- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

Maybe the BCS folks simply should declare the SEC championship the national title game and save everyone the trip to Pasadena.

No. 1 Florida (5-0) and No. 2 Alabama (6-0) cleared their respective highest in-season hurdles Saturday, both posting double-digit road victories to maintain their collision-course arcs toward Atlanta on Dec. 5.

At first blush, perhaps it seems the Gators scored some more credibility than the Crimson Tide by smothering previously unbeaten, faux No. 4 LSU in Baton Rouge. Single wing battering ram Tim Tebow returned at quarterback for Florida, performing efficiently if not spectacularly just two weeks after suffering a concussion at Kentucky. But Florida’s 13-3 victory belonged almost entirely to its defense, which held LSU to just 162 yards of total offense.

The Gators are truly nasty on that side of the ball, but LSU also looked totally unprepared, fighting the play clock and route and alignment confusion all night long. Perhaps Tebow transferred his concussion to LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton because the Tigers’ offense certainly looked neurologically compromised.

And anyone who wasted three hours watching the bore-off on the bayou deserves an apology. The game plumbed such catatonic entertainment levels that the second half’s most dramatic moment came when Tebow and Urban Meyer exchanged what appeared to be eskimo kisses through the former’s face mask.

Alabama was actually more impressive than Florida in its systematic 22-3 dismissal of Ole Miss in Oxford. Nick Saban probably did feel like kissing Rebels slinger Jevan Snead, who seems unwaveringly committed to becoming the most overrated player in college history. After staggering through his first four games of the season, Snead authored a disasterpiece against Alabama, completing 11 of 34 passes for 140 yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions.

A dark-horse Heisman pick for some, Snead now ranks 97th in passing efficiency among the 100 Football Bowl Subdivision players with enough passing attempts to qualify.

In fact, the entire preseason Heisman field has been disappointing thus far, from Snead (flop) to Tebow (pedestrian) to Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford (injured) to Texas’ Colt McCoy (six picks) to Cal’s Jahvid Best (snuffed by Oregon and USC). Perhaps Bradford and McCoy will change that at next week’s annual donnybrook between the Sooners and unbeaten Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl.

Game balls and gassers

Speaking of the Heisman, at this point Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh might be the best candidate.

If there were remaining doubts who will be the first pick in next year’s NFL Draft, the unblockable beast in the middle of Nebraska’s defense resolved them Thursday night in the rain at Missouri. Suh, who leads the Cornhuskers with 32 stops on the season, single-handedly destroyed the Tigers’ offense in a 27-12 victory in Columbia. Suh spent the entire night doing push-ups on Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert, and his final stat line, while impressive, doesn’t do his dominance justice: six tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one interception.

“Suh played his you-know-what off,” Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said. “That one is really special.”

Earlier this season, the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Suh manhandled Virginia Tech’s Sergio Render in Blacksburg, and the NFL-bound lineman might have been heading toward an off day. He didn’t. He isn’t blockable at this level. He gets some leather this week, but it’s a safe bet St. Louis, Detroit, Oakland or Cleveland will give much more to Suh come draft day.

This week’s gasser goes to the Florida State brain trust from the Seminoles’ sunshine era in the 1990s. It’s over for all of them. Bobby Bowden is getting kicked to the curb after one heck of a run. Is it sad? Not really. The man has made millions in his chosen profession and spent the vast majority of his career basking in the glow of a mostly fawning fan base. The time to step aside gracefully had come and gone, as evidenced again Saturday night when Georgia Tech poured on 401 rushing yards against the Seminoles in a 49-44 victory in Tallahassee.

Slightly sadder are the shuddering careers of the rest of that once-vaunted staff. Defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews hasn’t lost a step - it’s more like a mile. Firebrand assistant Chuck Amato has seen his star rise and fall after fizzling out at N.C. State. And even golden boy Mark Richt is starting to feel the heat at Georgia. Saturday’s 45-19 loss at Tennessee definitely had the feel of two programs heading in opposite directions.

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