Gators’ RPI gets Magnolia bump


Published: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 11:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 30, 2012 at 11:22 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend of basketball, golf, tennis (yes, I watched the last set of the Australian final) and no football. As weird as it was to have a weekend without football, there was no way the Pro Bowl was getting any airtime at the Dooley Dome.

10. We know the SEC’s football schedule for 2012 and we know the baseball format for this spring, but what has not been decided is how next year’s basketball tournament will be configured. But we do know this — there will be an extra day of basketball now that the league consists of 14 teams. The athletic directors could make a decision when they meet next month or wait until Destin, but they certainly have a lot on their table concerning hoops (let alone every other sport). The ADs will also have to decide how to manage the new 18-game conference basketball schedule. But this much we know about the tournament — there will be Wednesday basketball next March. One proposal has two play-in games with the No. 11 team facing No. 14 and Nos. 12 and 13 playing. But there is also a proposal to have three games on Wednesday and three on Thursday so that Wednesday’s games won’t have the feel of play-in games. Either way, the top teams will receive a double-bye. And we’ll get an extra day in Nashville next year.

11. We talked about how important last week was for Florida and the RPI numbers showed it. Florida’s Magnolia Sweep over Ole Miss and Mississippi State allowed the Gators to jump more than 20 positions in RPI. Depending on whose calculations you want to go with, Florida is 15th, 16th or 17th in RPI with five of its remaining regular-season games against teams ranked in the top 36 in RPI. So what does all this mean? There’s a lot of ball left. But this team is growing on the Gator Nation.

12. So you will probably hear this week that the NFL should do away with the Pro Bowl because it is so boring and players don’t really try. But this year’s game drew a 7.9 rating in the major markets or roughly the equivalent of an NBA Finals game. That’s why the Pro Bowl isn’t going away. I wouldn’t watch it if they played in my backyard, but somebody is watching.

13. OK, time for my Super Bowl prediction. I predict that by Thursday afternoon I will have turned off sports talk radio and blocked ESPN on my television. I predict Madonna will give us a memorable halftime show, but for the wrong reasons. I predict I will use the game as an excuse to eat and drink too much. And after giving it a lot of thought, I predict the Giants will beat the Patriots 23-20. I think the Giants are physically the better team.

14. Did you see where new Jaguars owner Shad Khan said “100 percent I would have drafted Tim Tebow” if he had been the owner when the Jags picked in 2010? That, my friends, tells me this guy knows a lot more about positive public relations than his predecessor. It doesn’t matter whether he really would have or not. Just saying he would have drafted Timmy gets the Tebow fans back on your side. Good move. Now about Blaine Gabbert ...

15. Someone asked this question the other day — are recruitniks or fantasy football fanatics bigger nerds? It’s close. I enjoy fantasy football, but there’s this look my wife gives me when I start to talk about my team that cuts me off. Recruiting is another story because it’s real and real important. At the same time, we all know that having a great class on paper doesn’t always translate into great seasons on the field. I think the biggest transition for an athlete in any sport is when he or she goes from being treated like the most important person in the world while being recruited to being treated like a grunt on campus. The ones who make that adjustment usually end up having the earliest impact. Oh, did I tell you about how Fred Jackson’s injury crippled my fantasy team?

16. There are worse places to be in the spring than Gainesville if you are a fan of baseball and softball. Baseball is preseason No. 1 and softball is picked to win the SEC. Trips to the College World Series in both sports are practically written into the schedule in pen even though it is extremely difficult to make it in either one. Kevin O’Sullivan and Tim Walton may coach different genders with different pitching motions but they both know what it takes to build an elite program.

17. For the Tweet of the Week, we go to SI.com’s Richard Deitsch — “There is only one Super Bowl guarantee I make every year: Marcus Allen will be at the Playboy party.” You are correct, sir. By the way, I couldn’t help but watch the Matthew Broderick/Ferris Bueller commercial that will air during the Super Bowl on the Internet, but I wish Honda hadn’t leaked it. It would have been a pleasant surprise Sunday.

18. The iPod is back in service after I received a cortisone shot for my arthritic hip and could get back to the gym. I’m waiting until after the Madness to get it replaced. Yes, I am an old man. Try these downloads — “On The Radio” by Regina Spektor, “Turn On Tune In Drop Out With Me” by Cracker and for the old-schoolers, “The Devil Made Me Do It” by Golden Earring.

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

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top