Florida knocks off No. 1 Alabama, heading to national championship game

Florida-AlabamaPerhaps no team in college football has played better over past two months than Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators. And thanks to their impressive 31-20 victory over No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, Tebow and the Gators will head to Miami to play in college football’s national title game on January 8.

In the end, the Crimson Tide didn’t have enough offensive firepower to knock off Urban Meyer’s Gators, who just had too many players to control. The started to wear down the Gator defense in the third quarter, but couldn’t muster any points in the fourth and it wound up being their pitfall. The stout ‘Bama defense couldn’t contain Tebow, either, who threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns, including a five-yard scoring pass to Riley Cooper with 2:50 remaining in the game, which turned out to be the nail in the coffin.

It’s hard to place blame on running back Glen Coffee, who rushed for 112 yards on 21 carries and a touchdown, but QB John Parker Wilson couldn’t come up with enough big plays throughout the course of the game. He threw for just 177 yards and outside of a 64-yard pass to Julio Jones in the first quarter, Wilson struggled throwing vertically against an extremely fast Florida defense.

What’s amazing is that Florida scored 31 points against a fantastic Alabama defense and did so without Percy Harvin, who is their most explosive playmaker. The Gators’ win is truly a testament to how good this team is to knock off a previously undefeated Tide program, which had stifled their opponent’s offenses all season.

And does Tim Tebow get thrown back into the Heisman discussion after this game? The Big 12 quartbacks – Colt McCoy, Sam Bradford and Graham Harrell – have been impressive, but Tebow has been on an absolute tear and in the biggest game of the season, he produced. His leadership, determination and heart have also been unrivaled this year.This is why college football should wait until after the championship game is played to crown the Heisman winner, because what if Tebow outshines Bradford or McCoy yet one of those two Big 12 QBs win the award? It’s kind of ridiculous not to wait until the BCS bowl games are played to crown a Heisman winner.

So Florida is in (assuming of course that the BCS doesn’t screw things up, which of course is still a major possibility), and will await the result of the Big 12 Championship Game. If Oklahoma beats Missouri, it’ll be the Gators and the Sooners in the national title game. If MIZZOU produces a massive upset, than all hell breaks loose and college football fans will pray all of the BCS’ computers explode and mass chaos ensues.

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The Official Alabama-Florida Prediction Thread

All right, most of us know that predictions are worthless in sports. Nobody really knows what will happen, even if we think we do.

But predictions are also fun and with this being championship week in college football, I thought it would be fun for everybody to throw out some game predictions on the Alabama-Florida game. It can be a full a full game analysis or just a score projection – it’s up to you.

I’ll walk onto the dance floor first:

Perhaps no team in college football is playing better than the Gators are right now. They’re outscoring opponents by an average of 24 points per game, own the top turnover margin in the nation and since their loss to Ole’ Miss in late September, have destroyed teams by a 414 to 97 margin.

But this game will come down to defense, which just so happens to be ‘Bama’s specialty. The Tide are allowing just 11.5 points per game and less than 250 total yards. Their defensive front four is one of the best in the nation and as a unit, the ‘Bama defense is the sixth best in all of college football.

For as well as Florida has played since losing to the Rebels, this won’t be a walk in the park like some purists believe. ‘Bama isn’t undefeated by accident and although they had a few close calls throughout the year, that will only help them if this SEC Championship Game turns out to be the dogfight many expect. The key will be whether or not Alabama can produce enough offense to win. Their running game is solid with Glen Coffee, but they’re going to have an incredibly hard time putting the ball in the air against a UF team that is allowing just 172.9 yards per game this season.

Prediction time – I’m taking Florida. The Gators just have too many weapons (assuming Percy Harvin plays) and Tim Tebow makes things happen around the goal line. This won’t be a blowout, but Florida’s defense should contain John Parker Wilson and the ‘Bama passing attack, although they might have trouble keeping Coffee contain because the Tide can dominant the line of scrimmage at times.

Florida 24, Alabama 21. The Gators win, but the Tide cover the spread. ‘Bama is 5-0 against the spread in their last five games and have covered the last five times in this matchup. I’ll take the gift 10-points from oddsmakers, especially considering ‘Bama could win outright.

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