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FINAL: Get ready, South Beach. The Gators are coming.

ATLANTA -- It's a final. Florida defeated Alabama 31-20 on Saturday at the Georgia Dome in the Southeastern Conference championship game. The victory likely secured the Gators' spot in the BCS title game at Dolphin Stadium on Jan.8.

UF 31, UA 20
Who says these Gators don't know how to win the fourth quarter? UF quarterback Tim Tebow made his case for the Heisman Trophy on the Gators second touchdown drive of the fourth quarter here at the Georgia Dome.

UF went 65 yards to take a 31-20 lead. Receiver Riley Cooper, Tebow's roommate, caught the score to put UF ahead by 11. After all this -- this incredible game -- it appeas that the Gators might actually cover the spread (10 points).

Tebow was beside himself after the touchdown throw. He ran to the student section and celebrated wildly then ran to his team and hugged injured receiver Percy Havin and shouted in Harvin's ear.

UF 24, UA 20
Tim Tebow and the Gators responded in a big way to Alabama's impressive third quarter. Tebow led the Gators 63 yards to retake the lead with 9:21 left in the game. Tebow optioned to Jeff Demps for the one-yard score to give UF a 24-20 lead. David Nelson had a key 32-yard reception on the drive and the inside pitch to tight end Aaron Hernandez on third-and-5 from the UA 9 was a great call by the Gators.

UA 20, UF 17
--After an impressive offensive drive from Alabama, the Tide settled for a 27-yard field goal by Leigh Tiffin with 13 seconds left in the third quarter. UA receiver Julio Jones continues to contribute. He had a 22-yard reception on this drive to put Bama in field goal range. UA's offensive line is dominating.

Momentum is favoring the Tide after UF kicker Jonathan Phillips missed a 47-yard field goal attempt with 3:48 left in the third quarter. Phillips, who entered the game perfect on the year, pushed the kick wide right. A side note here, Phillips hasn't kicked a game winner since his sophomore year of high school.

Florida's drive stalled after a series of poor offensive plays. UF went to Demps one too many times and Tebow threw a pair of incompletions. The Gators are missing Percy Harvin right about now. Bama taking over at its own 25 with 3:48 left in the third quarter.

UA 17, UF 17
Alabama freshman receiver Julio Jones has four receptions for 104 yards. Three of those four catches came on Alabama's first scoring drive of the third quarter. Alabama tied the score at 17-all with 6:20 left in the third quarter when Mark Ingram rushed for a two-yard score.

Alabama converted twice on third down during the drive and moved the ball 92 yards for the score. Jones had receptions 18, 6 and 14 yards. Bama's offensive line dominated the Gators' front four during the drive. UA running backs Glen Coffee and Mark Ingram are pounding the Gators linebackers thanks to huge holes in the offensive line produced by center Antoine Caldwell.

UF 17, UA 10
Welcome to the big time, David Nelson. The reserve receiver gave UF a 17-7 lead with 2:59 left in the first half with a five-yard touchdown pass from Tebow. Tebow has two touchdown passes this half. On this drive, Tebow converted a key third-and-long with a QB keeper near midfield. Tebow barrelled headlong into two Alabama defenders to make the first down. Later, Tebow delivered a strike to tight end Aaron Hernandez to the UA 4.

INJURY UPDATE: UF left guard Carl Johnson has a sprained knee. UF cornerback Joe Haden has returned from a sprained ankle.

Some halftime stats: Tebow has completed 8 of 13 passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He has also rushed for 48 yards on 11 carries. Alabama's Glen Coffee has rushed for 62 yards on 10 carries.

FIRST-HALF THOUGHTS: Florida needed to remember how to play a close football game again. Alabama was a pretty good teacher. UA took a 10-7 lead but Florida scored on its final two possessions of the half to lead by 10 at the half.

--UF held Alabama to three-and-out on the Crimson Tide's second offensive possession of the second quarter but it came at a price. UF sophomore cornerback Joe Haden appeared to injury his knee during punt-return coverage. The entire defense crowded around Haden. This could be the return of Wondy Pierre-Louis.

UF 10, UA 10
--A 51-yard catch from Tim Tebow to receiver Riley Cooper led to a 24-yard field goal for the Gators with 8:59 left in the first half. It was a beautifully timed pass from Tebow. It gave the Gators first-and-goal from the UA 4 but Florida played it conservatively and settled for Tebow runs and a field goal.

UF is trailing for the second time this season here at the Georgia Dome. Alabama is leading 10-7 at the end of the first quarter and driving. Entering this game, UF trailed for 15:38 this season. The biggest deficit Florida has faced this year is seven points.

UA 10, UF 7
So much for UF's streak of first-quarter dominance. Alabama is the team surging here at the Georgia Dome in the first quarter. The Tide just took a 10-7 lead on a 30-yard Leigh Tiffin field goal. Bama started its drive on the UF 25 and UF's defense did a solid job of holding Alabama to only a field goal (3:28 in first quarter). DT Lawrence Marsh and CB Janoris Jenkins made impressive stops.

UA 7, UF 7
Joe Haden meet Julio Jones. Haden, UF's best cornerback, was abused by Jones, UA's freshman receiver for a 54-yard play moments after UF took a 7-0 lead. On the next play, UA running back Glen Coffee rushed for an 18-yard touchdown. Get ready for a great game, folks. UF 7, UA 7.

UF 7, UA 0
OK, be honest...who had UF receiver Carl Moore in the first-touchdown pool? Moore caught a three-yard touchdown pass from UF Tim Tebow to take a 7-0 lead with 8:17 to play. UF's defense held the Crimson Tide to three rushing plays and a punt to begin the game.

What a catch for Moore, who transferred from a northern California junior college over the offseason. Biggest catch of that guy's career. He went down low to make the grab, displaying excellent hands and athleticism. Runs by Tebow and Demps highlighted the drive. The Gators are looking good.

PREGAME BELOW
Teams taking the field here at the Georgia Dome. This place has never been so loud. Alabama appear to outnumber Florida fans but not by much. Brandon Spikes was a pregame captain for the coin toss and soaked in the atmosphere, waving his arms and looking upward at the expansive crowd.

--Florida's Percy Harvin is a no go today, according to the university. He was seen in sweat pants before the game.

Gator Clause is in the Hyatt in downtown Atlanta and currently watching a Christmas parade go by on Peachtree Ave. There are dogs and storm troopers. Interesting.

ANYWAY, game day is here, finally. Fans are already screaming at each other here in downtown Atlanta. What a great week it was leading up to today's big game between No.2 Florida (11-1) vs. No. 1 Alabama (12-0) in the Southeastern Conference championship.

We've written about the contrasting offensive styles of Florida and Alabama, the legacy of Tim Tebow and the softer side of Urban Meyer and how the depth of his personality has contributed to his success. We've also discussed Alabama coach Nick Saban and his remarkable turnaround of the Crimson Tide (and why he couldn't do the same thing for the Dolphins).

Today in the Miami Herald, our preview story touched on how Tebow actually fell in love with Alabama football his senior year at Ponte Vedra Beach Nease and almost committed to coach Mike Shula because of it.

On the blog, we've broken down the head-to-head match-ups that could mean the difference between winning and losing. We've also conducted an interview with college football legend Lou Holtz. If that wasn't enough perspective, we even interviewed a beat writer who covers Alabama for his perspective on the game. We swapped questions and Gator Clause managed to ENRAGE A BUNCH OF BAMA fans over on his blog ... very fun stuff.

I'm off to eat some breakfast, if you're at work or hanging out on the computer during the game, make sure to join us during today's game, which kicks off at 4 p.m. We'll be blogging live.

I'll leave you guys the highlight of Friday's press conference with Meyer and Saban. When asked if he marveled at Alabama's offense, Meyer said, "I don't marvel a lot."

-jo-

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"That's what we pride ourselves in, having the toughness to do that. I think our line has a great ability to set the tempo for the game. It's our responsibility to play that way. That's been our style of play now for a long time here. We're a very physical front and it shows that way on tape. That's a point of emphasis." -UF O-line coach Steve Addazio speaking about being called a finesse team.

What's this? The Gators are fired up because they're being la1beled a "finesse team?" They say they are motivated by that? Uh-oh! History has shown that it's not good for the other team when this team has motivation.

Robbie Andreu doing an excellent job of firing this Gator up!
http://www.gatorsports.com/article/20081205/NEWS/812050260/1090?Title=Power_vs__finesse__Gators_don_t_think_so

Wow Goody ! You sure know how to piss off those Bammy fans. Outstanding work sir.

+1

This is gonna be a massacre! We have the advantage in every phase of the game today. Let's check the intangibles shall we:

Coaching advantage- Alabama
C.U.M. (Coach Urban Meyer) has done well for himself with Zook's players but there is no way, i repeat NO WAY you can compare him to Saban.

Talent advantage- Alabama.
You guys have Tebow but after that, who else? Not to mention the fact that you haven't faced a team this big and physical since your days of being UM and FSU's doormat.

Tradition- Forget about it. It took UF over a hundred years to win 2 titles, therefore none of you current Gayturd fans will live to see them win 2 more lol! It's funny how you guys trust to walk with your chest out after finally stepping from behind Miami and Fsu's shadow, like you own college football. Hope you Gayturds are wearing your JORTS in the ATL cause you're gonna need 'em during the HIGH TIDE! ROLL TIDE ROLL!!!

Bama is gonna beat you so bad you gonna wish were in that pathetic confrence with the other 2 worthless Florida schools. Uh Oh, here comes a UF player!!..Better hide my LAPTOP!!!LOL

ADAM S

"EMOTOINS ARE A FEMALE TRAIT."

I DONT HAVE TO ASK ANY COACHES ARE PLAYERS, ALL I HAVE TO DO IS ASK MY 19 YEAR OLD SON WHOM I JUST CAME BACK FROM PICKING UP FROM PARIS ISLAND IN BEUFORD SOUTH CAROLINA, WHICH MEANS MY BABY BOY IS NOW A U.S. MARINE. SPEAKING OF THAT SHOUT OUTS TO THE ALPHA PLATOON THAT JUST GRADUATED THIS PAST THURSDAY. I CAN NEVER BE BENEATH U, IM 34 WITH A BEUTIFUL WIFE AND TWO GOOD LOOKING CITIZENS FOR SONS. SO JUST KNOW THAT U KNOW NOTHING OF FOOTBALL, AND OH YEAH U CAN BE DONE WITH ME BUT IM GOING STILL WRITE WHAT I FEEL SO JUST READ IT AND STFU AND DONT REPLY.

Can't stand Satan but I love his pro style O! Big backs, big receivers, and big line!

Great game!

I can't stand satan but I love his pro style O! Big backs, big receivers and a big line!

Great game!

12 titles to your 2,

Where are you now? Bama is going to the Sugar Bowl and the Gators are going to the BCS Championship Game. The Wright Bros. were great many moons ago and so was Bama. This is Gator Time, moron.

12 titles to your 2,

"This is gonna be a massacre! We have the advantage in every phase of the game today. Let's check the intangibles shall we:"

Idiot, all of Zook's players are gone except for a few (redshirt seniors) and if you know anything about Florida the majority of the players are Juniors, Sophomores and Juniors (All Meyer's).

Meyer's overall record is better than Saban's. Head to head, Meyer 1 Saban 0.

Florida has more overall talent than Alabama. Cody was not a factor during the game. Did you see what Spikes did to your All-America offensive lineman?

Tradition does not win football games.

This is what really counts Florida 31 - Alabama 20.

Massacre? LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL. By the way, you know where you can stick your intangibles… up your a…

HERE WE GO BOYS...CHAMPIONSHIP TIME IN MIAMI...ANOTHER DOMINATING PERFORMANCE BY FLORIDA ON THE WAY TO THEIR SECOND NATIONAL CHAMPINSHIP IN TWO YEARS! GO GATORS! F THE HATERS!

5RINGZ, best wishes to your son. If he is in our military fighting for our country he has every bit of my respect. That being said, F U for your "STFU" to me.

Hey um fans,

Florida will be playing for a National Championship in January. Why are you hiding now? Could it be that you have no factual comments to make about the Gators’ talented team? Remember, Gators without Harvin still meant a 31-20 victory over former #1 Alabama.

'Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Tim Tebow laughs at Superman for having a weakness.'

You Gay Terds got 2 National Title's 3 more to even catch MIAMI'S 5

Ohio State has 7 National Titles. I think Notre Dame as about 487 NC's. 2007...we deserved to be there...2008...not at all.

Steven...way to go on the Chuck Norris line.

UFGator72...arrogance only goes so far. For Ohio State and us fans, we learned our lesson thrice. I'd advise Florida to watch out for Oklahoma. They're just as dangerous on both sides of the ball, if not more so on offense. I don't think outscoring will be an option.


Any take on the Ball St. game last night?? What a disaster!

Just got back from the local watering hole so I'm a little late (and buzzing) with my comments. I'm a U fan, and I wasn't a believer in Florida until they beat Fla ST. and Bama. Well, Florida beat them both so I just want to give them props! They looked better than I though they would and I do think they will beat OU. OU has a great O but a great D always beat a great O. I enjoy debating with you all
(especially Adam S.), but Florida has proven that they are a great team that is going to win the NC. From a big U fan, good luck in Miami!

Can someone please translate what 5 Rings is saying. I'm sure he has points but I don't understand what he is saying.

Don't care for U Turds but hate the Tide even more. Congrats on your victory and rep the state of Fla to the fullest! Do yo thang GAYTORS. THE NOTORIOUS N.I.P. AIN'T A HATER, I'M A CONGRATULATOR!

Mad respect for Canester-Nip and GatorAid. Love debating with you GA...you bring it every time...and it is nice to see respect where it is deserved.

Don't forget, OU has a great O but look what they're competing against. Aside from having a top defense in the nation, we also the best special teams and, oh yeah, Percy Harvin (healthy in 2 weeks) and Tim Tebow.

Drew, common man. We are not choke artists like OSU...not to mention the fact that the Big 10 was always overrated so people thought they were better than they actually were.

And, Cooperstown, you're just pathetic.

Man that was just beautiful. Florida DOMINATED the trenches in the fourth quarter. Bama was getting no push on either side of the ball as they were toast. The Pounceys were shoving Cody around. He was rendered useless. When JPW started running for his life on every play, we all knew it was over. Huge props to UF's D for being just flat out tougher in the end.

UF was more physical than the most physical team in the country. Finesse my ASS !

Beautiful win Florida ! You won't stop this freight train OU. Tim will LIFT THE TROPHY

Jo,
What's up with the box scores in the paper? Was that an inside joke that had Markus Manson, Jared Fayson, a Caldwell, Bryan Waggoner and Cornelius Ingram in the box score?

Adam,

The spread was exactly what I thought... I had Florida scoring 5 times and Alabama scoring 4 times... with Florida winning by 11 (35-24).

Couple of things decided the game which did not surprise.

1. John Parker Wilson is not a good QB. He was never good or consistent throughout his entire college career. They talk about 'Bama's offense being "methodical"... but the Tide ALWAYS has good skill people. All they needed was a QB to deliver the ball properly and not get scared every time there is a pass play.

2. The 'Bama secondary was not horrible... but they do not have the cover guys necessary to play shut down pass defense. The 1992, 1996 and 2005 teams had much better secondaries and they needed those kinds of cover people in this SEC title game.

Overall, good and competitive game and Tebow showed he is tough once again. I like when QB's play a tough game without fumbling or throwing interceptions...

Tebow played like a stud... Wilson like a dud.

MiamiGator, did it really? That's so funny. I don't get the paper, so last century!

1. You are right about JPW. Julio Jones is responsible for all of his success this year. That and, the guy has some balls, stepping into a few hits from our guys just to get throws off.

2. Agreed again...but their secondary was 10x better than what we'll se vs. OU.

Not sure why your post was direct to me...but I like it! Go Gators.

So......

How do you all think Florida and OU match up?

I don't think OU has the D to stop Florida but I do think Florida will slow down OU. It reminds me of last years SB, the Giants won it with ball control scoring and D.


QB - Tie goes to UF/Tebow for mobility
RB/WR - Split between UF and OU...could make cases for both at both positions...different offenses.
TE - Oklahoma
OL - Push
DL - Florida
DB - Florida
LB - Florida
S - Florida
ST - Florida

Yeah, I know I'm one of the few people that actually gets the paper, I read almost the whole thing, so I could not imagine sitting in front a computer and reading the whole Sunday paper.
I noticed another interesting thing with the box scores related to Tebow. I have observed this all season. Tebow's name is always mentioned first in the scoring summary for passing touchdowns, in contrast the quarterbacks for other schools are always mentioned after the receiver. Example: USC-Williams 12 yard pass from Sanchez, UF-Tebow 5 yard pass to Cooper.
Hmmm...very interesting...can you say propaganda

GO OWLS!!!!!

Hey Man,

sent the last text to you because you seem to understand football.. putting all biases asisde. just to break down a game properly.

I'm a Tide fan but knew they would need Wilson to make some plays and the secondary to cover extremely well. Those two things did not happen and the result was expected.

I am looking forward to a different Alabama QB next year.

Oh OK cool Eugene.

GATOR FANS LISTEN UP:

Bowls come out officially at 8 p.m. but I have already figured out the Gators are in the game!

Below is the link to the official BCS merchandise shop. It shows Va Tech vs. Penn State for the Orange Bowl and Florida vs. Oklahoma for the national title game:

http://fedexorangebowlmerch.com/2007A//catalog/index.php

I can't believe the tickets are already sold out!

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