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In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
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Long underrated and undervalued, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin is quickly becoming the best and perhaps most valuable pass catcher in the entire NFL. Harvin on Thursday caught his third touchdown of the season in the last four games (he has five overall this season) and registered double-digit targets for the fifth time in eight weeks. He also led the Vikings in receiving for the seventh time this season, hauling in seven passes for 90 yards. There has been talk around league circles that Harvin could be up for the NFL's most valuable player award; unfortunately, he is limited by his quarterback and Minnesota's offense and is not putting up gaudy enough numbers to make that a reality. What is becoming apparent, however, is that there are few playmakers in the league as talented as Harvin, which is knowledge that will do him plenty of good when he negotiates his first true free agent contract.
In Columbia, SC on Thursday facing South Carolina, No. 11 Florida soccer (14-4-1, 11-2 SEC) earned a hard-fought 3-0 victory with three second-half goals to win the 2012 SEC Championship and bring home its first league title since 2010. The Gators, which dropped a share of the SEC title to the Gamecocks in the 2011 season finale, got a game-winning goal by junior transfer forward Adriana Leon and added a pair of insurance goals from sophomore midfielder Annie Speese. The regular season title is Florida's 12th in the program's 18-year existence but it is the first since the Gators won five-straight from 2006-10. Florida will now look to double up with a victory in the 2012 SEC Tournament, which begins on Oct. 31 and lasts for five days.
Not even 16 hours after soccer brought home a league championship, the Gators doubled up as the women's cross country team won the 2012 SEC title in the early afternoon on Friday. The conference championship is Florida's third in the last four years as the Gators also took home the title in 2009 and 2010 but fell short in 2011 just like the soccer team. Florida already has two SEC titles for the 2012-13 athletic season after winning just four (along with two ALC titles for lacrosse) in the 2011-12 athletic campaign.
It is not uncommon for Gators basketball to hold a scrimmage against another college team before even the exhibition season begins and that is exactly what Florida is set to do on Saturday against the Rollins Tars. Taking place in Gainesville, FL, the scrimmage will feature the return of former UF forward Adam Allen and walk-on guard Kyle McClanahan, both of whom now play for Rollins as Allen is re-starting his career following multiple knee surgeries and McClanahan is hoping to see more playing time. The scrimmage will be a private practice likely taking place in the practice facility and will not be aired live. Florida's first game will be an exhibition contest in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center against Nebraska-Kearney on Nov. 1.
New York Daily News writer Manish Mehta sat down this week for an exclusive interview with New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who touched on a number of topics. Asked about being ranked as the most overrated player in the NFL, Tebow quipped, "It's both sides, because they also voted me in the Top 100 [Players on NFL Network], too." He obviously dodged questions about whether or not he wants to be a starter or feels like he is being underutilized (he is) but did say that his competitiveness continues to drive him to become a better quarterback and football player. "[Playing is] probably the way to get better fastest, but I'm working on a lot of things and feeling like I'm getting better," he said. "You know, looking forward to one day being able to show some of those things but constantly getting better."
Gators athletics may have already wrapped up two SEC titles but there are plenty of additional events going on this weekend. No. 11 Florida volleyball is hosting Mississippi State on Friday as the Gators look to get back to their winning ways after being swept by Florida State and dropping their first match in 19 years to their in-state rival. Florida women's golf will dominate the next three days as the only team in action as the program takes part in the Betsy Rawls Invitational from Oct. 28-30. Gators soccer then resumes action as the No. 1 seed in the 2012 SEC Tournament, which begins on Oct. 31 in Orange Beach, AL.