Could Jevan Snead Be Better Than Tim Tebow?
Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead & Florida QB Tim Tebow
Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead & Florida QB Tim Tebow
Posted Jul 24, 2009

The SEC media days have gone wacky. Tim Tebow wasn't (gasp!) a unanimous choice for the All-SEC team with Jevan Snead of Ole Miss getting two votes. Could it be possible that Snead deserves the preseason pick over Tebow? Pete Fiutak takes a look at all the hullabaloo.

Tim Tebow vs. Jevan Snead

Should Snead have received more All-SEC votes?

By Pete Fiutak

You've got to give it up to those SEC types; their media days sure aren't dull.

In case you haven't been paying attention to the goings on down in Hoover, Alabama, this year's hullabaloo is over the (gasp) sacrilegious decision by Steve Spurrier to (if you're not already sitting down, take a seat and brace yourself) pick Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead over Tim Tebow for the preseason All-SEC squad.

Take a moment and collect yourself.

Only three players, Tennessee safety Eric Berry, LSU OT Ciron Black, and Alabama WR Julio Jones were unanimous selections (I'd probably add Florida LB Brandon Spikes and Alabama DT Terrence Cody to that list, but it's not that big a deal).

Coaches can't vote for their own players, Florida head man Urban Meyer chose Snead, and Spurrier said he made a mistake, but there was enough of a buzz about who would vote for anyone other than Tebow to spark a debate.

Speculation had run rampant. Maybe it was Tennessee's Lane Kiffin, who can't help but poke the Florida bear whenever he gets a chance. Maybe it was South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, who has always been a bit off the beaten path when it comes to come of his selections both for all-star teams and in the polls. Or maybe it was simply a vote from a coach who thinks Jevan Snead is better at playing football than Tim Tebow.

To be on the record, I think this year's Ole Miss team will be way overrated and overranked, and while Snead is a good college quarterback, and has the potential to be a great one, Tebow, belongs on the short list of the all-time greats after winning two national titles, a Heisman as a sophomore, finishing as a Heisman finalist as a junior (which he would've won if the voting had been done after the bowls) and for being the first player to run for 20 scores and throw for 20 in a season. He has been a transcendent player who deserves to be everyone's first-team All-America choice as the unquestioned leader and star of the best team in college football.

But there is a case to be made for Snead.

Forgetting for a moment that it's possible one coach was trying to be contrarian in choosing Snead over Tebow, it's not totally insane to think that Snead could be the better pick and could be in for a better season.

1. Snead might just be better.
If the NFL Draft was tomorrow and the choice was between Snead and Tebow, 31 out of 32 teams would probably take Snead, while the 32nd would probably be Oakland, because Al Davis loves the SEC and he adores Heisman talent. At the immediate moment, Tebow projects to be a fringe first round selection, but he's more likely to be around a mid-second round selection. There's no questioning his toughness, his ability to make things happen, and his commitment, but there's some concern that he's too much of a thrower, a shot-putter, than a pro-style passer who can thrive at the next level. Snead, on the other hand, might have to add some weight, but he's mobile, has a live deep arm, and is considered a sure-thing first round pick if he chooses to come out next year or if he waits one more season. Assuming Sam Bradford leaves early and enters next year's draft, Snead has a legitimate shot at being in the hunt for the first overall selection in 2011 if he takes some big leaps forward in his consistency, his accuracy, and his overall production.

2. Snead beat Tebow.
I've heard a couple of talking heads mention the 31-30 Ole Miss win over Florida last year as part of the current debate, and while it has some bottom-line merit, it's ridiculous. Tebow completed 24-of-38 passes for 319 yards and a score and he ran for two touchdowns. Snead ran for a score, but he only completed 9-of-20 throws for 185 yards with two scores and an interception. Yes, Tebow missed two wide open receivers down the middle on what should've been game-winning scores, and he failed to use his bullying rushing ability to get a first down with everything on the line, but he outplayed Snead. However, Tebow's mystique is more than just being about numbers. It comes from finding ways to win and for leading his team to victories no matter what. Snead connected on the 86-yarder to Shay Hodge to get the job done, while Tebow didn't close the deal.

3. Ole Miss might have a better season.
I don't think it's going to happen, but it's possible that Florida, as good as it should be, could lose at LSU and against Georgia, while Ole Miss has as squishy-soft a schedule as any SEC team could reasonably ask for. The Alabama and LSU games are in Oxford, and the toughest road game might be at a rebuilding and retooling Auburn. Of course, the Rebels could certainly lose at home in one of their tough battles and they could certainly lose at either South Carolina and Vanderbilt early on if everything isn't clicking. But if you believe Ole Miss is the real deal on the field, with the schedule it has and the talent of a playmaker like Snead, it's possible that this could be the SEC champion if everything breaks perfectly.

4. Snead might turn out to have better weapons around him than Tebow does.
Lost in the haze of the national title season was an inconvenient truth: Oklahoma is probably your 2008 national champion if Percy Harvin isn't playing. Not only is Harvin gone, but so is the tremendously underappreciated Louis Murphy, who caught a touchdown pass in the title game and came up with four grabs for 86 yards in the SEC Championship when Harvin was out. It's Florida, so there's speed to burn at receiver, the tight ends are fantastic, and the backfield is loaded at running back, but Ole Miss has some killer playmakers who should explode. Dexter McCluster is a do-it-all weapon who could be this year's Harvin. Shay Hodge is a proven producer at receiver, and there are several other targets who have all the measureables and at least look the part. The Rebels also have a sneaky-good group of backs to help take the heat off. Scoring points won't be a problem for Houston Nutt's club. And finally ...

5. Tim Tebow is freakin' annoying.
Again, I will be the Grand Marshal of Tim Tebow Is The Greatest College Quarterback Of All-Time parade (remember, we're talking college production and not pro potential) if he leads Florida to another national title and/or he wins/deserves another Heisman, but there's a lot not to like about the Tyler Hansbrough of college football. Fine, so he's a good guy who truly believes in the goodness of in his missionary work, and fine, he's trying to save souls by hanging out in prisons, but none of that has anything to do with him as a football player or how he should be analyzed and scrutinized. There will be a backlash from those tired of the overall Tebow act, but there's a louder contingent of fawning "journalists" desperate to make a big deal out of any athlete who doesn't appear to be a total jerkweed. Beyond the churchy side of things, the messy paint on his face (that was NOT blood) against Florida State, the constant screaming of "let's go," the one-step-short-of-going-Kellen-Winslow-I'm-a-f***in'-soldier routine after the Ole Miss loss, and having it turned into Gospel, the not going to the Playboy mansion thing, and everything else that has embodied all that has been Tim Tebow, he is a great football player who does a lot of great things. However, with the media taking everything he does to a different level, it's hard to not look for someone else to come in and knock him down a peg. Snead might be good enough to do it.

The other issue isn't Snead vs. Tebow; it's the woeful lack of quarterback talent in the SEC at the moment. There's a ton of potential, but the third best quarterback going into the season after Tebow and Snead is, um, uhhhh, Stephen Garcia of South Carolina? Jordan Jefferson of LSU? Ryan Mallett of Arkansas?

No matter which one, Tebow or Snead, turns out to be the best in the SEC this year, these two will clearly be the stars throughout. If there's this much debate now over one coach's vote, imagine how things could turn out to be in early December.