GAINESVILLE — Tim Tebow says it doesn't matter to him. Urban Meyer wouldn't dignify it with a response, preferring to focus on this week's opponent, Kentucky. But after Sunday's release of the first BCS standings, the reality is that based on history, Florida's chances of playing for a BCS national title don't look strong.
The Gators are No. 10 in the first rankings, which are compiled using the USA Today coaches and Harris interactive polls and six computer rankings.
"I don't care, that's fine," Tebow said Monday when asked about the Gators' ranking. "You know, nothing really matters too much now. That's really what my attitude was. It doesn't matter to me, I don't care. That's fine if those other teams are ahead of us. We've still go an opportunity to hopefully play some of them.
"We still have an opportunity, if we take care of business, to be in the position that we want."
Perhaps. Let's face it. If the Gators run the table in the regular season and win the SEC Championship Game, they'll be in the discussion.
But consider this: In the 10 years that the BCS has existed, 19 of the 20 teams that played in the BCS national title game were ranked in the top six in the first BCS standings.
On the bandwagon: When the Tampa Bay Rays won the American League East, Meyer sent a congratulatory bottle of wine to manager Joe Maddon. No telling what gift Maddon will receive for winning the ALCS, but Meyer considers himself a Rays fan, returning the favor of Maddon being a Gator fan.
"This time last year he came to a couple of games," Meyer said Monday. "He's a little busy (now). I haven't called him yet, but I wish him all the best."
Tebow for McCoy: Tebow is a registered voter and said he's pretty sure he knows which presidential candidate he's going to vote for, but he won't make it public. His Heisman vote? That's another story.
Before Saturday's Texas-Missouri game, Tebow said during a phone interview on ESPN's College GameDay that he might be leaning toward Missouri's Chase Daniel. Tebow, who has a Heisman vote because he is a former winner, said Monday that if he had to vote right now, Texas QB Colt McCoy would be his leader.
"I don't think there's anybody who's above him right now," Tebow said.
Tebow is the only sophomore to ever win the Heisman and has become good friends with Daniel, saying the two talked before Saturday's game. But he likes McCoy and the way he handles himself off the field.
"I was really proud of him because I think he represents college football and his faith extremely well, too, which I really respect as well," Tebow said. "I think he's done a great job with everything he's going through."
As for the reigning winner?
"I don't know," Tebow laughed. "He's okay."
Gators return: Having had the benefit of a bye last week, several injured Gators are expected back, beginning with Monday's practice, Meyer said. RB Chris Rainey (shoulder), RB Emmanuel Moody (sprained ankle) and K Caleb Sturgis (hyperextended knee) are all scheduled to return to practice. Moody may be limited at practice early in the week, but Meyer said there's a good chance he'll be ready to play Saturday. He did not play in the LSU game two weeks ago, while Rainey was injured in that game.
Meyer described his team as "very professional" in the two weeks after the loss to Ole Miss and said he's eager to see how the players respond this week at practice, after taking several days off and being away from each other and coaches all weekend because of the bye week.
Preseason honors: Sophomore G Nick Calathes is among the five preseason All-SEC first-team selections, chosen by SEC and national media members.
Calathes is joined on the team by Kentucky sophomore F Patrick Patterson, LSU senior G Marcus Thornton, South Carolina junior G Devan Downey and Tennessee junior F Tyler Smith, who was the preseason selection for player of the year.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]