Back Nine: Georgia should thank SEC for trip to Atlanta


Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 5, 2012 at 8:47 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after another great weekend that included late night football Saturday, seeing Kelsey shine on the UF volleyball court Sunday and an evening chill enough to crank up the fire pit. Summer is finally over. I know that because I heard a sandhill crane Monday morning.

10. Two things — 1. You can only play the schedule you are handed, and 2. College football isn't always fair. It appears Georgia will waltz into Atlanta as the representative of the SEC East. When the Bulldogs are there, they should seek out SEC officials and thank them for expanding to 14 teams. That expansion had as much to do with the Bulldogs winning the East as Aaron Murray and Mark Richt. Instead of playing Alabama, Georgia played Missouri, which has won one conference game. Georgia had to play two games against teams currently in the BCS top 15 and split them. Florida went 3-1 against its four top-15 opponents. But when they went face-to-face, Georgia won. The truth is that when the computer spit out a second straight easy West schedule for Georgia, they might as well have printed Murray's picture on the SEC Championship Game tickets. This isn't to slight Georgia. The Doggies will be 11-1 after Saturday's win over the dumpster fire known as Auburn. It's just to point out that in college football, it's rarely a level playing field. Because it's not just Georgia. Alabama is the best team in the conference and beat LSU head-to-head. But the Tide played Missouri and Tennessee, a pair of teams who are not bowl eligible, from the East while LSU played top-15 teams Florida and South Carolina, who are both in the BCS top 10. I'm not saying there is a solution. It's just the way it is. Next season, as you know, Georgia plays LSU. Unless there is more expansion.

11. This week has the potential for a classic letdown game for a Florida team that has played eight straight SEC games. But the Gators need to pay attention to Louisiana-Lafayette. Remember when everyone was in love with Louisiana-Monroe early in the season after they knocked off Arkansas and took Auburn to overtime? Lafayette just beat that team 40-24 on the road. The Ragin' Cajuns have dual-threat quarterback in Terrance Broadway who has thrown for seven touchdowns in his last two games. I'm just saying you'd hate to see all the hard work and progress tainted by a loss to a Sun Belt team.

12. On Oct. 19 of next year, Florida will play at Missouri in a rematch of Saturday's game. Gary Pinkel probably has grown tired of seeing Will Muschamp on the other sideline. Only twice in Mizzou's last 93 games have the Tigers been held to seven points in a game. One was Saturday when they lost 14-7 to Florida. The other was in 2009 when Texas beat Missouri 41-7 and Muschamp was the Longhorns' defensive coordinator. I don't think there is any question about Florida's defense under Muschamp, but the Gators need to figure out a way to throw the ball down the field, even if the passes don't connect. Mizzou was playing all 11 defenders within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage and at times 10 of those defenders were within six yards.

13. Which brings us to the rumors involving Brent Pease. Because he is at a successful program and because of his success at Boise and because he is a former Kentucky assistant, his name is going to be linked to the now-vacant UK job. But would it excite a fan base to bring in a coach whose offense currently ranks 103rd in the country? I guess anything would be an improvement because Kentucky is next to last. I've said this for the last decade with the Kentucky program — you have to hire an offensive guy who thinks outside the box. You cannot get the players to be a normal football team. And I can't help but wonder if the move was made now so UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart could get a head start on Bobby Petrino. You know, before Auburn gets in the mix.

14. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been giving you my Heisman Trophy ballot here, but to be honest with you, I have no idea who I am voting for right now. Is Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein injured or will he play? Do I take the first three-plus quarters of AJ McCarron's performance or the last drive which ended in a screen pass when I evaluate him? And what do I do about Kenjon Barner (Oregon RB)? I think it's time to step away from the ballot (although there actually is no ballot anymore because it's all done electronically) and take a deep breath. I'll re-visit it Saturday.

15. When FSU plays Virginia Tech on Thursday night it could have major implications in the ACC's Coastal Division. Miami has control of the division, but is still contemplating whether to take another postseason ban (there were premature reports this weekend the decision had already been made). If the 'Canes do, they can't play in the ACC title game. Neither can North Carolina, which is already in the NCAA's jailhouse. If the Hokies somehow pull it together Thursday night, they would be tied with Duke and Georgia Tech, two teams they have already beaten. With Boston College and Virginia left, Virginia Tech (4-5 on the season) could be playing for a chance to win a championship Thursday night. There, I gave you a reason to watch.

16. You know when Pitt missed the game-winning field goal against Notre Dame the Irish had two players wearing the same number on the field, which should have been a penalty? I'm not going to get on my rant about how ridiculous it is that there are so many duplicate numbers when no team ever dresses 99 players for a game. But if the officials aren't going to pay attention, maybe it's time to look at the rule (which is there only to help recruiting because players want to have certain numbers) again. But I'm not going to get off on a rant.

17. The Tweet of the Week goes to Georgia senior, and aspiring journalist, Mike Reiter — “Notre Dame has beaten 3-6 Purdue, 5-4 BYU & 4-5 Pittsburgh each by 3 points. Does anyone really want to see them play Alabama?” Well, yes, ESPN would for the ratings and the guys covering the game would love the angle of a historic game but if you're a pure football fan, you'd much rather see Oregon against Bama.

18. The countdown to hip replacement surgery is under a month so the iPhone has to be loaded up. Try these — “San Francisco” by The Mowgli's, “Twisted Road” by Neil Young and Crazy Horse and for the old school in you “Back Seat of My Car” by Paul McCartney, my favorite song on “Ram.”

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

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