The Gators had to play without Harvin, who didn’t even suit up after spraining his right ankle the previous week in a win over Florida State. He walked on the field stiff-legged — clearly, it wasn’t even a close call whether or not he would play — and watched the game from the sideline wearing his No. 1 jersey.
During the regular season, Harvin was the team’s top receiver with 35 catches for 595 yards and seven touchdowns. He also was second on the team in rushing with 543 yards, scoring nine TDs on the ground.
But Florida still had Tebow. That was the difference.
Meyer, not surprisingly, gave his endorsement for another Heisman.
“I think he’s the best college football player in America,” the coach said.
The Alabama-Florida matchup was a mainstay of the SEC championship in its early years. The teams met in the first three title games and four of the first five, beginning with the historic 1992 game in which the Crimson Tide won on a late interception return by Antonio Langham.
Alabama went on to rout Miami in the Sugar Bowl, winning its sixth national title. They’ll have to wait another year for a shot at No. 7.
The first 1-2 matchup in the 17-year history of the SEC championship drew a record crowd of 75,892 to the Georgia Dome. The fans were essentially split down the middle — crimson and white on one side, blue and orange on the other.
The Gators marched right down the field on their first possession, looking as unstoppable as they did in most games this season. Tebow handled most of the load, completing three passes for 26 yards and running four times for 19 more.
But Alabama wasn’t going to go down as meekly as most of Florida’s opponents. Glen Coffee ran for 112 yards and a touchdown. Julio Jones hauled in five passes for 124 yards. The Tide defense delivered numerous crushing blows, hoping to rattle the Gators.
Tebow wouldn’t let them bite.
“We kind of ran out of gas a little bit in the fourth quarter,” Saban said. “We didn’t finish, and they did.”
CFT: Former Penn State signalcaller Steven Bench joined the South Florida Bulls, he announced on Twitter.
CFT: The University of Nevada is honoring longtime coach Chris Ault, who stepped down in the fall, by renaming the school's football field after him.
Gators roll in SEC title game
Dec. 7: Urban Meyer said it was a dog fight and he loves his players. 'Bama coach Nick Saban takes responsibility for loss.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
HBO Real Sports: Bill O'Brien
Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
BCS title game
Pregame color, key plays and other moments from 'Bama's blowout win.
Check out the action from the postseason.
Check out which players were best of the best at each position.
Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Take a look at Florida's star quarterback on and off the field.