Landing Peyton Manning would be a coup for the Denver Broncos, though it would obviously come at the expense of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. Sports Illustrated's Peter King tweeted on Friday that Denver "desperately" wants Manning, meaning Tebow would either be released or traded by the team should they land the Super Bowl winner. As I noted on Twitter early Friday, it is tough to blame the Broncos for wanting Manning but to be "desperate" for him is another story that simply speaks to the continued disingenuous nature of executive vice president John Elway and head coach John Fox when it comes to believing that Tebow can be their quarterback of the future. If they truly felt that way, regardless of Manning's past, they would not be willing to risk losing a young signal caller for a soon-to-be 36-year-old. When it all comes down to it, chances of Manning going to Denver are slim to none, in my opinion. He has better options in Miami, Arizona, Kansas City and other potential destinations than to play for a team in Mile High without a true No. 1 receiver, a porous offensive line and an older running back.
If you thought Tebowmania had died down at all with the 2011 season having come to a close, you would most certainly be wrong. According to the Associated Press, nearly 20,000 people attended Tebow's speaking engagement at the Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, NV last weekend. During the service, Tebow discussed the Tebowing phenomenon and why he does it before, during and after games. "One of the reasons I get on a knee is because that's a form of humbling yourself," he explained. "I want to humble myself before the Lord and say thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for letting me play the game I love." Senior pastor Kevin Odor also told the AP that "more than 1,000 people had logged on to the church's website to watch a live feed of the Saturday night service, hailing from far-flung countries including Afghanistan and Bangladesh." Tebow donated his speaking fee to the Tim Tebow Foundation for the purposes of building a hospital in the Philippines.
Now set to compete in postseason action, three members of the Gators' men's basketball team will have a tough decision to make relatively soon - whether or not to declare for the 2012 NBA Draft. All or any of freshman guard Brad Beal, sophomore center Patric Young and junior guard Kenny Boynton could decide to leave the team at the end of the season, and each will forced to weigh the positives and negatives in their decision-making process. Beal is considered the most likely of the three to leave, which makes sense considering his production as a freshman as well as him possessing a strong basketball IQ and mature understanding of what it takes to win both on and off the court. Already projected to be a top-10 pick in a number of mock drafts, Beal is not without his flaws. He is only shooting 42.9 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from downtown for Florida despite being a sharpshooter in high school.
Though he has not addressed it directly, head coach Billy Donovan's comments about his preparedness lead one to believe he does not think Young is ready to play at the next level yet. Donovan has recently been vocal that Young needs to prepare better for games and become more mature both on and off the court. As far as Boynton is concerned, he is not listed on many (if any) teams' draft boards right now. Boynton is slightly undersized for a shooting guard and lacks experience at the point. As a veteran player, he also has not had sustained success at the collegiate level even though he is in the midst of a career year. One thing is for certain, however. Losing one player would undoubtedly hurt the Gators, no matter which chooses to go. Losing two or all three would be absolutely devastating.
In their third contest against a top-25 ranked opponent this season, No. 4 Florida lacrosse (5-2) picked up their first victory in such a match, defeating No. 15 Georgetown (2-1) 12-9 on the road in Washington, D.C. The Gators led 7-5 at the half and basically traded goals with the Hoyas the rest of the way even though the goalkeepers held both teams scoreless over the final 8:15 of the contest. Junior attacker Gabi Weiland scored five goals on five shots to lead Florida, which also got two goals apiece from classmates Kitty Cullen, Ashley Bruns and Caroline Chesterman.
NFL officials are currently investigating the New Orleans Saints for maintaining a bounty for hard hits and knockout plays maintained by former defensive coordinator Greg Williams. Williams, a member of the team's coaching staff from 2009-11, was with the squad for their Super Bowl XLIV season. Also on the team that year was former Gators defensive end Bobby McCray, who had an incredible postseason and wound up hitting a pair of veteran quarterbacks - Minnesota's Brett Favre and Arizona's Kurt Warner - exceptionally hard in their respective matchups during the playoffs. As it turns out, the NFL fined McCray $25,000 for some of his hits on Favre, including one which caused an eruption on the Saints' sideline. In a report from SI this week, the outlet notes that "an on-field microphone directed toward the sideline caught an unidentified defender saying, 'Pay me my money!'" following the play. McCray's representatives did not return a request for him to comment further on this particular incident.
Gators fans will have plenty to watch this weekend besides men's basketball. Below are some games and matches to keep an eye out for between Friday and Sunday:
Men's track and field will be defending their title while competing in the NCAA Indoor Championships and looking to win the event for the third year in a row. Action begins Friday morning and concludes Saturday afternoon with Florida entering the event as the top-ranked team in the country.
Baseball, ranked No. 1 with a 12-1 record and on a 10-game winning streak, will host Florida Gulf Coast for a three-game series taking place on Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (4 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). Sunday's game will air live on Sun Sports (check your local listings).
Softball swept Mississippi State in a double-header to open SEC play but will take on Tennessee on Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (noon) in a three-game series. The No. 3-ranked Gators go into the game Friday with a 21-1 record and on an 11-game winning streak.
Tennis teams representing Florida will take on Vanderbilt on Friday. The No. 9 men's team will travel to Nashville, TN looking to take down their SEC East rival, while the No. 2 women's team will host VU as they look to win their 100th consecutive home match in Gainesville, FL.
Lacrosse is ready and raring to go against Temple on Saturday at 1 p.m. after winning a big match during the week. The Gators are looking to put together another long season-ending winning streak just like they did one year ago.