NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Tim Tebow rose above all the distractions caused by coach Urban Meyer's…
Florida Flogs Cincinnati
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5:40 – Tonight, two legends of Gator football say goodbye: Tim Tebow and Urban…oh, wait. Tonight, one legend of Gator football says goodbye: Tim Tebow.
5:42 – Also, don't count out Cincinnati. The last time a team came into a BCS game without its regular season head coach, West Virginia took down Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl; additionally, the Bearcats might have a case for a share of the National Championship if they win and Texas beats Alabama.
5:48 – Florida's defense is a little flummoxed in the early going; even before that personal foul, Cincinnati has kept them off guard with quick passes over the middle to nullify the blitz.
5:51 – Of course, the Bearcats commit two consecutive holding penalties to all but kill the drive; this is not what Cincinnati needs—they have to get out to a fast start to have any chance tonight.
5:57 – Wow. The replay clearly showed that Aaron Hernandez' facemask was grabbed, but the officials picked the flag up.
5:59 – New drinking game! Take a swig every time Brian Billick refers to Tebow as "lethal".
6:01 – Okay, this writer may have just called out Mr. Billick for his repetitive vocabulary, but he is correct: Tebow is dangerous on third down.
6:06 – The size advantage for the Gators was evident on that drive; when they needed to make a play, either Tebow made one—7/7 on the drive— or they threw their muscle around in order to do so…
6:08 – …except on that extra point.
6:11 – Best wishes to Florida running back Jeffrey Demps, who suffered a very painful looking arm injury earlier.
6:12 – Great coverage by cornerback Joe Haden; he was, clearly, not fooled by Cincinnati's razzle dazzle and stayed with tight end Ben Guidugli all the way downfield.
6:16 – The Tebow Cam? Come on, FOX.
6:21 – At this point, the Bearcats might have to rely on the Gators shooting themselves in the foot with penalties; it's been the only thing stopping Florida so far.
6:26 – Brian Kelly or no Brian Kelly, it doesn't matter because nobody, under any circumstances, has a chance to win if Tim Tebow is perfect through the air.
END FIRST QUARTER. FLORIDA LEADS 9-0.
6:33 – Tebow is still perfect through a dozen passes and it's not like they've all been easy throws either; he is definitely playing like this is his last college football game.
6:34 – This writer doesn't believe in jinxes and is, in no way, superstitious, so don't think the previous entry had anything to do with the end of Tebow's streak.
6:41 – Sometimes life just isn't fair, like when Gator receiver Deonte Thompson makes a great stretching catch in the end zone and still manages to get a foot down; the coverage could not have been better, but Tebow put the ball right where it needed to be.
6:48 – Tony Pike's completion percentage is nowhere close to Tebow's, but his accuracy has been just as good; the problem is the Florida secondary keeps breaking up the passes.
6:52 – The Bearcat defense looks completely helpless against the Gator offense; this isn't a big surprise, but it was the job of the Cincinnati offense to put some points on the board to keep it a game. Clearly, that isn't happening.
7:02 – Bearcat running back Isaiah Pead has no right to be mouthing off to anyone right now; Isaiah, your team is down by twenty-three points! Put a serious dent in that scoreboard, and then start talking.
7:05 – That's a tough call on Florida linebacker Brandon Hicks; the refs called Cincinnati running back Jacob Ramsey down, even though he wasn't, and Hicks, realizing this, tried to truly end the play.
7:08 – That was a great kick by Jake Rogers, but it came under the wrong circumstances; the Bearcats need touchdowns to get back in this game and they have nothing to lose, so they should go for it when such opportunities come about.
7:11 – Right there is why Cincinnati needed a touchdown because Florida only needed one play to get one for themselves.
7:18 – With the game already well in hand, an interesting question arises: How long does Urban Meyer leave Tim Tebow in his final college football game?
HALFTIME. FLORIDA LEADS 30-3.
7:25 - What can one say? Florida has come to play and they are dominating Cincinnati in every aspect of the game. If the Bearcats were to come back against the Gators, it would undoubtedly rank as the greatest comeback in sports history...which is exactly why it won't happen.
7:49 – Unless, by some miracle, Cincinnati makes a game of this, expect there to be fewer entries from this writer in the second half; after all, each play carries far less significance in a twenty-seven point game.
7:55 – Okay, Urban Meyer's reasoning for leaving his players in—Cincinnati's offense—was somewhat justified, but now he has to take the foot off of the gas; there's no reason to embarrass the Bearcats further.
8:05 – Butch Jones, the incoming Cincinnati head coach, handled that interview very well; it's a unique situation in standing on the sidelines strictly as an observer, but he talked about the perspective it's providing him. Don't be surprised if the Bearcats remain relevant; they've had a good track record with hiring coaches away from Central Michigan.
8:08 – Well, that Cincinnati touchdown will probably keep Tebow in the game a little longer.
8:18 – That play should be a fitting end to Tebow's college career: A rushing touchdown. That's enough, Urban, start running the ball every down so it at least looks like you're trying not to run up the score.
8:28 – In hindsight, it was probably too much to expect another exciting game; between the wild contest involving Northwestern and Auburn, Bobby Bowden winning his final game, Joe Paterno and Penn State pulling out a thrilling win over LSU, and the Rose Bowl providing ample entertainment, us college football fans were spoiled today.
END THIRD QUARTER. FLORIDA LEADS 44-10.
8:34 – What a stop by the Cincinnati defense! The Gators will have to punt from their own end zone! This is the opening the Bearcats have been waiting for! Sigh, forgive this writer for trying to create some excitement.
8:41 – This writer would be remiss to not mention Cincinnati's star receiver and kick returner who has played a large role in the Bearcats' success this season, so he will right here: Mardy Gilyard.
8:45 – The celebration by Cincinnati receiver Armon Binns after making that touchdown reception was unwarranted, but it was great catch nonetheless.
8:52 – Another record for Tebow—most total yards in a BCS game—*yawn*.
8:56 – There's the fantastic Florida fifty, now how about the Gator ground game? There should not be another forward pass attempted by a player wearing an orange helmet for the rest of this contest.
9:01 – That's an easy facemask call on Gator cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis, but it's also a bit silly that the Bearcats are running razzle dazzle in this situation.
9:10 – They may only be garbage touchdowns, but at least they're better than just plain quitting; good for Cincinnati, who should keep competing because they are also auditioning for the next head coach.
9:14 – Remember this moment, College Football World; we'll probably never see another player like Tim Tebow.
9:19 – Well, that Gatorade bath was probably more stressful for Urban Meyer than anything that transpired in this game.
GAME OVER. FLORIDA WINS 51-24.
As deflating as tonight was for Cincinnati, there are plenty of FBS programs who would love to be in its position. The Bearcats, in recent years, have been competing for a title in a relatively weak conference and, thus, a spot in the BCS; sure, they only went there to get blown out this year, but how many college football players never even have an opportunity to play in a game this big? So, while it will be easy to remember this game as a complete mismatch, it is also justifiable to say that Cincinnati was a victim of intangibles that few teams could overcome.
Those intangibles were, by the way, Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow. The former, who might have or might not have been coaching his final game—let's face it, his signal have been more mixed than a margarita—finished, or didn't finish, his tenure at Florida with another dominant victory. Clearly, the Gators rallied around their outgoing, or not, head coach and sent him off, or not, in style. Speaking of going out in style (most definitely, in this case), Florida's longtime signal caller saved his best for last; Tebow went 31/35 for 482 yards, three touchdowns, and rushed for another score. How his pro career will play out is virtually unpredictable, but nothing he does at that level will do anything to diminish his career as a Gator; he was a great competitor, a true leader, a proven winner, and, most importantly, a fine young man.
Thank you, Tim Tebow.