The Back Nine: Time will enhance appreciation for Meyer


Published: Monday, January 3, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 3, 2011 at 4:38 p.m.

The Back Nine returns after a wonderful week in Tampa, where the homeless wear fluorescent vests and the Outback Bowl's hospitality is second to none. It was a great week capped off by an emotional game.

10. I was very fortunate during the last six years to get to know Urban Meyer and his family. Meyer doesn't let a lot of people into his circle and that's why I've read a lot of "Urban we hardly knew ye" columns this weekend. For those who know Meyer, he's a great guy to be around. And I can only imagine how much greater that will be now that he doesn't have the stress of being the head coach at the University of Florida to weigh on his mind. You watch, as the years go by, Meyer will be appreciated more and more by the Gator Nation. Not that he shouldn't be appreciated now. Any coach who goes 65-15, wins two national titles, dominates Florida's rivals, brings new traditions, raises the academic profile of the football team and reclaims The Swamp has to be one of the most beloved men to ever coach at UF. And on Saturday, when it was all about him, he made it all about Ian Lockwood, the young man whose career was cut short by brain cancer. That's class, people.

11. But we move on because you either evolve or you get left behind. Will Muschamp made quite a splash with the hiring of Charlie Weis. When I first heard about it, I was blown away. When I told my radio listeners about it, I told them to pull over so they wouldn't run into any mailboxes. Already, of course, there is second-guessing by people like Lee Corso. People have to understand that Weis just wants to coach and he was limited by a head coach in Kansas City who was a former offensive coordinator. That's why he was first interested in replacing Greg Davis at Texas where he would join his son. Instead, father and son bring their act to Florida, where Weis' wife is going to love the horse country. There are going to be people who question how Muschamp can coach with the former Notre Dame coach over one shoulder and the former Florida coach over the other. You have to be a very self-assured guy, and that's what he is. I think it's a brilliant hire. And I like his defensive coordinator. His name is Will Muschamp. While Dan Quinn will get the title, you know Muschamp will have a heavy hand in the defense, kind of like Steve Spurrier and the offense from 1990-2001.

12. So you have a 6-6 record and that makes you bowl eligible. You get bowl swag, a week in a nice hotel and a head-start on next season. Those are the positives. The negative is that there are six teams that now can say they had losing seasons in 2010 because of the bowl system. Georgia, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Tennessee, East Carolina and Texas El-Paso all finished at 6-7. Middle Tennessee and Kentucky have a chance to make it eight teams. The good news? They still have fewer losses than the NFC West champs.

13. Just when you think you won't have the Big Ten to kick around anymore, the New Year's Day Massacre happens. The league that has given us so many disappointing bowl seasons and BCS championship games gave up 204 points in five losses on Saturday. Ouch. What, no Jim Delany memo about the great academics in the conference that can't count? Don't worry, Jimmy, help is on the way. New member Nebraska looked lifeless in a bowl loss to a mediocre Washington team. The tradition continues.

14. At first, I wasn't happy that the New Year's Day bowl schedule kept dwindling. Now, I like the fact that we had the Orange on Monday night and the Sugar tonight and Kentucky and Colin Kaepernick bookend the NFL's wild-card weekend, and The Hat will play Friday, and then we get the national title game Monday night. Makes the season feel longer. By the way, I have a one-game lead on Sister Hazel's Drew Copeland after seven games of our Delightful Dozen, despite my bone-headed pick of Penn State. How was I to know Matt McGloin was colorblind?

15. If I'm Derek Dooley, I figure it's all happened now and every break is going to go my way. I doubt if any coach has ever lost two games in a season where he was running off the field thinking he had a win. As bad as the Big Ten played, its officials were worse, blowing numerous calls in the Tennessee-North Carolina game and, of course, calling the 15-yarder on Kansas State in the Pinstripe Bowl. Sometimes I wonder if the reason college presidents don't have a playoff is because it would expose just how inconsistent the officials are in college football.

16. The Seattle Seahawks have nothing to apologize for. The rules are the rules. They won the division fair and square. Sure, the Bucs and Giants were better teams. So what? Alabama was a better team than UConn, but the Huskies went to a BCS bowl and the Tide did not. It will be interesting to see if the NFL looks at this one aspect — should the teams with the best records host rather than division winners? The playoffs promise to be interesting, and I appreciate one of my Super Bowl picks making the postseason (Green Bay). On the other hand, take Miami. Please.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from the very talented Stewart Mandel of SportsIllustrated.com about the Seahawks making the playoffs at 7-9: "If the NFL wants to remedy these situations, it could follow the NCAA's lead and make Seattle play an extra game in Dayton." Ha! That's funny.

18. Pounded that iPod on the treadmill in Tampa and it was needed because bowl weeks tend to be caloric. Here's three to try — "Step Out of the Car" by The Boxer Rebellion, "It Happened Today" by R.E.M. and for the old-school in you, "This Girl Is A Woman Now" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. You can listen to The Pat Dooley Show weekdays from 4-6 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at http://Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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