Back Nine: A&M oddly amazing


Florida coach Will Muschamp, right, celebrates their win with defensive lineman Dominique Easley (2) after an NCAA college football game against Texas A&M, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in College Station, Texas. (The Associated Press)

Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 10, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after the first road weekend of the season and a unique view of a football game from what some people have called “the press box on the moon.”

10. I was asked while I was out there and since I got back about my impressions of my first Kyle Field experience and there's only one way to describe it — it was odd. Not odd in a bad way, but there is nothing like it anywhere in college football. It starts with the people, who are quick with a “Howdy” when you are walking to the stadium. They are very friendly. The stadium itself is, well, odd. I've never seen a stadium that could seat 87,000 but has so much open space. As I said on Twitter, I could see Russia from my press box seat. The crowd was no louder than the best SEC environments, but it was sustained longer than most places. Watching the cadets march around the field before the game was an amazing sight. They have a lot of traditions there, but perhaps the most amazing thing was that the fans are allowed on the field after the game as if it were a park. I thought UAA administrators were going to faint. Overall, I was glad I got to experience it.

11. I don't know if it was the fact that it was a big game or that A&M was a big rival for Will Muschamp when he was at Texas, but he took a couple of shots after the big win. On TV, he said how much fun it was to “disappoint all of these people” and then in the news conference talked about ruining the “glory story.” I think some of it was that he wasn't thrilled that the SEC chose to throw A&M a bone by letting them host right out of the blocks in conference play and that they chose Florida to be the team that had to travel to College Station. At any rate, Muschamp was one happy dude after that game and one reason was obvious. When you tell your players for a year-and-a-half that this is the way we can win and then it finally happens in an important game, they are going to buy in even more.

12. Ah, to be a football fan in the city of Miami. First, the Hurricanes get thrashed by Kansas State and then the Dolphins live up to preseason expectations by laying an egg in their opener. It's not going to get better because sanctions are coming for the college team and more misery for the pro team. “If you lose in all three phases, that's the head coach's fault,” said Hurricanes coach Al Golden. “So that's on me. It's my fault. I'm not making any excuses. I am here to go to work, and we have a lot of great kids that are going to bounce back this week.” Yeah, because this week it's Bethune-Cookman. But the Back Nine thinks this is going to be a rough year for the U (which forced one Kansas State punt) and the Fins.

13. And, of course, for Arkansas. This just goes to show how unpredictable college football can be. If I told you two weeks ago that Alabama-Arkansas wasn't going to be the biggest game in the SEC in Week 3 you'd have thought I was crazy. It's easy to blame John L. Smith for the loss to Louisiana-Monroe and someone who was there told a media friend of mine he'd never seen a more disorganized team in the fourth quarter of the game. Tyler Wilson's injury didn't help especially when backup Brandon Allen threw 13 straight incompletions and the 'Backs had 32 yards in their last six possessions. But the defense so far has allowed 872 yards to Jacksonville State and ULM. You know whose fault this is — Bobby Petrino's.

14. And who would have thought we'd be looking forward to the UCLA-Oregon State game in two weeks. I thought Jim Mora was a shaky hire for the Bruins, but he has taken an offense that couldn't get out of its own way and turned it into a powerhouse. Part of the credit goes to running back Johnathan Franklin, who leads the NCAA in rushing. Amazingly, the Bruins are 2-0 despite leading the country in penalties. And Mike Riley has gone from the hot seat after going 8-16 the last two years to being celebrated in Corvallis after the win over Wisconsin.

15. The Tim Tebow bashing continues among the NFL so-called experts who are questioning Rex Ryan's decision to play the former Florida quarterback in the Wildcat. Tebow was actually booed by Jets fans when a Wildcat play went nowhere. He did recover an onside kick, so he's got that going for him. But Ryan said after the game that he believes it helps to have the package because the opposing defense has to waste time getting ready for it. Eventually, they're going to have him try a “rocker” play or a jump pass, but right now he's helping the team no matter how much the anti-Tebites want to protest.

16. So who has had a better summer — Rory McIlroy or Serena Williams. Williams has won more majors, but I think it's harder to win as much on the PGA Tour, especially when you're going up against Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Lee Westwood and Dustin Johnson. Either way, both athletes have helped the popularity of their sports. And it has been fun to watch between football games.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from sportscaster and blogger Len Berman of ThatsSports.com — “Most yardage gained yesterday? Tim Tebow running in and out of the game. He gets frequent flyer miles for that, right?”

18. The iPod is jealous because now that I no longer have a DumbPhone I didn't take the iPod to College Station. But I did enjoy some tunes on the long plane rides. Try these out — “Up In Smoke” by Blackberry Smoke, “Female Robbery” by The Neighbourhood and for the old school in you “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby and The Range.

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