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Devil's Advocate: Don't Build Statues For Florida's Heisman Winners

We return to playing Devil's Advocate by taking a position opposite most of our readership. Previous entries have included taking Florida-Georgia out of JacksonvilleJohn Brantley starting against LSU (we were wrong), Lane Kiffin would be bad for Florida (we were really wrong), Cornelius Ingram will be a better pro than Percy Harvin (Harvin won the NFC Rookie of The Year; who knows what happens to CI), and a college football playoff.

The news that Florida is considering statues to honor their three Heisman winners was followed by a story in Thursday's Gainesville Sun about the possibility that it is too soon to build statues for Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow. The argument for the statues is that other programs have honored their stars in similar ways, from Alabama's National Championship coaches to Oklahoma's Heisman winners. Florida is just as good as those programs, so why not add our most successful players to the bronze alligators that guard the stadium?

I think it is too soon for Spurrier and Tebow statues. Spurrier, for those that do not realize this, IS THE COACH OF A DIVISION RIVAL. Yes, I know he is the greatest player pre-1990s, and he built UF in the 1960s and '90s. But he is still around. And still in the league. It would be like if Derek Jeter retired and the Yankees built him a monument while he was managing the Rays. Spurrier does not get a statue until he retires for good. Besides, he is already honored twice inside the stadium (Ring of Honor, Heisman winners). He can wait.

Tebow is a little bit different as he already has the Promise Plaque. We also don't know how he will turn out post-college career. Unlike Spurrier's offensive genius and Wuerffel's community work, Tebow lacks a post-college resume as strong. Maybe he will do better than both and maybe he did that on the field too. But as long as there is doubt, there should be no rush to make a life sized Starting Lineup figure of him running the ball. I don't see Tebow being particularly controversial, unless he goes from conservative Bible-thumper to conservative raging lunatic.

The statues idea is a cute one, but if Florida really wants to build statues, they should honor champions. Instead of three statues for Spurrier, Wuerffel and Tebow, you build five statues honoring the basketball and football championships. At the main public entrance to the O'Connell Center, have a statue depicting this picture; the starting five of Florida's back-to-back National Champions. While they are at it, include a statue of Dr. Robert Cade inventing Gatorade at the corner of Stadium Rd. and North-South Dr., instead of the current UF historical marker.

On the stadium side of North-South (Lemerand Dr. to the youngsters), build three statues of the football championships. If the UAA is so set on having Spurrier, have him and Wuerffel celebrating the 1996 title. The 2006 statue would be Earl Everett chasing down Troy Smith. For 2008, Tebow throwing the jump pass to David Nelson.

Winning a Heisman is not as important as winning a National Championship or inventing Gatorade.The players will come and go, but those titles are eternal and represent the entire university, not one season by one player. I understand that the player's entire career would be recognized, but he got the statue for having won an individual trophy. Can you really make the claim that Percy Harvin or Joe Haden is a lesser of a player because they did not win a Heisman? So why should a Heisman be the factor that determines who gets a statue? It also reinforces the belief that football gets all the respect and basketball has to bend over backwards for it (as if the skybox tower at Ben Hill Griffin and moldy plastic benches at the O'Connell Center didn't make that obvious). Green, Humphrey, Brewer, Horford and Noah have as many rings as Urban Meyer, Harvin and Tebow. The Oh Fours and Hump should get something nice too.

Of course, if they end up building statues for Spurrier, Wuerffel and Tebow, everyone will love them. I would rather have Gator athletes wanting to win a National Championship to get a statue, not winning an individual award.