The Sweep

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Florida QB Tim Tebow had his way with LSU this season, throwing for 210 yards and totaling three touchdowns.
Heinz Kluetmeier/SI

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Oklahoma cornerback Dominique Franks told reporters Sunday that he thinks Florida quarterback Tim Tebow would be the fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12. Safety Nic Harris took that assessment a step further. "Top seven," Harris said.

The Sooners should understand what they might have unleashed. Tebow may seem all sweetness and light when he's ministering to prisoners or circumcising villagers, but the junior takes a more Old Testament approach to those who call him out. Four times in the past two seasons, an opponent has called out Tebow. Twice, Tebow has humbled the opponent. Twice, Tebow has been smote. So the odds are about 50/50 that the Sooners have awakened a snarling beast.

Today, we'll examine the times Tebow has been called out in the past and what has happened when the quarterback has met his critics on the field.

Date: October 2007
Caller:
LSU fans
Message: Too vile to print.
Result: Some enterprising LSU fan found Tebow's cell phone number, and the Geaux Tigers crowd had a field day. In the process of helping the Gators to an early lead when the teams faced off at Tiger Stadium, Tebow scored a touchdown and raised his hand to his earhole to mimic a phone call. LSU fans got the last laugh, though. Jacob Hester scored with a little more than a minute remaining to lift the Tigers to a 28-24 win and keep them on track to win the national title.

Date: November 2007
Caller: Florida State LB Geno Hayes
Message: "Tim Tebow is going down this week. Ya'll put that down," Hayes said. "That is our attitude ... It's not difficult, really it's not. Auburn showed that when they played on a couple of goal-line stops. There's an old saying, the bigger they are the harder they fall. He's a great quarterback, take nothing away from him, but it's not like we're going to go in there and give up because he's bigger and more agile at his size. It's nothing we can't handle. We're going to go in with the attitude that if he runs the ball we have to take it on, no matter how hard it gets."
Result: In the first quarter, Hayes had a clean shot at Tebow and whiffed, allowing Tebow to run for a 23-yard touchdown. Hayes was last spotted falling away as Tebow -- who broke his non-throwing hand on a third-quarter touchdown run -- charged for another gain. Tebow ran for 89 yards and two scores and threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-12 win.

Date: January 2008
Caller: Michigan LB Shawn Crable
Message: "You all are too concerned with this whole Tebow hype," Crable said. "I mean, he's just a quarterback. He's nothing more exceptional than we've ever played against."
Result: Crable never found himself on the receiving end of any Tebow justice; in fact, he played an excellent game while Tebow played one of his worst in a 41-35 Michigan win in the Capital One Bowl. Tebow threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, but he completed only 17 of 33 passes for 154 yards. (Although it should be noted that his offensive line didn't help him out much.) He couldn't keep the Gators moving down the field late in the fourth quarter, and the Wolverines held on to win.

Date: October 2008
Caller: LSU DT Ricky Jean-Francois
Message: "If we get a good shot on him, we're going to try our best to take him out of the game," Jean-Francois told The Orlando Sentinel. "With his size and his heart, it's hard to get a clean shot."
Result: Jean-Francois endured quite a bit of unfair criticism for this comment. He never advocated dirty play, but no matter. He riled Tebow. Unfortunately, a groin injury kept Jean-Francois from making the trip to Gainesville. Tebow and the Gators took out their frustrations on the rest of the Tigers in a 51-21 win. Tebow was ruthlessly efficient that night, throwing for 210 yards and two touchdowns and running for another. Florida's backs did the rest on a 265-yard rushing night.

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