Forget the Tim Tebow-Dan Mullen storyline. Let's walk back the key role that Mississippi State plays in Tim Tebow's mythology:
(1) Florida loses to Mississippi State in 2004. Ron Zook is fired. Zook would have inevitably been fired anyway, but perhaps it would have taken until the end of the season -- or longer.
(2) During Ron Zook's lame-duck remainder of his coaching career, Florida AD Jeremy Foley is able to do the groundwork necessary to gain the edge over Notre Dame to hire Urban Meyer.
(Given Meyer's interest in Notre Dame, it is hard to imagine that Florida would have been successfully able to recruit Meyer if UF didn't have a two-month head start on the Irish.)
(3) Meyer makes it his recruiting mission to land Tim Tebow. Sure, Tebow would have considered Florida with Ron Zook as coach, but Alabama with Mike Shula -- Tebow's second choice -- would have had a much better shot.
(4) Tebow commits to Florida. History unfolds as we have seen it.
It is impossible to understate how history would have changed had Tebow gone to Alabama. Mike Shula surely would have kept his job another year or two... or more. Florida would not have won the national title in 2006. Or 2008. Jevan Snead would probably be your starting Florida QB. I don't know where Nick Saban would have been. Alabama, inevitably? Michigan?
There you have it: The 2004 loss to Mississippi State was the single-greatest thing to happen to Florida in school history, because it begat Meyer, who begat Tebow, who begat championships.