If you want to find out what "Championship Mode" is all about, Alligator Army is the site to check. mlmintampa does a great job of covering perhaps the best overall SEC program of the last five years -- at least in the Big 3 of football, basketball and baseball -- and particularly when it comes to the Florida Gators' dominance on the gridiron. He agreed to answer a few questions for us about the 2009 season.
To borrow from Stephen Colbert: Tim Tebow -- Great Player, or the Greatest Player?
As of now, great. The comparison people will make to Tebow is that he is not Bo Jackson, Herschel Walker, while he has passed contemporaries like Reggie Bush and Vince Young. Another National Championship will give Tebow a claim at The Greatest SEC Player and put him in the top-5 of all time. No one can claim to have a resume like Tebow's, with any season being a career year for an average player. (People forget that Tebow had 13 TDs and more than 800 yards of offense as a freshman in Florida's 2006 title season.) Tebow might not have the God-given ability of Bo or Herschel, but they don't have his rings. That is what determines Greatness.
On a little more serious note, is it over for this team if Tebow gets hurt or do you think Brantley could run a quickly-adjusted offense well enough to still compete for the SEC and the crystal football?
Over. The defense is good enough to stand on its head, but the psychological impact would be devastating. I think Brantley is a tremendous quarterback (he throws such a pretty ball) and would be a very good replacement. Brantley would not be good enough to win a National Championship, while the SEC would be still a possibility.
What are the weaknesses of this team? Or: If Florida disappoints this year, it will be because _____________.
They lost focus. All you have to do is watch the Ole Miss game last season to see a team assume their talent will carry them, coaches included. I believe there isn't much that separates Florida, Georgia, Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss, in terms of talent. The Gators understand this, but when they are at LSU or playing Georgia, one mental slip can lose the game. Also, we assume Florida will dominate because they did last year. But they were a desperate team last year. Playing with the bullseye is a totally different challenge.
How important is the goal of going undefeated this year? I'm assuming that no one is going to take another 13-1 national title season as a disappointment, but am I wrong?
Undefeated is the only way to guarantee a defense of the title, that's why it is important. Anything short of a National Championship is a disappointment. There are probably only 4 teams that think that way; USC, Oklahoma, Texas and UF.
Anything we've said this week that you feel the need to correct/disagree with?
I agree receiver is the biggest concern for the Gators. It will be interesting to see who Tebow trusts, which means Hernandez, Nelson and Cooper will get a lot of the early balls. I don't think Debose will be a stud immediately, with Demps being more likely to be the speed demon.
The big picture issue is that the Gators need to stay healthy, especially along the offensive line. The schedule works to the Gators' favor (bye week before LSU, Georgia between Arky and Vandy), but this is the third season starting for a lot of the Gators. How do their bodies heal now? If injuries start piling up, UF can forget about a repeat.
We thank mlmintampa for taking a few moments to discuss the excellence that is Tim Tebow and all the other stuff about
whatever team the Golden Tebow is on Florida. Again, check Alligator Army this season for updates on the Gators' championship defense.
MONDAY: Florida's Song Remains the Same; The Connnectedness of Florida's Heisman Winners
TUESDAY: The Underdogs Florida Will Face; Don't Miss Tebow's Last Year
WEDNESDAY: Meet the New Gators, Same as the Old Gators; Gator Coaching Staff Changes Should Not Be Overlooked
THURSDAY: Tim Tebow's Wikipedia Entry, c. 2070; Florida Goes for Lucky No. 14; Florida on YouTube
LATER TODAY: Book Review: Historic Photos of University of Florida Football; Is 2009 Florida another 2005 Southern Cal?; Your Turn