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Why 2010 College Football Is Better Without Tim Tebow and 2009's Drama

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 01:  Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators reacts after a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bearcats during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Louisana Superdome on January 1, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Kevin TrahanAnalyst IAugust 17, 2010

This past spring, Florida head coach Urban Meyer summed up college football's past few years in about one minute. He did so better than any ESPN highlight reel ever will.

During the Gators' spring practice on March 24, Meyer "reprimanded" Orlando Sentinal reporter Jeremy Fowler for a quote most coaches would be delighted to hear-- how his wide receiver, Deonte Thompson, was excited about playing with new quarterback John Brantley.

Well, sort of.

The quote would have been fine, except for the fact that Thompson added that he is excited to play for a "real" quarterback, implying that former Florida star Tim Tebow wasn't.

At that point, Meyer blew up.

He told Fowler that if he said one more word on the subject, the Orlando Sentinal would lose its credentials, also adding "You're a bad guy, man. You're a bad guy."

I completely understand a coach backing up a player, but a Florida coach backing up a guy who is now in a Denver Broncos uniform is a bit much.

Meyer went as far to say "if it was my son, we'd be going at it right now."

And frankly, I'm surprised he didn't punch Fowler in the face. Meyer and the rest of the country that is.

Because for the last three years, Urban Meyer and the rest of the college football world have been in a love affair with Tim Tebow.

Was Tebow a great player? Yes. There's no arguing that. But his praise went beyond the box scores.

The constant media attention turned Tim Tebow into more than a college football player; it turned him into a celebrity.

And for three years college football seemed a lot more like Jersey Shore than a sport.

I'm probably being a bit hard on Tim Tebow. The media might be more to blame for his new celebrity stature, and the other "Big 3" quarterbacks, plus the Pete Carroll drama all caused college football's transformation to pop culture.

But now, with the "celebrities" gone, college football has a chance to find its identity again. It may take awhile for Meyer, among others, to move on from the past few years, but college football has changed for the better.

This year, there are no real superstars. Terrelle Pryor? Ehh. Adrian Clayborn? Defensive players not named Suh are rarely given there due. Mark Ingram? Not at Tebow status by any means.

It may sound boring, but college football is going back to the "team" concept. And with no superstars, the Heisman race may end up less like a popularity contest, and (gasp) more about the numbers and on-field performance.

Last year, an SEC team and Texas were predetermined to go the the national championship game. This year, many more teams have a shot at the title, including non-BCS teams such as Boise State and TCU.

Clearly, college football has turned a corner. Is it for the better? Unless you're Urban Meyer or a sports-turned-pop culture writer, then I would assume the answer is yes.

Because of the first time in three years, college football will be about what happens on the field on Saturday's, not about the game's pop culture side.

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