Alabama is 4-0 and ranked first in the nation and is a prohibitive favorite to beat rebuilding Ole Miss when the Crimson Tide hosts the Rebels in Bryant-Denny Stadium Saturday night. Florida and Tim Tebow were also heavily favored over Mississippi in 2008, but the Rebels took a 31-20 win.
Afterwards, Tim Tebow made a speech, which began:
"I promise you one thing. A lot of good will come out of this. You will never see any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of the season. You will never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season. You will never see a team play harder than we will the rest of the season."
The words are engraved on a plaque outside the Florida football stadium.
They are also being repeated to Alabama football players this week.
Following practice Wednesday, Bama Coach Nick Saban said, “I think this is a game that should be all about what we have at stake. If you have a chance to be significant as a team, it's about what you do each week in this game. This is the most important game of our season because it's the game we play this week.
“I saw a video tape a couple of weeks ago when we played somebody about Tim Tebow giving his famous speech after they were undefeated for a year and won the national championship and were going undefeated the next year and had won 20-some games in a row or whatever.
“Guess what? Guess who? Guess when?
“Somebody beat them. At home, in their place and then there was the famous speech. ‘It's never going to happen again.’
“Well, do you have to have an 'I told you so' game and does somebody have to give that speech for you to do what you need to do to realize what's at stake, to realize the opportunity you have to have a very successful, significant season if you can play one game at a time and respect the people you play, and play to your very best each and every time that you play?
“That's the challenge and that's what we're looking forward to as coaches.”
The Gators did go on to win the rest of their games, including defeating Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game, and won the national championship.
Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner said he and his teammates had been watching a video of the Tebow speech when they are in the weight room. “We're trying to not let it be us that same way that happened to them,” Milliner said. “We're not trying to make it have a loss and then we have to give a big speech after it because we lost the game.”
Saban said, “I've been really pleased with the way our players have responded as the week progresses to trying to get ready for what is a little bit of a difficult preparation, especially Ole Miss' offensive style, in terms of the no-huddle, up-tempo, fast, trying to get a look at that stuff in practice, trying to be able to play the plays, trying to be able to get things executed. Very, very challenging. I think this is a very good offensive team that we're playing. I think they're third in our league in total offense. Scored a lot of points this year, 31 points against Texas. They have a lot of speed and they do a good job of utilizing it in the style they play. I think it's very, very important that our players are looking forward what they need to do to be paying attention to detail, to do the little things right, to be able to focus and do the things we need to do to be successful in this game.
“All the SEC games that we play are really special. We want Bryant-Denny Stadium to be a special place for our players to play and a very difficult place for other teams to play. That's always been that way and we certainly appreciate that from our fans and we'll certainly need it from our fans for this particular game Saturday night.
“We're also going to have Coach (Gene) Stallings and the 1992 national championship team back here to get recognized. I still think, of all the games I remember or I ever watched, the game they played to win the national championship in the Sugar Bowl was one of the most fantastic teams and fantastic games I can remember watching.”
Alabama will also honor the 2012 national champion Bama gymnastics team.
Back-up nose tackle Brandon Ivory, who suffered a sprained ankle, is still questionable for Saturday’s game and may be doubtful since he is not expected to practice Thursday.