OK, everyone, take a deep breath. This might come as a bit of a shock.
Tim Tebow is not a savior.
Now before you go flooding my e-mail inbox with threats or tossing this copy of the Alligator in the nearest trash can, let me explain myself.
Tebow's good, he's very good - maybe even on the verge of being great.
It's just too bad that will not be enough for some of you.
Just in walking around campus, I hear the talk about Tebow. He's the golden boy. He's the chosen one. He can do no wrong. I?ve even heard a little Heisman talk surrounding him.
All this hype is coming from a sophomore who is not even the best quarterback in his own division.
Kentucky's Andre' Woodson threw 31 touchdowns last season, and he's in his third year as a starter with the Wildcats.
Kentucky has as much offensive talent as anyone outside of UF and LSU in the Southeastern Conference.
Plus, as much as Kentucky's program has struggled through the years, it's actually turned out decent quarterbacks. Jared Lorenzen has been good enough to hold a clipboard for the New York Giants the past couple years behind Eli Manning. And let's not forget Tim Couch, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Browns in 1999.
By if Tebow is outdueled by Woodson, and the Wildcats earn an upsent win, all the talk will be about how Tebow let his team down, not how Woodson led his team to victory.
While I list Tebow as the second-best quarterback in the SEC East behind Woodson, you could even make the argument that Tennessee's Erik Ainge is better. The media did, in the Preseason All-SEC Teams, putting Woodson on the first team and Ainge on the second.
Ainge is a senior and has started the majority of the Volunteers' games since his freshman year. He knows what to expect from a full SEC schedule, and Tebow doesn?t - not yet at least.
Tebow may end up with better career numbers than Ainge and Woodson, and almost certainly more career wins, but you still must give the edge to seniority at this point.
This isn't to say your loveable and rosy-cheeked quarterback won't make spectacular plays this season. He will. There's too much talent around him not to do so. Just don?t go bad-mouthing Tebow when he - GASP - throws more than one interception in a game. Or when he - GASP - fumbles on a key drive. Or when he -GASP - a misses an open receiver.
He's a first-year starting quarterback, and last I checked, that doesn't always guarantee immediate success. Just deal with the fact that as talented as Tebow is, he's going to have his fair share of mistakes this season. But that's OK, because no one works harder than Tebow.
Almost every team says it has hard workers, but not every team has players who call their quarterback "crazy," a term many UF players have used to describe Tebow?s work ethic.
So, Gators fans, if you see Tebow make some mistakes here and there, don't fret. He can still be your golden boy. Just give him a year. With the speed and talent around him in combination with his work ethic, Tebow will actually be deserving of this praise you?re giving him.
Oh, and if you need further convincing just remember the last time UF fans did this. Chris Leak strolled on to campus and everyone thought he'd take this program to new heights. Initially, Leak didn?t live up to the hype and was criticized.
Now you could call it a hunch, but I think that shiny ring he has on his finger made up for anything he did before.