The 2009 SEC Championship game is the most evenly matched game that has ever been played.
Number one versus number two.
Alabama, the storied football powerhouse of your grandfather's era, versus the newfangled conniption-inducing powerhouse that is the Florida Gators.
An Alabama win and a subsequent National Championship for the Tide conjures up grainy film images of Bear Bryant being hoisted triumphantly on the shoulders of his squad after another milestone victory during a celebrated career.
Bryant’s championship teams were tough. The players under Bryant were always grimy, filthy, hard-nosed guys who looked like they should have been wearing leather helmets.
Urban Meyer’s Florida team looks like computer generated avatar killers, heroes of a new millennium.
Alabama is analog. Florida is digital.
The Alabama generation was Chrysler, Ford, Chevy.
Budweiser, Miller, Pabst.
Florida is Lamborghini, Mercedes, Aston Martin.
Sam Adams, Budweiser Select, Guinness.
Alabama won during the napalm age and Vietnam with a running attack.
Florida is winning during the age of laser-guided smart bombs, and Iraq with a cyber attack.
Bama is a typewriter.
Florida is a text message.
Alabama is a phone booth. Florida an iPhone.
Alabama created their championship tradition in the days of “You Are.” Florida is creating their championship tradition in the days of “U R”.
And yet, the two teams are remarkably similar. Great coaching, players, facilities. Winning traditions.
Who has the better defense? Flip a coin.
Who plays better special teams? Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Who has the better fans? Too close to call.
Who has the better coaching? Lane Kiffin says Alabama. History says Florida.
Urban Meyer has never lost to Nick Saban or Alabama. Nick Saban has never beaten an Urban Meyer-coached team.
Granted, this is an unfair comparison as there aren’t enough head to head statistics to make a reasonable correlation. Lets agree that the coaching is very close, too close to significantly decide who will win.
Can we also agree, that really, this game is too close to call on all the significant categories: offense, defense, special teams, coaching, home field advantage.
So who will win?
Whatever team starts Tim Tebow at quarterback.
Tim Tebow is the difference maker, and he alone is worth six points more than Alabama. Tebow is THE intangible. How can anyone doubt that Tim Tebow will carry this team on his back, and will them to victory?
Clichés aren’t cliché enough for Tim Tebow. He exceeds them.
The man simply will not be denied.
His team rallies around him unlike any other player at any other time…and in the end of this bitter, tense and wonderful contest, Florida and Tim Tebow will be all smiles.
The Florida victory celebration in Gainesville and Atlanta will be thumping to the sounds of MP3’s. Alabama fans in Birmingham will be drowning their sorrows to the subdued sounds of 8 tracks.
Florida by three.