The Back Nine: SEC can afford to take its time on realignment

Texas A&M fans cheer during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Nebraska Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010, in College Station, Texas. (The Associated Press)

Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 15, 2011 at 11:27 p.m.

This should be an exciting week for The Back Nine with a new time slot for radio, a new appreciation for salmon (thanks to Mike and Michelle) and a new trip to Northwest Florida coming up. Oh yeah, and it's almost time for some football.

10. So basically, here is what happened — the SEC presidents didn't make an impulse buy. Instead of ramming Texas A&M through and then trying to figure it all out, they know they are in no hurry. The refrigerator is working fine, why jump at the chance to add a new one. The Back Nine still believes Texas A&M will end up an SEC team, but the league's presidents are presiding over a Rolls Royce, not an Edsel. They're going to do this the right way. But it sure made for a fun couple of days as we wait for some real football.

11. So I'm in a local store buying a dishwasher (the day got better eventually) and ESPN is projecting what the new 14-team SEC will look like. And it included Clemson and FSU. Trust me, FSU and Clemson will not be invited to the SEC. Perhaps this rumor was floated by someone from the Skinny 12 to persuade Florida and South Carolina to fight the A&M move? Stranger things have happened. It's almost like the NFL Draft where general managers leak bad information to cause other teams to panic and trade up. At any rate, the speculation and denials will be flowing like cheap beer at a tailgate. I'll give you all of the ACC and take the field. Bet?

12. There's no truth to the rumor A&M decided not to join the SEC when the Aggies found out Jordan Reed might return punts for the Gators this year. That's scary. Other reasons Texas A&M was worried about the SEC — the mascot Reveille was getting nervous around Tennessee fans; they missed the chance to tackle Tim Tebow; they didn't want to play against their future bosses (Vanderbilt); any conference that celebrates with cow bells, toilet paper and a crowing rooster may not be for them. Go ahead and send me your best ones.

13. Hmmm, the final major of the year had ratings like a reality show about accountants. It's not just that Tiger Woods can't play anymore or that Phil Mickelson again was a big tease on Saturday. The casual fan can live with Rory and Dustin and Adam battling down the stretch. But not Keegan and Jason. It sounds like an indie folk band. Or a Disney show. The PGA showed us how many great golfers there are out there, because those two guys could have spotted Tiger three a side and smoked him. But what golf needs right now is some wow factor that doesn't come from a caddie.

14. I get the safety issue. But if the NFL is going to have kickoffs from the 35-yard line, it might as well eliminate them altogether. Four minutes of commercials, kickoff out of the end zone, four more minutes of commercials. That's no way to build an audience. I don't want anyone to get hurt either, but it would be like eliminating the triple from baseball. Sorry, you have to stop at second. We don't want any pulled hammies.

15. Dan Uggla's hitting streak was one of the most improbable in Major League Baseball history, but it was fun for this Braves fan while it lasted. At least Uggla didn't do what Pete Rose did when his 44-game streak was snapped by the Braves and Gene Garber and complain that the Braves had the audacity to try to get him out. And while the Back Nine is talking Braves baseball, prayers go out to the family left behind by the passing of Ernie Johnson Sr. And by family I mean all of us who spent afternoons and evenings listening to him. No Ernie, no Skip. I feel like I've lost a piece of my heart.

16. The next time one of these NFL experts is ridiculing one of your favorite players, ask him or her where he had Aaron Maybin in his or her mock draft two years ago. OK?

17. Tweet of the Week comes from New York area writer Gregg Rosenthal — “Listening to the Sports Reporters talk about football is like listening to Woody Paige talk about soccer.” You are correct, sir.

18. I'm heading out to see the good people of Northwest Florida this weekend with stops at Gator Clubs in Panama City, Destin, Pensacola and Tallahassee. So you know the iPod will be essential. Try these downloads — “October” by Broken Bells, “Simple Girl” by Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and for the old school in you “96 Tears” by ? and The Mysterians.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at You can listen to The Dools and 'Dozo Show weekdays from noon-2 p.m. on 104.9 FM. And follow at

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