Alabama Punches Florida in the Mouth, and Their Ticket to Pasadena

The game will be remembered by many for Tim Tebow's tears. They streamed over his signature eye black as he knelt on the sideline, realizing he was the leader of a team beaten in every aspect on this Saturday. "They were just better than us," he said.

But the game should be remembered for how Alabama rolled. The Crimson Tide routed Florida 32-13 in an SEC Championship Game that felt even more lopsided than that score. Mark Ingram ran wild, racking up 113 of 'Bama's 255 rushing yards and adding a 69-yard catch-and-run that was probably enough to make him the Heisman favorite at the time of the final whistle. His is the name that will be credited with most of the decimation of the top-ranked defense in the country, but Greg McElroy was razor-sharp all game, eluding Florida defenders with such grace that he was compared to his white-clad counterpart on multiple occasions, and the Tide's line turned back all manner of exotic Gator blitzes.

Add the inefficacy of an offense plagued by drops and poor protection to the humbling of that proud defense, and it was the recipe for regicide. Florida's 22-game winning streak is done, as is its hegemony over college football, replaced by a team that will be favored in the BCS title game and expected to rattle off a similar string of wins should they prevail in Pasadena.

The idea of SEC exceptionalism has applied to Florida for long enough; now, Alabama, behind its hard-nosed, perfectionist coach, Nick Saban, and brilliance in all facets, will take up the mantle for the near future, coupling new-school SEC dominance with the tradition of the conference's most revered powerhouse.

Of course, Texas' penchant for self-aggrandizement could easily trump it. With the Lone Star State's burnt orange flagship poised to meet Alabama for the BCS title (and purple-clad interlopers from Fort Worth waiting in the wings should the Longhorns falter), this year's BCS title game seems sure to be a battle of the biggest as well as the best.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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