Friday, November 20, 2009

Tebow Farewell Tour: November Patsy

Every week marks one more farewell for Tim Tebow. Against an opponent. In a rival SEC town. He is a one-man Farewell Tour. Games to go: 4

Tomorrow, Tebow will play against a November patsy one last time -- and his second-to-last game at The Swamp. Let's look back at Tebow's history vs. November cupcakes:

2006: Western Carolina, 62-0.
Why it mattered: Florida fans' first glimpse at What Could Be, with Tim Tebow getting starter's snaps in a full-blown Urban Meyer spread offense. He accounted for 4 TDs and nearly 250 yards of total offense (10/12 passing for 200 yards and another 49 yards rushing.)

After the game, Meyer with the understatement of the year about Tebow: "He's pretty good. He's a full-functioning quarterback."

2007: Florida Atlantic, 59-20.
Why it mattered: The "20/20" game for Tebow, as Tim became the first player ever to pass for 20 TDs and rush for 20 TDs in the same season. Tebow also set the SEC record for most rushing TDs in a season.

"20/20" was a big talking point for Tebow's Heisman chances. Dan Mullen: "He's definitely as deserving as the other guys out there. He's had a phenomenal season. He's obviously a major, major part of our offense -- one of the most important parts of our team -- and he's a great person. If I had an award to give, he's a guy I wouldn't mind representing you for that award."

Meyer was more critical: "Tim didn't play his best game. That's being critical. I'm being critical of Tim because he needs a little critical analysis every once in a while. He did not play his best game, but that tells you how good a football player he is."

Give Meyer the last word, when told about "20/20": "That's unbelievable. I can't believe that's never been done before. That's a great record to have. I'd much rather have our ninth win next week." (Note consistency of "Winning is all that matters from 2007 to 2009.)

FAU put up a little bit more of a fight than expected -- not entirely unexpected in what can be considered the Interregnum between title seasons. (And FAU was a substantial upgrade over either the 2006 or 2008 November cupcakes.) Tebow accounted for 4 TDs (3 pass, 1 rush) and threw for 338 yards (25/34 attempts).

2008: The Citadel, 70-19.
Why it mattered: Would this be Tim Tebow's final game at The Swamp?

The answer was uncertain and the adulation was overflowing. Tebow was non-plussed about the game: "I don't want to think about it like that at all."

Tebow played slightly more than a quarter, with Florida taking an absurd 42-0 lead before the 2nd quarter was barely a few minutes underway. Tebow had a game not unlike the 2006 laugher, throwing for 201 yards on 9/11 passing, with 3 TDs.

Tebow took a victory lap after the game, in what would become a bit of a populist -- and popular -- tradition for him:

"I think it's cool. It's not like a burden or anything. It just lets you know they want you."

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