The Back Nine comes at you after a wild weekend and the final home game in what has been an interesting season of Gator football.
10. The trip Saturday to Tallahassee for Florida’s football team hopefully will be a nice day weather-wise (there is a chance of morning showers), but it won’t be like the game 10 years ago. The No. 2 Gators needed the win more than the No. 23 Seminoles, as Florida was trying to get back to a national title game appearance. But at pre-game warmups, the field was a quagmire from incessant rain. “The field was standing water, ankle deep,” said Florida coach Dan Mullen. “But (in warmups), I don’t think a ball touched the ground. Urban (Meyer) was freaking out, ‘What are we going to do?’ He said, ‘We’re going to snap it to (Tim) Tebow and run up the middle every play.’ ” But Mullen told Meyer the Gators needed to air it out early and take advantage of the receivers knowing where they were going. “In classic Urban fashion, he looked like his head was going to explode,” Mullen said. Florida did wing it around, calling 16 passing plays in the first half on its way to a big lead 28-9 and rolled over FSU 45-15. Tebow threw for three touchdowns and, of course, had his great Braveheart moment after Percy Harvin was injured and the FSU fans cheered. None of this has anything to do with anything that will happen this week, but Mullen seemed to enjoy retelling the story as much as you did remembering it.
11. It’s funny how the perception of this game Saturday changed with one play, the 74-yard pass to Tamorrion Terry that allowed Florida State to beat Boston College. Until that moment, I wondered if the Seminoles would have any fight in them this week knowing they couldn’t go to a bowl game. Instead, after the win made them 5-6, they were dancing in the locker room and feeling like a new team. This much we know — FSU’s five-game win streak against Florida has been built more on defense than offense. In those five games, the Semis have only averaged 308 yards per game. But Florida has turned it over 11 times. FSU is a talented team (Mullen called Florida State “very, very, very talented”) that has underachieved terribly, but could make its season with a win over Florida. That’s dangerous.
12. So if someone came down from the Vega System and wanted to know about this sport football, you probably would have asked them to wait a week until there were some really big games. And yet, Saturday was about as much fun watching games as I’ve had this year. That’s the beauty of college football. There were so many people complaining about the slate of games and there we were riveted to Ohio State-Maryland, West Virginia-Oklahoma State, FSU-BC and on and on it went. Yes, I watched most of the UCF game and thought it was a great weekend for the school and the program. It didn’t change my basic thought process about where it belongs in my AP poll. Other teams lost so I moved the Knights up to ninth. UCF is really good. But they are still hamstrung by who they play. It’s not necessarily their fault, but until I see them play a Power Five schedule, it’s difficult to judge just how good they are. If they get into a New Year’s Six bowl game, well, it’s one game.
13. As is often the case with a coaching hire, there are two wildly different schools of thought on Les Miles being hired at Kansas. There are those who think this is a splash move with no substance and those who believe it’s just dummy. I get why it was tempting for Kansas if only so the Jayhawks public relations people could send out the graphic that Kansas is the only school with national championship coaches in football and basketball (as if the school earned that football bling). But Kansas basically hired a 65-year-old coach whose career was on the decline when he was fired at LSU. It just feels like a dead-end situation (why did no other schools go after Miles?) that will take a long time to turn around if it turns around at all. I guess he has to stop doing those Dos Equis commercials. Anyway, it’s cool to get the Mad Hatter back in college football.
14. If the summer is talking season, late November and the first week of December is voting season. I talked last week about how the Heisman Trophy is not the closed race we thought it was and nothing changed Saturday. But I also have other voting duties like the Biletnikoff, the AP All-American team and the AP All-SEC team. I have been trying to think which Florida players I might put on those teams and have come up with a couple of guys on defense, but the only person on offense who has a chance to make the first or second team is Martez Ivey, who has been erratic at best. That shows you what a good job Mullen has done with this team. This is going to be actual work voting this year. For example, five of the top 16 punters in college football are in the SEC. Which two do I pick?
15. A couple of quick college football notes — former Gator offensive coordinator Kurt Roper is the interim head coach at Colorado. How much has that guy lost on deposits? And Kerwin Bell’s Valdosta State team is the No. 1 seed in the Div. II playoffs and will face No. 4 seed Bowie State on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Valdosta. The fewest points the Blazers scored in a game this year was 44. But Les Miles makes more sense, right?
16. In theory, Florida’s basketball trip to the Bahamas should be an advantage for the Gators in that they have been playing 11 to 12 guys and now will have three games in three days starting with Wednesday’s noon game against Oklahoma. At the same time, Florida coach Mike White knows that playing so many guys probably is affecting the lack of perimeter shooting for his team (26.1 percent from 3-point land). “I don’t know if we can continue to play this many guys and find an offensive rhythm,” White said. “So I’d like to pare it down a little bit. That said, I don’t want to hand these guys anything either. We have a few guys that are capable of being 25-minute, 27-minute-a-game guys, but they have to be 27 quality. And I want them to go take those minutes to be the best team we can be.” The Lon Kruger-coached Sooners are 3-0.
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from the excellent singer/songwriter Jason Isbell — “Everybody in my house is bawling at this Elton John commercial and that includes me and I’m also watching football.” If you haven’t seen the commercial, find it on the Interweb. Wonder what game Isbell was watching?
18. So I was listening to The Beatles Channel the other day and they were finishing up this segment where the host played the 18 songs by the Fab Four that started with singing instead of music. So I tried to name as many as I could. I settled on my five faves for a playlist:
• “If I Fell”
• “Nowhere Man”
• “I Will”
• “All My Loving”
• “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.