Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Title Repeat: Tebow vs. History

Sporting News had an interesting column today, putting Tim Tebow's attempt to repeat as a national champ up against the 5 other QBs of the BCS Era who had a chance to repeat, but failed.

Here is how I see it:

1999 Tennessee (Tee Martin): They failed because Phil Fulmer was too self-satisfied after winning the first title. Tebow, Urban Meyer and Florida want this 2nd one -- and history -- way more.

2000 Florida State (Chris Weinke): Weinke was absurdly overrated. Oklahoma was at the front-end of a half-decade reign of destruction, and FSU was at the tail-end of its relevance. Florida, on the other hand, appears to be at the peak of its dynasty -- last year was a bonus.

2002 Miami (Ken Dorsey): Beyond the fluky ending, the U simply didn't take Ohio State seriously. Mentally unprepared. Meyer, Tebow and Spikes have Florida insanely focused on taking nothing for granted.

2003 Ohio State (Craig Krenzel): Regression to the mean. If OSU played Miami 10 times, the Canes would win 9. OSU's close calls from 2002 finally caught up with them. Meanwhile, Florida had a 30+ point average margin of victory last season (before the SEC title game, the only close call was the one-point loss to Ole Miss), with more to come this season.

2005 USC (Matt Leinart): Ahh, Leinart comes up often. Here is the reality: That '05 USC offense was prolific; its defense was mediocre, particularly for a national-title contender. On the flip side, Florida's defense this season is -- on paper -- potentially the greatest defense in the history of college football.

With history as a guide, the three biggest keys to Florida's bid to repeat:
(1) Mental toughness.
(2) Defense.
(3) Insulating themselves from inevitable flukes.

Tebow leads on No. 1. He has no problem -- as he did in the SEC title game and national title game -- running into the defensive huddle to fire them up. He is the trigger-man for the scoring that will ensure flukes can't hurt the team. That combo separates him from the 5 QBs above.

This sounds a lot like Urban Meyer's "Plan to Win." And it is why Florida will repeat as champs, becoming the first team to do it since the equally dominant Nebraska team of the mid-90s.

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