Back Nine: LSU will be tough, despite struggling against Auburn


Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 24, 2012 at 11:30 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend of watching an enormous amount of football and grilling out. The season is flying by again.

10. One thing you can say about Les Miles is he is consistent when it comes to clock management. And that's not a compliment. Against Auburn, LSU didn't get the field goal team on the field in time at the end of the first half and had to take a delay penalty. Drew Alleman then missed the kick in a game where points were hard to come by. I received a lot of emails and tweets after my column Sunday about how difficult the LSU game will be for Florida because so many people who watched the LSU-Auburn game were unimpressed. It certainly showed the Tigers may not be the powerhouse we thought after they struggled mightily against a defense that had been awful coming into the game. But I also want to remind everyone of one of my mantras — every game is its own game. Just like Florida's game against Bowling Green was not an indication of the team's strength, neither was LSU's narrow win Saturday. Florida is going to have to play really well to beat Miles' team.

11. If you know anything about me, you know I love college football. And you know that one of my favorite days every year is Florida's open date because I get to do what a lot of you get to do every Saturday — just watch football. And you probably also know that I am one of the few media boys who defends athletic directors for scheduling “revenue games” and teams who take paychecks to get their brains beat out so they can support their other sports. But when I looked at what we have on this Saturday, I may be changing my mind. It's hardly compelling football. Part of the problem is this one-time SEC schedule they put together that has four teams with open dates. After Georgia-Tennessee there's not much worth watching in the conference.

12. For example, take Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are leading the nation in defense and are second in offense. Impressive, huh? Well, Tommy Tuberville's team has played Northwestern State, Texas State and New Mexico. And this past Saturday, they had an open date. So we have no idea whether they're any good. Maybe it will change when we get the four-team playoff, but it probably won't until we get to eight teams. And once the conference commissioners see the amount of money four teams bring in, the eight-team playoff will be right around the corner. I hope.

13. One reason for Florida's success this year is that punter Kyle Christy has come into his own. Not only is he averaging 45.4 yards a punt, but the kicks have had such good hang time that opponents only have four yards in punt returns. When people talk about how good the SEC is, they rarely talk about punters, but of the 14 SEC teams only one (South Carolina) has a punter averaging less than 40 yards an attempt. Another reason for Florida's early success is that the Gators lead the SEC in pass defense efficiency. October will be a big test for that rating.

14. I have to hand it to the Florida fans who gutted out a difficult game to watch on one of the hottest and most humid days you'll ever see for a UF game. People want to talk about empty seats, but I think the fans deserve credit for showing up for Saturday's game and for the most part staying until the end.

15. It's Ryder Cup week, which is as good as a major when it comes to watching golf. I like the Americans' chances, but it's not going to be easy. It'd be nice if Phil Mickelson could play consistent golf and if Tiger Woods can keep it going, but no matter what it's high drama. As weak as the college football schedule is Saturday, I have a feeling there will be a lot of golf on the big TV at the Dooley Dome.

16. I didn't think I would be able to tell a big difference with replacement refs, but it's gotten to the point where I find myself wondering on every play what they are going to call. I wonder how bad the officiating is in whatever division of college football they got these guys from. Maybe we should have a telethon to raise money for the poor NFL to be able to pay the real officials their pensions.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from former Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes after the Patriots' controversial loss Sunday to the Ravens — “Can someone please tell these (bleeping) zebras foot locker called and they're needed Back at work !!!! #BreakingPoint.”

18. My poor iPod feels neglected now that I have an iPhone. Maybe I'll bring it back out for the week. Try these downloads — “Do It Anyway” by the reunited Ben Folds Five, “Slow Cruel Hands of Time” by Band of Horses and for the old school in you “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

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

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