GAINESVILLE -- OK, time to start speculating. We've put it off long enough. Now it's time to lay it all on the line and put Gator Clause's reputation at peril with a fearless prediction. It's what everyone wants to know, right? Will Tim Tebow play or will he watch from the sidelines as John Brantley makes his first career start. (Unless, of course, you enjoy surprises and are perfectly happy waiting and speculating and then finding out the truth at 8 p.m. on Saturday night in Death Valley.)
Gator Clause's fearless prediction: Tebow is going to play! (Something interesting to consider: On Wednesday, Gator Clause polled 24 reporters who cover Florida on a regular basis and the press core was split down the middle. Twelve reporters thought Tebow would play and 12 reporters thought Tebow would not play.
How did we arrive at this answer? Well, for one, I've got a few sources close to the team who have been telling me since Sunday that Tebow is going to play. (That's before we even found out that Tebow was working out again.) Of course, I haven't reported this (until now, I guess, although this is just a prediction and nothing more) because I didn't want to toss out important information like that without citing my sources. Since they want to remain anonymous, we'll just use it as blog-prediction material.
As a side note, reporter Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post has cited an anonymous source all week who tells Ben that Tebow isn't playing. Last week, I wrote a column in The Miami Herald that the reasons for resting Tebow against LSU far outweigh the reasons to play him. I still think Tebow should rest, but I don't think it's going to happen anymore. How sure am I of my prediction? I'd put it at 60 percent, or closer to a Grade 2 prediction than a Grade 3 prediction, as the case may be.
Another thing that has me convinced that UF is going to play Tebow? His medical team. Why would the University of Florida make such a big deal about all the doctors that have signed off on Tebow if the guy wasn't going to play this week. Florida's sports information director actually printed out a press release on Tuesday with the names and ranks of six doctors and personally handed it to reporters. I'm no lawyer, but talk about putting something in writing. Sheesh!
Why rush Tebow back to the practice field if he wasn't going play? According to Meyer, Tebow had headaches last Tuesday. Doctors recommend (some, but not all, apparently) that athletes who suffer a concussion be asymptomatic for a week before they return to strenuous activity. Tebow was running on a treadmill on Sunday. By Monday he was lifting weights. On Tuesday, he was limited at practice. On Wednesday, he was full go. (Meyer isn't making this stuff up. I watched Tebow practice on Tuesday and Wednesday.)
Another thing: Tebow's doctors have told Meyer that once Tebow recovers from his concussion, then he is no more likely to suffer a concussion against LSU this Saturday than he is against Arkansas in 10 days or Florida State in late November. Once Tebow is cleared to play, it doesn't matter how long he waits to play football again, according to Tebow's doctors.
Another thing: ESPN has been around this week. Whenever the gravy train is hanging around UF, that means something is up. ESPN pays for exclusives. I'm envisioning some kind of sappy College GameDay feature on Tebow recovering from his concussion?
Another thing: Vegas. Florida opened up as an 11-point favorite over LSU. The oddsmakers think Tebow is playing. Either that or the oddsmakers think LSU is a fraud. (Maybe a little of both.)
That's all I got. Or, put another way, I'm sick of speculating and it's only Wednesday night! People, feel free to give me your predictions. I'm interested in hearing from the masses on this one.