Back Nine: Tebowmania continues


Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) celebrates after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-23 in overtime of an NFL wild card playoff football game Sunday in Denver. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 12:06 a.m.

The Back Nine had another glorious weekend although way too much of it was spent in a recliner despite the beautiful weather here in Gainesville. The high drama was too much to look away from and continued right into Monday night's BCS national title game. And now college football season is over. Sigh.

10. It didn't take long for the media boys and girls to take note of the fact Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards and averaged 31.6 yards per pass completion and wonder about divine intervention because John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”) is one of Tebow's favorite Bible passages. Tebow's 31.6 per completion average is the highest in NFL playoff history and his QBR — that funky stat ESPN devised — was also the highest ever, beating out Aaron Rodgers' against Atlanta last year. No offense to Timmy, but any stat that concludes that a quarterback who completed less than half of his passes had the best game in playoff history is just not right. Remember last week when I wrote about how Denver needed to understand that running on first down every single time was not a good strategy? Denver had 23 first-down plays and ran on 21 of them. The second time the Broncos did not — 80-yard touchdown pass in overtime to win the game. Look, the Denver coaching staff knows a lot more than I do, but it seems obvious that when the opponent has 10 men in the box, a pass play might loosen them up. And mixing in a reverse wouldn't hurt either. At the same time, we get another week of Tebowmania.

11. And Tebow gets a big pay raise. His contract includes escalators that will increase his base salary next year. Because he was the quarterback for a playoff win, Tebow will earn an extra $250,000 next year. That raises his base to $1.15 million. He also has something that Matt Ryan has yet to achieve — winning a playoff game. Now if Tebow can just figure out a way to make the officials notice when someone grabs his facemask.

12. For every winner there is a loser and they are certainly moping around in Detroit, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Two points, Atlanta? Really? Once again it amazes me how stubborn NFL coaches can be on short yardage plays. To have Ryan stuffed twice on fourth-and-1 with the game still competitive just boggles the mind. Ryan is now 0-3 in playoff games and of all the first-round losers it has to be the Falcons, who thought they made the offseason moves to take them to the Super Bowl, who have to be the most disappointed. This was the first time since 2006 that all of the home teams won their wild card games.

13. It's a long season so we don't want to overreact to Florida's fourth straight road loss in basketball, but the thing that stands out to me is the body language of this team when it goes on the road. The Gators continue to look like a team that lacks a sense of urgency and doesn't realize the other team is going to come at them hard. And while the Back Nine certainly would not point a finger at one player, Brad Beal is playing like a freshman on the road. In the four road losses, he is shooting 24.6 percent with four assists and 22 turnovers. That's not good. This Florida team still has time to figure things out, but the No. 1 thing is to figure out how to win on the road.

14. It's a good thing it is a long season, because the SEC again was less than impressive in the pre-conference portion of the schedule and needs some teams to have strong SEC records or the league could be struggling to get six teams into the Big Dance. Right now, Joe Lunardi's bracketology has five in — Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Alabama. Two teams to watch out for in the West — Arkansas and LSU.

15. We might not have heard the last from the Turkey Creek golf course, which has been closed since April. There will be an informational meeting Jan. 17 and a vote will be finalized in Feb. 15. The hope is that 75 percent of the 1,268 homeowners will agree to a $15 per month assessment that will be an enticement to lure a new owner. No fees would be collected until a new owner is found, but the thought is that the $200,000 or so that would be collected annually would be a carrot for new ownership. We'll see.

16. It keeps looking like we are inching closer to a system that is not simply No. 1 vs. No. 2 for the BCS title. Bill Hancock, the BCS spokesman, said in New Orleans on Monday morning that everything will be on the table and there is no leader in the clubhouse. A great point he made — if it was a plus-one, Stanford would be in as the No. 4 team, but Pac-12 champion Oregon (No. 5) would not. Of course, if you had an eight-team playoff, Stanford and Oregon would play in the first round. I still believe the plus-one is going to happen, but it's not going to make us happy because teams 5, 6 and 7 will have a legitimate complaint. But I do know this — even with all of the high-scoring crazy games I found bowl season to be kind of boring.

17. Tweet of the Week goes to Lady Gaga. Yes, you read that correctly, Lady Gaga — “Giants fan but wow. #Tebow Thats what a (expletive) champion looks like.” The disturbing thing is that she is a Giants fan. I always figured the Gaga for a Raiders fan since she often dresses like one.

18. The iPod got a much-needed workout last week thanks to too many burgers, wings and a wonderful meatloaf sandwich Sunday. Try these downloads — “Alone Again Or” by Love, “I Turn My Camera On” by Spoon and for the old school in you “The One I Love” by R.E.M. which I learned how to play over the weekend. Sort of.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at dooleyp@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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