Odds and Ends

After the Ole Miss loss in September an emotional Tim Tebow took the podium and told the assembled media, "A lot of good will come out of this. You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season, and you'll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season."

Saturday night's game showed Tebow wasn't kidding. Countless talented Florida teams have struggled past Vanderbilt over the years. The national championship team of 1996 only beat them by seven in Nashville. This year's Commodores aren't slouches either - they will likely play in a bowl, and their defense is solid. Tebow's offense shredded them, effectively ending the game by the end of the first quarter.

Tebow threw for three touchdowns and also ran for 88 yards and two scores on 11 carries. He leads an attack which poses nightmare scenarios for any defense. Florida's offense was so diverse that Carl Moore's four catches led the team, and David Nelson's 41 yards were the most of any receiver. Neither guy would be considered among the five most dangerous weapons in the Gator passing game, which emphasizes how impossible to contain it really is.

This Vandy win won't be one of the signature items on Florida's BCS resume, but coming off a huge emotional win against Georgia it sends a clear message. Tebow has followed through on his vow to have his team fully motivated and prepared for every game. If he can do it for four more weeks, no one has a prayer of stopping them.


Seeing John Brantley enter the game at quarterback for Florida is becoming a regular occurrence thanks to the massive point totals the Gators are putting up. The redshirt freshman entered the game with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter, marking the third consecutive game he has gotten the chance to pick up SEC experience running the Florida attack.


Florida had been unstoppable in the red zone this season, with the only time they failed to score inside the 20 coming on a fourth down when they opted not to put up more points late in a blowout game. They were 3-for-3 three against Vanderbilt before the first true failure of the year came under curious circumstances. Percy Harvin dove for the end zone on Florida's fifth possession of the game and appeared to score a touchdown. It was ruled he had fumbled, and despite replay clearly showing the ball coming loose after Harvin's arm had hit the ground the call was allowed to stand.


Penn State's loss to Iowa Saturday was a mixed result for Florida. The Nittany Lions were one of the three teams standing between Florida and the second spot in the BCS standings, but also were likely the easiest possible opponent for the Gators in a championship game matchup. The good news for Florida is that now they are virtually assured of reaching the championship game (likely facing the Big 12 champion) should they be able to win out.

The Gators strength of schedule rating got help from wins by FSU and Hawaii, but the Tennessee win's value continues to drop worse than Lehman Brothers stock thanks to their loss to Wyoming.


Perhaps it was just out of habit because the Gators have been on Raycom so often this season, but immediately prior to the network's broadcast Saturday they seemed to expect another visit. A fullscreen graphic said "Coming Up: Number four Florida versus Kentucky". It was actually Georgia taking on the Wildcats, eventually winning 42-38.


South Carolina is next up for Florida, and Steve Spurrier reached deep into the bag of tricks from his Gainesville days in their win against Arkansas Saturday. The Gamecocks ran half a dozen plays from the Emory and Henry formation and alternated quarterbacks Chris Smelley and Stephen Garcia on every snap for the entire game.

South Carolina suffered a significant personnel loss late, as safety Chris Culliver was ejected for fighting with a minute to go and will miss at minimum the first half of the Florida game due to SEC policy. Culliver is a starter and also is the primary kickoff returner for South Carolina.

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