Back nine: Tebow's run over
Published: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 16, 2012 at 11:34 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend of, uh, well, uh, sitting on the couch for two days watching football and basketball. Yes, I am quite a catch.
10. After the BCS national title game, I was thinking how the last thing you wanted to face is Nick Saban with time to prepare and a burr under his saddle. After Saturday night, the same goes for Tom Brady. This wasn't about Brady wanting to show Tim Tebow who the star is. It was about Brady being tired of hearing about playoff stumbles the last two years. “Honestly, I didn't hear Tom mention Tebow all week,” running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis said after the blowout win. The Patriots threw a new wrinkle at the Broncos lining up former Gator Aaron Hernandez at fullback. He ended up being the leading rusher for New England with 61 yards. More than anything, the Broncos could put no pressure on Brady. And while Tebow kept producing comeback wins all season, you can't come back from 42-7.
11. So the magical run is over and the anti-Tebites are popping champagne corks and drooling all over their laptops. And we're left with Baltimore-New England and San Francisco-New York. I have a feeling we're headed for an all-Harbaugh Super Bowl. But I wouldn't bet against Brady or Eli Manning. How's that for advice?
12. So I made the mistake of writing my top 25 for college football next season Saturday morning thinking all of the players who were going to go pro had already declared. I certainly wasn't counting on Darron Thomas, the Oregon quarterback, declaring for the NFL. I would drop Oregon about five spots and elevate USC to No. 2 because the Pac-12 just got a lot easier. I made a decision a dozen years ago to not criticize players who leave early because they are the ones who have to live with the decision. It's Thomas' life, not mine or yours. I will simply point out that NFLDraftScout.com has Thomas as the 12th-best quarterback prospect … in the 2013 Draft. There's a real good chance he won't get drafted. Meanwhile, Tyler Wilson is coming back to Arkansas and if the Razorbacks can find a defense they could be a national title contender, especially because they get Alabama and LSU at home this year.
13. Florida certainly needed to have a second half like it had at South Carolina on Saturday night. The Gators didn't play that poorly on defense in the first half, but the Gamecocks were making some ridiculous shots. Florida played the kind of defense in the second half that I talked about in my column earlier in the week. You have to be able to transfer the intensity of home-court defense to the road if you're going to be successful. South Carolina isn't a great team by any means, but that's what made the game a must-win for UF. The Gator schedule is back-loaded as usual so it's crucial to get off to a good start in conference play. Plus, Florida showed it can win with Patric Young playing limited minutes. That was big.
14. One day I'm sure it won't seem strange, but on Saturday they interviewed Steve Spurrier during the South Carolina-UF game and on Sunday they interviewed Urban Meyer during the Ohio State-Indiana game. And, of course, the two best coaches in Florida football history were wearing the colors of another school. I wonder if any other football program has had a situation where its two national championship coaches are coaching other teams. Just weird.
15. That was a huge win for the women's basketball team on Sunday. You have to say this about Amanda Butler's women, they believe in playing close games. All five of their SEC games have been decided by six points or less. This is the most competitive team Butler has had at UF and the SEC seems to be as balanced as it has been in a long time. By the way, this is “We Back Pat” week in the SEC as the league tries to help Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who is battling dementia, raise money for her foundation. If you want to be involved, check out the SEC website.
16. A special Back Nine shout-out to Gainesville's 10-year-old Talia Bates, who broke a 29-year-old state record when she swam a 25.94 in the 50 freestyle swimming for the Gator Swim Club. Luckily for her she got her mom's swimming genes. Also, catch her dad's first of a five-part series on Billy Donovan turning Florida into a basketball power tonight on Sun Sports after the Miami Heat game. If you saw James Bates' special on Urban Meyer, you know it's a high quality production. The first of the five segments is on Udonis Haslem.
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from skier Lindsey Vonn, who had a big win Sunday in Italy — “I'm pretty depressed that both the Broncos and the Packers are out of the playoffs :( maybe some shopping in Venice will cheer me up!” Yeah, well, so am I but shopping at the mall isn't going to do anything for me.
18. So this part of the Back Nine has received plenty of constructive criticism over the last few weeks. I appreciate all of the suggestions. Try these downloads this week — “Barton Hollow” by The Civil Wars, “Chapel Song” by We Are Augustines and for the old school in you “Julie, Do Ya Love Me?” by Bobby Sherman because my wife had a crush on him when she was a little girl.