Before we get to the current Game of the Century, a few words about "The Blind Side" -- and what it teaches about the SEC.
I finally saw the movie Thursday night, and it ain't "Chinatown" but it's a lot better than I had hoped. (I'm assuming we're among friends here and I don't have to explain the story of Michael Oher.) If you've read Michael Lewis' book, you'll notice that the movie is fairly faithful; the one big exception was a made-up scene where Oher cleans house with a drug dealer and his thugs. Sandra Bullock was just fine, although as a blonde in high dudgeon, she started to look distressingly like Dennis Quaid in "Great Balls of Fire."
Oher was being recruited (I think this would be 2003 or '04). Here's the coaches and their schools:
Nick Saban, LSU
Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
Lou Holtz, South Carolina
Phil Fulmer, Tennessee
Houston Nutt, Arkansas
Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss
What's interesting about that list? None of those coaches are at those schools anymore. Tuberville, Holtz and Fulmer are out of the business; Saban's at Bama; Nutt's at Ole Miss; and Orgeron is off somewhere trying to communicate with his home planet.
The point: Enjoy your coaches now, Gators and Tide. Nothing is forever.
I want to pick Alabama in this game, and if I was in Vegas, I'd bet them with the spread. They're better on the ground, have more playmakers on defense, and Saban will have them boiling with desire after losing last year. But you know what? As much as it kills me to say it ... I believe in the Tebow. I think the Tebow will do what he has to. Short of a concussion or broken bone, he's not losing this game. Florida, 26-24.
-- Tommy Tomlinson
Note to Tommy, Quaid's the blond who burns pianos and wears more eyeliner. I hope that helps.
On the other hand, I want to pick Florida. Best all-around team. Great bunch of leaders. Funky offense that seems almost impossible to prepare for in a week, and, of course, there is HE WHO CANNOT GO UNNAMED.
But you know what, I'm tired of selling my own team short. Both teams will be playing their best opponents by far. Florida is certainly the favorite. But they'll earn every yard, and this year they fall a few yards short. Tide, 21-20.
-- Michael Gordon
There's been so many times when what was predicted to be an "epic defensive struggle" turns into a shootout. This time, UA ends up one big play bigger than UF. Alabama 38, Florida 31.
-- R. Trentham Roberts