Gary Danielson is the best color analyst in college football — brutally honest, extremely knowledgeable and unafraid of offending any fan base. Danielson, who will call Saturday’s SEC championship game with venerable Verne Lundquist, discussed the game on a conference call Tuesday.
Q. How can the consensus No. 1 team, playing on a neutral field, be a 10-point underdog?
A. “The voters and the media and the people who call the talk shows — everybody likes offense and they like points. We’ve been through this before. Remember when Ohio State played Miami in the Fiesta Bowl? No one gave Ohio State a chance because they played ugly. The Buffalo Bills were supposed to be the new wave with the no-huddle, and the New York Giants came in rough and tough. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like the BCS and the computers and the voting — there’s just a fascination with offense.”
Q. Will Percy Harvin play?
A. “He’ll play. He’s played so many times with a bad ankle, I’m sure he’ll play. He’s been playing with a bad ankle for 21/2 years. I’ve said this before — play-calling or strategy is always 50 percent of what you have, and the other 50 percent is what the other team thinks you have. Even if Harvin is not 100 percent, Urban Meyer can take advantage of the 50 percent the other side thinks he’ll have. I’ll be shocked if Percy Harvin doesn’t, in some capacity, play.”
Q. Do you think Tim Tebow has an outside chance to win the Heisman?
A. “Outside? I don’t think it’s outside. I think he’s one of two guys. He’s right there. I’ll say this: Stats in the Big 12 are like pesos to me. Everybody’s got stats there. But I don’t think he’s going to win it unless he has a marquee performance against Alabama. He’s going to have to put on a show. You ever hear about a ‘son-in-law’ player, someone who is not quite what you wanted? Tebow is not anywhere near that. He’s everything you want.”
Q. If stats are like pesos in the Big 12 and the SEC is playing 3-2 games, why is one better than the other?
A. “The SEC has better defensive players. There’s more NFL defensive linemen and linebackers. Check out the draft. The NFL doesn’t draft guys with nice uniforms and that are highly rated. They want good athletes. There are more NFL-ready bodies right now in the SEC. There’s just a deficiency of quarterbacks. If you aren’t a really good quarterback, in the SEC they’ll chew you up.”
Q. What’s your take on the Big 12 controversy?
A. “We’re splitting hairs, and that’s what is wrong with voting. There’s a sense of unfairness to the players. I wish, and it wouldn’t happen, but I wish the Big 12 would have asked Missouri to step aside. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Everybody knows Oklahoma and Texas are two best teams. If I were the commissioner of the Big 12, I would say, ‘For the good of the conference, let’s let them replay this thing in the Big 12 championship.’”