Back Nine: Georgia's response?


The Bulldogs had to recover an onside kick late to put away Kentucky. (The Associated Press)

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 22, 2012 at 11:03 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after another one of those special weekends at the Dooley Dome. And how good will this week be? Florida-Georgia Saturday and The Avett Brothers Thursday night? Yeah, I'm pretty pumped.

10. There seems to be a lot of pessimism coming from the north concerning the big game in Jacksonville on Saturday. Maybe it's Mark Richt's 3-8 record against the mighty Gators. Maybe it's the fact South Carolina blew out Georgia and two weeks later was blown out by Florida. Maybe it's that Florida sleep-walked to a blowout win over Kentucky and Georgia needed to recover an onside kick against the Kitties to protect a win. First of all, don't compare scores. If I've taught you anything over the years, it should be this — every game is its own game. Circumstances change and teams evolve. What happened two weeks ago or last week has little to do with what will happen this week. As Will Muschamp said, there's not a lot of margin for error with this Florida team. And, Georgia fans, no matter what has happened, you're going to Jacksonville with a chance to virtually clinch the SEC East. One would think you'd be fired up. Florida is a slight favorite and the Atlanta Journal Constitution's Jeff Schultz wrote a blog about how when he tweeted that he was inundated with tweets from Georgia fans questioning why it wasn't a lot more.

11. A couple of soundbites from Saturday went viral over the weekend. One of them was Muschamp's halftime interview with the Gator Radio Network's Brady Ackerman. Ackerman had to wait while Muschamp berated the officials coming off the field. Then in the interview the Florida coach — at the top of his voice — screamed about how the Gators “HAVE TO OVERCOME THE ADVERSITY ON THE FIELD!!!!!!!” Wait, I forgot an exclamation point. ! Ackerman usually asks Muschamp two questions at halftime but, “I didn't feel the need to ask a second one,” he said. Muschamp wasn't upset about the calls that had Gator fans booing, but at the no-calls on South Carolina's linemen for holding. The head official, Matt Loeffler, was one of those who came to the SEC from the Big 12 and this was his first game in The Swamp. The other soundbite was Ryan Lochte's prediction during the GameDay picks segment. Lochte was the celebrity picker and when asked about LSU-Texas A&M he picked … wait for it … Auburn. It's not that he picked Auburn to win the wrong game that made him look vapid. It was that he picked Auburn to win ANY GAME!! Wait, I forgot an exclamation point. ! There. It was obvious Lochte had either written down or had someone else write down and he skipped over one. His “Spicoli” persona seems to be working for him. Google “SNL” and “Lochte” for a hilarious parody with Seth McFarlane. “Oh man, it feels so weird to be dry.”

12. The thing about the SEC that makes it so difficult? I call them the “Tripleheaders From Hell.” Most teams have them and sometimes you don't realize how tough they are until you go through them. South Carolina just went through its TFH and it changed their season and not for the better. LSU made it through its TFH with only one loss and its hopes still alive. Alabama is about to go through its TFH — Mississippi State, at LSU, Texas A&M. Until you experience one of these as a player or as a coach or even as a fan, you just don't get the SEC.

13. I know that Urban Meyer's reputation around these parts took a hit when he went to Ohio State, but you have to be impressed that his team is unbeaten so far this year. I watched the end of their miraculous win over Purdue and couldn't help but be concerned over the stress you could see on his face. And then I read this quote — “We've got so much work to do there's not enough hours in the day.” I don't think he has changed one bit. And I just hope he is able to stay healthy.

14. It's about this time of the year that I start to take my Heisman Trophy ballot seriously. All the hype before the last Saturday in October? I see it as “Coming Attractions.” Now it's time to put some thought into it and have a ballot in one's head. Mine right now would read like this — 1. Collin Klein, quarterback, Kansas State (but cool it with the mail-outs, K-State, especially the ones with the Band-aid on it); 2. Manti Te'o, linebacker, Notre Dame; 3. A.J.McCarron, quarterback, Alabama. It is, of course, subject to change and change drastically. Just look at how Geno Smith went from being the runaway winner two weeks ago to being off most ballots this week.

15. When Florida's schedule for 2013 came out last week, two thoughts went through my head. 1. Good for me. Two open dates to watch college football; 2. Bad for Muschamp. Only six home games and you start the season with a team that just knocked Cincinnati from the ranks of the unbeaten. Toledo is as pretty good football team and then the Gators travel to Miami. That's hardly a soft opening. Florida picks up Arkansas, but we have no idea who the coach will be. Think it will be a storyline if it's Charlie Strong and he returns to The Swamp?

16. Two teams had huge wins Saturday in the SEC and they had a lot in common. Florida won against South Carolina and LSU won at Texas A&M and neither team threw for 100 yards. That's three straight games for the Gators under 100 yards passing. I would hope nobody's complaining.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from the legendary Paul Finebaum — “Isolated support remains for (Derek) Dooley in Knoxville. You would need an APB to find any for (Gene) Chizik here today.” I picked Vandy to beat Auburn so I'm not surprised. But Chizik would have to beat Texas A&M, Georgia and Alabama (assuming the Tigers win their two “revenue” games remaining) to go 6-6. More than likely, it's going to be 3-9 or 4-8. That's not good.

18. I ran into a couple of people at the tailgates who said they really like my music choices in the Back Nine. It's good to know there are people out there with excellent taste. Try these downloads — “Unstable” by Anberlin, “Put The Gun Down” by ZZ Ward and for the old school in you “Laugh, Laugh” by the Beau Brummels.

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