Every athlete has something that drives him. Michael Jordan had his desire to prove he was the best. He was cut in high school, which drove him as a young man. In the NBA Finals, Jordan famously destroyed Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, who won MVPs over Jordan. Every athlete is competitive. But few showed contempt and hate and anger like Jordan would.
I mention this because Tim Tebow turned it on Saturday because of his love for his team and his hate for his opponents.
The Seminoles fired up Tebow before last year's game when linebacker Geno Hayes vowed to "take him down." This time, the FSU fans offered Tebow a little extra motivation.
They cheered wildly when Harvin, the team's leading receiver, left the game in the second quarter with a sprained right ankle. He limped off the field with the help of trainers and didn't return.
Tebow was incensed by the reaction.
"That kind of irritated me," Tebow said. "I told the coach to give me the ball because I really wanted to hit somebody."
Meyer obliged, and Tebow carried several defenders into the end zone from 4 yards out two plays after Harvin's injury.
For a kid like Tebow, this just turned his knob to 11. It's also another look into Tebow's psyche. This was Jordan sticking it to Malone in 1997. For the elite, one loss or one slight will ignite them. That is why Alabama should fear Tebow Saturday.
Forget his stats. An angry Tebow is the most destructive force in college football. Florida has played very well since the Ole Miss loss, but watch how Tebow carries himself. He is not looking to advance the ball, he is looking to score. He is not looking to win, he is looking to destroy you. Tebow is Paul Bunyan and Danny Wuerffel rolled into one man, but as he is beloved he is hated outside the confines of the Gator Nation. He has been called stupid, slow, and not a real quarterback. Tebow has heard these insults since he was in middle school. Tebow is one of the few people who can be attacked for charity work, too. We all assumed that he would just brush it off; the good Christian turning the other cheek. Not any more.
This is Tebow's personal destruction tour now. He will say how Alabama has a great defense and that they are a great opponent, all true. But he has hate in his heart. There is an Old Testament beat down on the other end of Tebow's fist for Alabama. In a game of equal teams, the team with the best player usually wins. Guess who has that.
Tim Tebow knows his Bible and he knows his Gator history. He knows Danny Wuerffel led the Gators to a 45-30 win over Alabama in the 1996 SEC Championship Game. He may even know Wuerffel threw for 401 yards and six touchdowns against the Tide's 6th ranked defense. Tebow will try to cement his legacy Saturday and he is bring his hate to do it.