It's UF-LSU week, but Europeans owned the weekend
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 1, 2012 at 11:36 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after an open date weekend that lived up to expectations. But only if you like football, the Ryder Cup, grilling and winning golf tournaments.
10. If you're not a golf fan and didn't watch, you probably should skip ahead. If you are devastated by the Americans loss in the Ryder Cup, you should probably move on to No. 12. Because Sunday's singles matches were amazing. Sure, I was pulling for the United States so hard I nearly pulled a back muscle trying to will Phil Mickelson's chip on 17 into the hole. But the Ryder Cup isn't just the best event in golf. It may be the best event in sports. I know, I'm a football guy and March Madness makes me tingle and I have too many shirts from The Masters. But for six hours, I ignored the NFL and was riveted. Disappointed? Sure. But there is no higher drama than the Ryder Cup.
11. OK, so did the Euros win it or the Americans lose it? There was a lot of both Sunday. Certainly, the Europeans made more putts than the Americans, but that also means the U.S. missed more putts. Especially Jim Furyk. I've read where people say the match changed when Justin Rose made that bomb on 17, but we still could have won it had Furyk not missed those putts on 17 and 18. Europe didn't win because they wanted it more. I think the opposite is true. I think we wanted it too much. Did you see Furyk after the miss on 18? I felt bad for the guy. There will be some second-guessing of Davis Love III like it is for any losing captain. The decision that many will question is sitting down the red-hot team of Keegan Bradley and Mickelson on Saturday afternoon. I get that he didn't want anyone playing all five matches, but sometimes you have to adjust your thinking based on what is going on.
12. It's Florida-LSU week and it's nice to have that big-game atmosphere around here again. Certainly, LSU has struggled the last two weeks, barely beating Auburn and floundering around in a win over Towson. As a result, the Tigers went from second in the country and receiving first-place votes to fourth in the country and trending down. But you can bet LSU will come in here with a different mindset. The Tigers are a field-goal favorite. It's going to be a fun week.
13. As it was a fun Saturday watching games at the Dooley Dome. Now we see why the Big 12 wanted West Virginia. The Mountaineers fit right in to the “no defense for you” style of the league. Geno Smith has jumped into the lead of the Heisman Trophy race after throwing for 656 yards and eight touchdowns against Baylor. But this week the Mountaineers face Texas and while Smith is No. 1 in the nation in pass efficiency, Texas quarterback David Ash is second. With that game, Florida-LSU, Georgia-South Carolina and even Miami-Notre Dame, October is starting out with a bang.
14. When we saw Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M earlier this season, we knew we were looking at a special player. Johnny Football keeps putting up impressive numbers. He has 1,460 yards of total offense with 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions along with six rushing TDs in four games. And he's completing 70 percent of his passes. What he's doing makes Florida's second-half effort against Manziel that much more impressive. As I'm sure you remember, in that second half he had only 32 passing yards and 19 rushing yards. After the game, Will Muschamp said he was happy he wouldn't have to face him next year. But who knows who will be on Florida's schedule next year? Hopefully, the league will come out with the schedule sooner than later. Inquiring minds want to know.
15. It was Chipper Jones weekend in Atlanta, as the great Brave was playing in his last regular-season series. And fittingly, he went out with a win over the Mets, the team he terrorized during his career in Atlanta. I'm a Braves fan so I'm a little biased here, but I think it's great that Atlanta is in the postseason in his last year. Jones got emotional Sunday and I have to hand it to the fickle Atlanta fans who filled the stadium for each of the final three games. As a side note, I know why baseball came up with the one-game wild-card playoff. I get all the reasons. But I think it stinks. You play 162 games and then it's a one-and-done? Not cool.
16. After the Jets miserable performance Sunday there is a lot of chirping for Tim Tebow. Heck, Jimmy Johnson was calling for the move at halftime. Mark Sanchez is horrible, but the weapons (and offensive line) around him are as much of the problem. I don't think Timmy is the answer because I don't think there is an answer. It will be interesting to see where this goes. Rex Ryan said he didn't think replacing his starting quarterback would solve the problem but he also added, “Time will tell.”
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from ESPN's Rick Reilly — “This is all on that Chicago cop who got Rory McIlroy to the course on time.” I'm sure there are a lot of people who were thinking that if the officer had not given McIlroy a police escort, he would have forfeited his match and the U.S. would have won. But I'm not sure we would have enjoyed winning like that. It must be nice to be so young that you don't need to warm up to go out and play the way he did.
18. New albums by The Dave Matthews Band, The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons all within a week or so of each other? Football season got even better. Try these downloads — “Babel” by Mumford and Sons, “Yet Again” by Grizzly Bear and for the old school in you “Baby Now That I've Found You” by The Foundations. And a special shout-out to Howard Freeman and the wonderful people at Stop Children's Cancer for putting on another great tournament Friday. Somehow, despite a hip that forced me to play on one leg and not swinging a club since July, my team carried me to a win. You've heard of old-man football? I'm playing old-man golf now. But it was a great event that raised a lot of money for a great cause.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.