Friday, January 8, 2010

Tim Tebow Leads Florida to No. 3 Ranking

Add one more accomplishment to the list for Tim Tebow's career:

In Tebow's four years, Florida was the only team to finish in the Top 3 three times.

2006: No. 1, obviously.
2008: No. 1, obviously.
2009: No. 3.

It is worth noting that Florida finished behind Texas, presumably because Texas gave Alabama a tougher game than Florida (despite not having their QB). I'm not sure this is fair:

Playing Florida, Alabama was as up (and on) as I've ever seen a team for a game.

Playing Texas, Alabama was in "do what's necessary to win," which explains the way Saban played not to lose from halftime onward (and almost blew it -- don't think that last-minute TD wasn't about avoiding the post-game storyline being "Texas almost won," rather than "Alabama wins decisively.")

It is also worth noting that Florida edged out unbeaten Boise State, which finished 4th. Boise State fans will rightfully be very upset by this. I will say that Florida's position ahead of Boise before the bowls started probably helped, as did a pre-bowl No. 5 Florida absolutely crushing pre-bowl No. 3 Cincinnati. (Boise barely beat pre-bowl No. 4 TCU.)

Lastly, it's important to say this:

For a team with "championship or bust" expectations, the difference between "14-0" and "13-1" is the widest gap in the world. It is nominal solace that Florida's only loss was to the No. 1 team (and that the loss was decisive and not because Tim Tebow was injured on the 1st series).

But 13-1 is not 14-0. And No. 3 is not No. 1.

As with the Sugar Bowl, if you couldn't have a national championship, 13-1 and a No. 3 (arguably No. 2) ranking are the next-best (if distant next-best) thing.

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