This year college football was poised to be Tim Tebow’s swan song.
The senior Florida quarterback was supposed to lead his team to a second straight BCS title, perhaps win a second Heisman trophy and thus ride off into the Florida sunset.
And with that, Tebow would be crowned one of the greatest quarterbacks in collegiate history. Certainly, at the very least, he would be crowned the greatest of his era.
But as the New Year looms, it is not Tebow who is in position to earn this moniker.
Instead, it’s Colt McCoy who has a chance at history.
While Tebow has garnered more media attention over his career, McCoy has quietly pieced together one of the greatest careers for a collegiate quarterback we’ve ever seen.
The one thing that’s missing, of course, is a national title. And on Jan. 7 in Pasadena, CA, McCoy will get his chance to fill that void.
Meanwhile, Tebow will be facing mighty Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. Even the most die-hard Gator fan has to admit it’s a bit of a letdown for Tebow’s finale.
with a win against Alabama, McCoy may just prove to be the one getting thrown around in conversation with names like Jim Plunkett, Sammy Baugh, and Vince Young.
Is it possible that McCoy, not Tebow, really has been the best quarterback of his era all this time? Simply put: yes.
Considering how Tebow’s career has been built up, you would assume his statistics are far and away better than McCoy’s, right?
But they aren’t. For his career, McCoy has thrown for over 4,000 yards more than Tebow.
I know, I know, McCoy throws the ball a lot more than Tebow.
But Tebow, widely considered one of the greatest running quarterbacks in collegiate history, has just over a 1,000 more rushing yards in his career than McCoy.
Tebow’s 141 total touchdowns is only nine more than McCoy’s 132.
In addition, McCoy has the highest career completion percentage ever at 70.9 percent (Tebow’s is 65.8).
Perhaps more important than statistics though, is the fact that McCoy is the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, with 44 wins in four years as starter in Austin.
Tebow, who did not start as a freshman, has racked up 34 wins.
The one place Tebow has a clear advantage is in the dreaded Heisman voting9. Tebow won the award as a sophomore, while McCoy has lost out as a finalist the past two seasons.
But in both of those votes, McCoy finished ahead of Tebow in the voting. And, if not for a fine-print tiebreaker that handed Oklahoma a BCS title berth in 2008, McCoy very likely would have (and should have) won the award that season rather than the Sooners Sam Bradford.
McCoy has no shortage of hardware to boast, though. The senior has won over 20 major college football awards in his career, including the Sporting News’ National Freshman of the Year in 2006 and the Walter Camp Award for the best collegiate player in the country in both 2008 and 2009.
McCoy also won the Maxwell award this season, another award honoring the nation’s top player.
Hey, they’re not the Heisman, but the Walter Camp and Maxwell awards mean something, don’t they?
The one, glaring separation between the two players is that Tebow has been a part of two national title teams, while McCoy has yet to win a BCS championship.
But let’s not forget that Chris Leak, and not Tim Tebow, was the starter when the Gators won the title in 2006. It’s not like the freshman led his team to a title or anything.
And let’s also not forget that McCoy was denied his opportunity to face Tebow head-to-head a year ago in that tie-breaker fiasco.
Could Texas have denied Tebow his only national title as a starter? Hey, they did beat Oklahoma by just as much as Florida did in the BCS championship.
I’m just saying.
And now, Colt McCoy finds himself 60 minutes from leading Texas to that elusive championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
Tebow’s Gators will have to take solace in a Sugar Bowl appearance against Cincinnati after falling to Alabama 32-13 in the SEC title game .
So now, if McCoy defeats that same Alabama team to claim his national title, how will history look upon these two quarterbacks?
In my (humble, though probably correct) opinion, I believe that with a win in Pasadena, McCoy will take his rightful place as the best quarterback of his era.
He’ll have the stats, the awards, the wins, and the intangibles and he’ll also have a BCS title to his name.
There will be nothing Tebow has that McCoy doesn’t.
But there will be something McCoy has that Tebow does not: that picture-perfect ride into the sunset.