly seems like Tebow could single-handedly carry his team through a tournament of champions, but the BCS - an enormously profitable venture for a lot of corporate powers - prevents us from ever knowing for sure. Maybe Colt McCoy, who competes with Tebow not just for the Heisman, but for the Most Proselytizing Quarterback award, could rattle Tebow so deeply that his "John 3:16" black under eye strips might fall right off.
This warped system leads to strange, unnatural things. A BYU fan I know was rooting for arch rival Utah at the end of the year. He couldn't help himself at the sight of such injustice. We have a post season that leaves the masses - those not celebrating their randomly-anointed championship - unfulfilled. At least when the Dolphins got knocked out of the playoffs, it was the last game of the season, both teams knew going in that it was win-or-go-home, and nobody could think of any reason why Miami and not Baltimore should be moving on.
But regardless of BCS banter, today in Teblorida (as the state has been renamed), there is rejoicing.
-- Michael J. Mooney