While you were celebrating Tim Tebow surviving Baton Rouge and toasting the group of badasses on Florida's defense, Alabama was sliding into the AP's second spot after an efficient beatdown of the Ole Miss Frauds. With five SEC games left for each team, the Gators and Alabama will be favored by at least a touchdown until December. Each team has games against their blood rivals remaining, but the fates seem to aim for Alabama-Florida in the SEC Championship Game.
The Gators and Tide are making their living with dominating defense, as they are 1 and 2 in SEC scoring and total defense. Bama does not have the highlighted names Florida has on defense, but their five turnovers and harassment of Jevon Snead Saturday was a masterpiece. Bama is +9 turnover margin, a number helped from the Ole Miss game but a credit to Greg McElroy, who has only 1 pick in 153 attempts. Bama is leaning on their running game, but Julio Jones provides an outlet at receiver that Florida doesn't have; a fast guy the quarterback can trust.
Florida's elephant in the room this season has been the play of Tim Tebow. Not just because he was concussed, but because Steve Addazio's offense is a Saturn Vue when we expect an Abrams Tank. Like Bama, the running game has picked up the slack, with Florida getting 6.4 ypc and about 285 ypg. Meanwhile, Tebow is not the same quarterback. A look at ESPN's projections are glaring, with Tebow's production dropping by about a third this season. You can rip his fluttering duck of a ball and bad mechanics, but Tebow is still around 65% completions. It comes down to play calling, not personnel. Florida has guys like Aaron Hernandez, Riley Cooper and running backs who can catch the ball. It is up to Addazio to put them in positions and Addazio is not doing that.
That's not to say Florida has stuff to worry about and Bama has none. Florida has games remaining against South Carolina, Georgia and FSU, and only the Gamecocks have a defense to worry about. Bama gets South Carolina this weekend, Tennessee, LSU and at Auburn. McElroy has not played in a rough environment and won't until Auburn. How will he react under the psychological pressure Tebow can fight off? At this point each team only has a few speed bumps.