Once again, we return to playing Devil's Advocate, taking a position opposite most of our readership. Previous entries have included Lane Kiffin (twice), Percy Harvin vs. Cornelius Ingram and a college football playoff.
Various reports have stated that Tim Tebow was still suffering headaches on Tuesday, three days after suffering a concussion against Kentucky. Using the "seven days of no symptoms" standard, Tebow could be cleared to play against LSU as early as next Wednesday. There is no guarantee that Tebow will continue improving, as physical exertion next week could bring back symptoms. Don't be fooled that Tebow is "ahead of schedule." Unless a Bull Gator has bought Florida a time machine, Tebow still has to wait at least seven days.
Since then, John Brantley has been watching game film and working as if he will start against LSU. While Tebow has to avoid exercising and reading, Brantley (who seems like a bright kid) has been studying LSU's defense. As of now, you can make the case that Brantley is better prepared for LSU than Tebow.
Rushing Tebow back, after missing about 10 days of preparation, could cause problems for Florida further down the road. LSU will rightly blitz the hell out of Florida, stack the box and make Tebow beat them with his arm. That means Tebow's reaction time and reads will be exposed, not to mention opening Steve Addazio to another asskicking. Since Tebow is a lunatic, he will probably break the pocket on the first play, which will open him up to new punishment. Athletically, Tebow needs to be held out because he doesn't have the preparation and his way to win (on will) means increasing the chances of another injury.
Medically, Tebow can be cleared by passing necessary tests and honestly self-reporting possible symptoms. But how will his body react to the adrenaline rush and force needed to play? Since Tebow does not have an illness, adrenaline will not decrease the possibility of symptoms, as Colt McCoy and Michael Jordan experienced with the flu. Tebow, probably for the first time in his life, is the question mark for his team. That's pretty hard for us to deal with.
If Brantley plays, LSU will still blitz and stack the box, but they won't be coming after a guy coming off a concussion. They will also be coming after a guy who has watched two weeks of game film and can make the throws Tebow can't make. Brantley cannot run the ball like Tebow, but how many option plays do you think Florida would run if Tebow was back? Brantley is not a bum either and he is going to have to play in these games eventually. Unless you're already writing off 2010 and don't care about Brantley having to face road environments at Tennessee and Bama.
Finally, because of Tebow's current condition, there is no difference between he and Brantley in terms of who is most qualified to play against LSU. Brantley lacks Tebow's experience and intensity, Tebow lacks Brantley's preparation and health. For that, Brantley needs to start against LSU, with Tebow in uniform but only appearing in a relief appearance.