MIAMI, Florida – The University of Florida won their second NCAA Battle of the Bands National Championship in three years by defeating Oklahoma in the final competition last Thursday night. Lead guitarist Tim Tebow was largely credited with the accomplishment, as he gave a clutch performance in the second half of his band’s set. Oklahoma’s lead guitarist, Sam Bradford, gave a disappointing performance when the battle was on the line. Bradford was awarded this year’s Hendrix Trophy, an award bestowed upon college music’s best musician as judged by the Downtown Rockabilly Club. Many consider the Hendrix to be college music’s trophy for best guitarist, however, as few percussionists are ever considered for the accolade.
Tebow won the Hendrix just a year ago, and was a finalist for the honor this year. Bradford won it instead, but many on the Florida band felt that Tebow deserved the award more. “It’ pretty obvious now who the number one guitarist in the nation is,” said Gators bass player Percy Harvin. “Tebow, just call him superman,” he added. Harvin, who played with an injured wrist, had a fantastic showing, confusing the Sooners band all night as he syncopated quarter notes in a walking baseline, and routinely switch from 4/4 measure to a 7/4 measure.
Tebow seemed to will his band to victory in their second breakdown, near the fourth stanza. Tebow played a set of rhythmically oriented riffs on open strings, then contrasted them with second interval dissonant chords and pinch harmonics. When their set was almost over, Tebow jumped in the air and threw his pick into the crowd, where it was promptly caught by David Nelson.
Gators band manager Urban Meyer told reporters after the contest, “We’re going to enjoy the national championship. The Gators are number one.” Defeated Oklahoma manager Bob Stoops said, “In the end, I’ll be glad to try again next year. If that’s the biggest burden I have to bear in my life, I’m a pretty lucky guy.”
Many speculate if Tebow or Bradford will return to play lead guitar their senior year. “I can see Bradford leaving early to play professionally,” said ESPN Band Analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. “I think he’s got what it takes, and a lot of bands out there could use a guitarist that has that kind of pitch recognition.” In regards to Tebow, however, “I really think the kid should stay in school.” Kiper suggested that Tebow would have very limited success at lead guitar professionally, and even added that many bands would rather look at Tebow as a bass player. “If he tries to go in as a lead [guitarist] like Eric Crouch did in 2002, [Tebow] will probably wind up being a backup rhythm guitarist, or even end up as a roadie for a Canadian band.”