Its 2006. Heralded backup freshman quarterback, Tim Tebow, fakes a handoff on the goaline then rolls out to his left. He stiff arms a defender and dives into the endzone for the first touchdown of his collegiate career. Everyone knows what has happened since. 135 TDs, SEC rushing TD record, 2 National Championships, 1 Heisman, 2 tackles, and 3 bible verses used under his eyes. He has changed the game in many ways and when his career is wrapped up officially in a little over a month, Tebow will be considered one of the greatest to ever play college football. Today is the last game for Tebow and the other seniors within the Swamp.
Florida State enters with a quarterback by the name of EJ Manuel. Today will be his 3rd career start and his numbers (1-4 TD-INT ratio) entering today will have no one confusing him for Ponder ( 2-1 TD-INT). Not to mention that Ponder brought a sense of playmaking ability and leadership that Manuel has not been able to develop entering into todays game. Ponder was playing as good as any QB in the nation especially compared to the other QBs within the state of Florida. With the injury to Ponders shoulder, any chance FSU had to compete with UF seemed to disappear.
Florida is a heavy veteran led team and Florida State enters with a very young team. Florida enters undefeated and ranked number one in the country while Florida State just won their sixth game last week to become bowl eligible. After a fast and promising start to the season, Florida State has since waded in mediocrity. Today is senior day for Tebow. There are other seniors but the reality is that this day is all about Tebow. The emotions will be high and the atmosphere close to insane. Young FSU will have never played in something like this. Today should be a rout…
But FSU is bringing in an offense that is averaging 31.6 points per game. Averaging 437 yards per game and they are doing that with a balanced attack. 148 yards per game on the ground and 286 per game through the air. The problem is the defense. They are allowing 30 points per game to their opponents. Opposing offenses are gaining 434 yards through the air and on the ground against the FSU defense. So if they are to have any shot of pulling an upset their defense is going to need to step up the level of play.
Florida enters todays game with an offense averaging 36 points per game. Bringing in an average of 442 yards per game. (230 from the rush and 213 in the air). The difference is that the UF defense is giving up 9 points per game to their opponents. NINE! Thats definitely a product of a defense that returned 22 players from last years National Championship team.
With all that stats laid out there its obvious why UF is a 24 point favorite. Throw all the stats out though. Today is a rivalry game and when you play a rivalry game there is no telling what can happen. (Just ask Texas and Alabama)
Today will see a legendary coach, Bobby Bowden, enter the Swamp for possibly the last time. It will see a rivalry renew, that no matter what the record of the teams that enter always brings hatred and passion. Today will see quite possibly the greatest college player finish his regular season career. Today will end with UF defeating FSU 41-17.