Sunday, January 3, 2010

Going out in style

We all knew Cincinnati's defense wasn't very good and that Florida would probably have its way on the ground in the Sugar Bowl, but holy crap. Tim Tebow did anything he wanted Friday night, and it showed on the stat sheet: He finished 31-for-35 for 482 yards (!!!) with three touchdowns and no interceptions, and he tacked on 51 rushing yards and a TD just for good measure. Not a bad way to wrap up one of the greatest careers ever.

Those 531 total yards were the most in BCS history, which is pretty impressive when you consider that the previous record was held by Vince Young, who put up 467 in his epic performance against USC. Was Tebow's Sugar Bowl better than Young's Rose Bowl? No. The situations and opposing defenses weren't exactly comparable. But to anyone who questions whether Tebow can throw -- and yes, I know his motion isn't pretty -- just go back and watch him shred the third-ranked team in the country. He's pretty good.

I'm not sure it mattered that Brian Kelly wasn't on the sidelines; if Cincinnati had scored 40 points, Florida could have scored 70. It was clear from the opening drive that it was gonna be rough for the Cincy defense. Tebow completed his first 12 passes and Florida scored on its first five possessions, and it was 30-3 by the time anyone realized what was happening.

I said this the day before the game ...
I don't think it'll be the complete massacre a lot of people are predicting, but Florida is just a terrible opponent for Cincy to get matched up against.
... and I was right about the matchup part. But while Cincinnati battled back in the fourth quarter and made the final score moderately respectable at 51-24, it was a massacre by BCS standards.

It was a fittingly dominant performance in Tebow's final career game. I have no idea if he's the greatest college quarterback ever -- I won't bother trying to compare him with Tommie Frazier or Matt Leinart or Sammy Baugh or Roger Staubach (different eras, styles, etc.) -- but he certainly belongs in the discussion.

As for Urban Meyer, let the speculation begin. He recently told running back commit Mack Brown that he hopes to be back in August, which is basically the same thing he said at the Sugar Bowl press conference, but nobody knows for sure what the future holds. He reportedly looked terrible at the postgame media session and sounded less than certain about a his long-term plans.

If this was his last game, it was a great way to go out. Another dominating win over an elite team is an accurate in-a-nutshell summation of the Tebow-Meyer era; you can't do much better than three 13-win seasons, three BCS bowl victories and two national titles in four years.

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