Tim Tebow’s last home hurrah comes at Bobby Bowden’s expense

Tim Tebow and Bobby Bowden left final footprints on Florida Field, on the same Saturday, in the same November.

Goodbyes don’t get any higher or lower.

Camera flashes went off for Tebow as they did for the Beatles at Shea Stadium, and the Florida quarterback was definitely the ticket to ride.

In his last home game as a Gator, Tebow passed for three touchdowns and ran for two in a 37-10 win over Florida State.


Everyone wanted to celebrate, including one Southeastern Conference official who helped Tebow off the ground after a play.

SEC referees, you might say, also assisted Tebow this year against Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Everyone wore Tebow eye black, too, even the CBS reporter who objectively worked both sidelines.

Tebow’s senior class is two wins from the school’s first perfect season in football and third national title since 2005.

Across the field, 80-year-old Bowden, Florida State’s coach, drifted off after misfiring on his second 6-6 season since 2006, the year he had to beat UCLA in the Emerald Bowl to avert his first losing record since going 5-6 in 1976.

Bowden is back on avert-alert.

He says he wants to do some soul searching before deciding on whether he’ll be back in 2010, but he has certainly coached his last game on Florida’s field.

Ann Bowden, Bobby’s wife, recently told USA Today, “You know, we don’t need the university as much as they need us,” and Florida State will soon find out if she’s right.

Goodbye, Tim. Goodbye, Bobby. It was that kind of weekend.

Steve Kragthorpe is leaving his coaching post at Louisville, Al Groh has one gym shoe out the door at Virginia, Mark Mangino is crossing his fingers in Kansas and most people think the paperwork on Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis was being prepared before Saturday’s hard-fought effort at Stanford.

Everyone has the scoop on who will be Notre Dame’s next coach. Names being tossed about include Cincinnati Coach Brian Kelly (my odds-on favorite), Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, Tony Dungy, Bob Stoops and any other name you can float and take credit for later.

Notre Dame’s backup plan includes Rudy, Gerry Faust and anyone named Rockne.

Oklahoma State said goodbye to a Bowl Championship Series at-large berth it didn’t deserve but was going to get anyway if it finished 10-2 by defeating Oklahoma in Norman.

Oklahoma easily won the game, 27-0, and maybe saved the BCS -- if that’s a good thing.

You thought Oklahoma State had a chance after reading the Cowboys had beaten Oklahoma eight times, but the catch was it was eight times since 1945.

Oklahoma State now trails the all-time series, 17-80-7, but there’s always next century.

How did the Cowboys’ defeat possibly save the BCS?

Had Oklahoma State finished 10-2, the Fiesta Bowl would have felt obligated to take an eligible Big 12 Conference team if it loses Texas to the national title game.

And that could have left a deserving team, Boise State, out of the mix.

As business partners, the Big 12 and Fiesta Bowl are as compatible as Tostitos and salsa, but Oklahoma State’s loss lifts this burden and almost assures the BCS this year is going to be as fair as it can get without a court injunction.

Texas Christian, by completing its first 12-0 season Saturday, clinched no worse than one of the four BCS at-large automatic bids.

The Horned Frogs might even reach the title game, which would screw up pending anti-trust legislation, if Texas loses to Nebraska in next week’s Big 12 title game.

If form holds -- and it’s held all season -- Alabama or Florida will play Texas for the BCS title at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 7 and Texas Christian will end up in the Fiesta Bowl.

The three other at-large spots will (probably) go to Iowa, the Alabama/Florida loser and . . . Boise State. The Western Athletic Conference hired a public relations firm to lobby for Boise State’s inclusion into the BCS, when all the WAC really needed was Oklahoma.

It seems a cinch now that Texas Christian and Boise State will secure half of the four available BCS at-large spots -- you talk about crashing the party.

Boise State improved to 12-0 with Friday night’s 44-33 home win over Nevada. The Broncos have only to defeat New Mexico State on Saturday to complete their fourth undefeated regular season of the decade.

Boise State had undefeated regular seasons in 2004, 2006 and 2008 but made the BCS only once, when it shocked Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl in January 2007.

“We have confidence in the system and we have faith in the system, and it’s going to take care of the teams that should be in there,” Boise State Coach Chris Petersen said after Friday’s victory.

Wow, is Petersen an optimist, but, like the broken clock that is right two times a day, the BCS could be right when selections are announced at 5 p.m. on Dec. 6.

As for the top individual honor, it was probably a goodbye Heisman Trophy weekend for C.J. Spiller of Clemson and Alabama’s Mark Ingram. The tailbacks combined for 48 yards in games against South Carolina and Auburn.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who accounted for nearly half-a-thousand yards passing and rushing against Texas A&M on Thursday, moves to the top of the list with Tebow and Stanford’s Toby Gerhart nipping at his cleats.

This year’s Heisman winner will be determined during next weekend’s conference title games.

After that, it will be time to say goodbye to the regular season, save for Army-Navy on Dec. 12, and say hello to a bunch of bowls.