Tim Tebow feels a little heat from a fellow team leader, and the result is a dominating win over Georgia.There were Tim Tebow and Brandon Spikes, two players who have meant more to Florida football than anyone over the last four years, in a heated exchange at a crossroads moment.
The team's two stars in a verbal fight — no one is revealing exactly what was said — then spinning their fury on teammates.
This is your resolution: Florida 41, Georgia 17.
"We came together, me and him," Spikes said. "Got the team together and we kind of got things right."
Did they ever.
If Florida finds a way back to the national championship game, if the team that has somehow made ugly look pretty all these weeks, turns it on again and wins its third national championship in four years, it can point to yet another Mississippi Moment.
Last year, it was The Promise from Tebow after the loss to Mississippi. Last week, it was the Starkville Statement.
"Things weren't getting done the way we expected," Spikes said. "We may have stepped on a few toes."
So while Georgia tried to motivate by prancing around in fancy new black pants and helmets, Florida held a passionate team meeting the night before in the team hotel, where coach Urban Meyer's fiery, R-rated speech was like throwing napalm on a grease fire.
Tebow, 2008: "You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season."
Spikes, 2009: "What's your value to the team?"
With that backdrop of emotion and motivation as fuel, the top-ranked Gators went out and played their best game of the season. The team that was in a funk for half the season, that was ranked No. 1 but wasn't playing like No. 1, reasserted itself on two significant levels: as the leader in the SEC, and as the leader in the race for the national title.
And guess who's back in the Heisman Trophy hunt.
After throwing two interceptions for touchdowns against Mississippi State, Tebow threw two touchdowns passes and ran for two more and grabbed a suddenly shaky season by the throat and squeezed life into it. Spikes, for his part, returned one of four Florida interceptions for a touchdown.
"Brandon is an emotional guy," Tebow said. "I think he has been frustrated because of his injuries."
And because of the way the Gators have played this fall. That all changed against Georgia.
From Riley Cooper's one-handed touchdown catch, to Caleb Sturgis' 56-yard field goal to a plus-four turnover ratio, the Gators are beginning to find their groove. It helped that Georgia, in the middle of its worst season under coach Mark Richt, was playing the role of punching bag.
After 17 losses in the last 20 games in this bitter rivalry, Georgia has been reduced to jabbering and jawing, and surprising jersey color combinations. Schemes and fundamentals win games; wearing black pants and black helmets for the first time in school history lasts for the 30 seconds it takes to run out of the tunnel.
Earlier in the week, Meyer had Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan talk to the team about the pressures of repeating. The basketball Gators won back-to-back championships earlier this decade, and Donovan's message was simple: stick together.
Late in the fourth quarter, while Georgia players took out frustrations by starting a scrum, Tebow was on the sidelines with Meyer, smiling and hugging and celebrating another victory in the Cocktail Party.
"It's a very emotional locker room in there," Meyer said moments later as he stepped to the podium. "This was one of the best team wins we've had at Florida."
A stark contrast to the end of the Mississippi State game a week ago, when a clearly frustrated Tebow was inconsolable — only minutes before the moment overwhelmed he and Spikes.
And we all saw what happened the last time this team was staring at the brink.
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick he wishes he was spoken to in private prior to the insults.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
Saban hurt by colleagues' comments?
DPS: Alabama head coach Nick Saban was recently trash-talked by colleagues, and he tells Dan Patrick what he think of these comments.
BCS title game
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