Well, it’s good to be back.
I now can tell you about almost every Netflix series (try “Godless”) and what network carries Seinfeld reruns in the morning (TBS) and how annoying the PG version of “GoodFellas” is. I have a new affinity for prune juice (don’t ask) and a new respect for what physical therapists have to put up with (a lot).
And I still have a long way to go.
But there’s a new knee in town and the light at the end of the tunnel has not been this bright in a long time. I appreciate all of the people who texted, emailed or called, but mostly the people who have been taking care of me, especially those not related.
Mostly, I’m ready to get back to work. Not as much as my wife is ready to get me off the couch.
So why not start back with some bowl picks?
This has been an odd football season in that there is no bowl game for the mighty Gators, which is in itself a Christmas blessing because we don’t have to watch that offense again.
But while the Gators may not get any swag this winter, I have already collected mine. After whipping Drew Copeland of Sister Hazel last bowl season, it was one tasty lunch treat.
Here we go again with lunch and a donation to Stop Children’s Cancer on the line. He’s got no chance against Dooley 3.0, because this year I have more artificial parts.
By the way, The Picks finished with a 102-42 record for the season, which you would think would have been good enough for a bowl game or at least something special in my stocking.
Southern Miss-Florida State
While I have made it clear that people who complain about too many bowl games apparently don’t understand the concept of a remote control and need to back off, I also grasp bowl games are entities unto themselves and have nothing to do with how a team will perform going forward. That’s a long way of saying that beating Southern Miss isn’t going to mean FSU is back. FSU, 35-21.
Copeland’s pick: FSU.
It would have been sweet to see the Longhorns face Texas A&M in this game and certainly would have given more people a reason to watch. But don’t blame Texas. The SEC chose not to put the Aggies in this game because they were in it last season. Texas, 34-31.
Copeland’s pick: Missouri.
Wake Forest-Texas A&M
So instead, the Aggies get to spend a week in Charlotte. Not a bad trade-off. If you haven’t seen Wake quarterback John Wolford play, this is your last chance. A&M, 38-27.
Copeland’s pick: A&M.
MUSIC CITY BOWL
No program has taken more baby steps in the last few years than Kentucky. One day, all of them may add up to a big-boy step. Northwestern, 27-21.
Copeland’s pick: Kentucky.
Don’t you have the feeling that this might end up being this season’s version of last season’s Rose Bowl? I just wonder how invested the Buckeyes are after getting left out of the playoffs. USC, 32-28.
Copeland’s pick: Ohio State.
This is one of many examples where you can’t help but wonder how a team will play after a coaching change. Louisville, 42-34.
Copeland’s pick: Louisville.
Let me get this straight. Miami’s reward for a breakthrough season under Mark Richt is a home game? Nice bowl trip. Miami, 27-21.
Copeland’s pick: Wisconsin.
This game brings back the memory of Jadeveon Clowney decapitating Michigan running back Vincent Smith in what might have been the play of the decade five seasons ago. It feels like there have been about 67 Power Five coaching changes since then. Michigan, 24-21.
Copeland’s pick: South Carolina.
So UCF poked Auburn a little with the comments about the Tigers not being as fast as the Golden Knights. I’m not sure that was an inaccurate statement. UCF can scoot. But Auburn’s defense is legit. Auburn, 23-20.
Copeland’s pick: Auburn.
Catholics vs. Cajuns. I’ve had a hard time getting a grip on the Irish all year. So bet the opposite of this pick. LSU has too much talent and should be able to overcome coaching issues. Read into that whatever you want. LSU, 30-23.
Copeland’s pick: LSU.
CFP PLAYOFF (PASADENA)
There is a part of me that thinks Georgia is a team of destiny. But there is also a part of me that thinks Baker Mayfield will light up any defense. Call it a hunch. Oklahoma, 42-34.
Copeland’s pick: Georgia.
CFP PLAYOFF (NEW ORLEANS)
I just think Clemson has the better team. I’m just hoping for a couple of good playoff games. The average margin of victory in the six games so far is 25.3 points. When Kirk Herbstreit says on the commercial it’s going to “be epic” I think he must be talking about the build-up rather than the actual games. Clemson, 28-13.
Copeland’s pick: Alabama.
With no SEC team in the finals, it should still be a classic. Or perhaps Drew is right and it’s an All-SEC final and Greg Sankey rents the Presidential Suite at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta for a big party. Either way, there’s no question that the South has owned this football season. Oklahoma, 34-31.
Copeland’s pick: Alabama.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.