Back Nine: Manziel silent


Texas A&M not letting quarterback Johnny Manziel talk to the media could cost him Heisman votes. (The Associated Press)

Published: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 12, 2012 at 11:28 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a weekend that was, well, I guess memorable is the best word to use.

10. Heisman Trophy voting is still a couple of weeks away, but if the season ended today I know who would be my pick — Johnny Manziel. But I don't know if I would vote for him. Because he is a redshirt freshman? Had I been a voter in 1980, I would have voted for Herschel Walker as a true freshman. No, the reason I may have to leave Manziel off my ballot is because he is not an all-in student-athlete. Kevin Sumlin, who may well be the SEC's coach of the year, is one of the coaches who has the ridiculous policy of not letting freshmen talk to the media. It's one thing when they are true freshmen, but to not let a redshirt freshman who has been on your campus for more than a year talk to the media is inane. He can handle the improvisational offense that just knocked off the No. 1 team but he can't be asked about his favorite player growing up? Will Muschamp has the policy that we cannot talk to true freshmen, but we can talk to redshirt freshmen. He knows I don't agree with him on that, especially when you have a true freshman starting at quarterback for the University of Florida as he did last year. But if Manziel does not win the Heisman or even get the trip to New York, well, I'm just one vote but I know a lot of people in the national media who feel the same way. Supposedly, Manziel may finally speak to the media if he does go to New York for the Heisman, but I'm guessing that will just be the ESPN folks who pay for the rights. I'm still not sure how my ballot will look and I know that none of you sympathize with the media. I'm just saying that this censorship policy will play a part in my vote and the votes of others.Here's what Dennis Dodd wrote on CBS Sports website — “If Manziel's Heisman candidacy dies on the vine, don't blame the media. By interviewing him, we — TV, Internet, print — promote him in some small way. That's what coaches don't get. And you can't promote what you can't speak to.” Interesting that we can't talk to Manziel, but A&M will start selling his jerseys this week.

11. As long as I'm ranting, can that be the end of the orange jerseys? I know the players like them, but to me they represent a time when the Gators never won anything except probation. Some of you like them, but I will point out that the Gators have worn them three times in the last three years and the results are hardly positive. A season-changing loss to LSU in 2010, a season-opening win over Florida Atlantic in 2011 and a near disaster in 2012 against Louisiana. Burn 'em, I say.

12. The coolest thing I saw over the weekend wasn't a basketball game on a ship or the reshuffling of the BCS. It was Texas opening its game against Iowa State in the wishbone as a tribute to the late Darrell K. Royal. The least cool thing I saw was Auburn's performance against Georgia. At least show some effort, fellas. I can't help but wonder who Auburn will hire to replace Gene Chizik. Hey, Tommy Tuberville may be available after he slapped one of his Texas Tech assistants Saturday. One thing about these coaching vacancies in the SEC (and there will likely be four of them since Derek Dooley also appears to be finished and Arkansas and Kentucky are open) is that there are not a lot of movable, hot coaching prospects. Sonny Dykes at Louisiana Tech may be the hottest and could end up at Kentucky. The best available coach is Bobby Petrino, but you have to be able to afford the baggage fee.

13. Dan Wetzel made a great point over the weekend when he wrote on Yahoo.com that Florida State is having a huge impact on the BCS this season. Not because the 'Noles are a one-loss team, but because they beat Notre Dame last year in a bowl game and that hurt the Irish in the preseason polls. That's a big reason why they are No. 3 and need Oregon or Kansas State to lose to play for a national title despite being the No. 1 team in the country according to the computers. Meanwhile, the computers despise FSU, which is why the Semis are sixth in both polls and 10th in the BCS with no shot at playing for a national title. FSU is ranked no higher than 14th by the computers and is unranked by two of them. The problem is identifying FSU's second-best win right now. And even if they beat Florida at the end of the season, they'll be playing a bad team in the ACC title game. Meanwhile, if you take a look at the BCS standings there is only one team that has three wins over top-10 teams and that is your Florida Gators. The top three teams have the same number of top-10 wins as Mr. Blutarsky's GPA in “Animal House” — zero point zero.

14. If you are scoring at home, there are 57 teams who are now bowl-eligible and 33 who have been eliminated from the bowl season. The SEC has eight teams that will definitely go bowling with four more (Tennessee, Missouri, Ole Miss and Arkansas) which still have a shot. The SEC right now has more bowl-eligible teams than the Big East and ACC combined (seven).

15. So, the Florida basketball team is a game-and-a-half into this season and I like what I'm seeing so far. Obviously, the Gators don't want Kenny Boynton to have to play the point all year because it will wear him down. Scottie Wilbekin will return eventually from his suspension to help solve that issue. Friday night was half a treat watching the Gators play in a different environment until the condensation took over (a half hour after the game was called, the backboards were so fogged up you couldn't see through them). It will be interesting to see what happens with these games played on ships. Not only was one canceled and one stopped at halftime, but San Diego State shot 1-for-18 from 3-point land against Syracuse on a windy day on the USS Midway in San Diego. The game was moved from Friday to Sunday because of weather.

16. A story you may have missed over the weekend was Antron Brown becoming the first African-American to win a major auto racing season championship when he won NHRA's Top Fuel. Brown's first-ever NHRA start came at the Gatornationals in 1998 when he was a Pro Bike rider. He failed to qualify then but worked his way up to Top Fuel and won the title despite getting knocked off in the first round in Pomona on Sunday and suffering burns on his hands when his engine caught fire.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Los Angeles Times college football writer Chris Dufresne, one of the best in the business — “What a (BCS computer) drag: Alabama's next two opponents W. Carolina (Southern) and Auburn (SEC) combined 0-14 in league play. (3-17 all).” That is not good for the Tide, as Alabama tries to claw its way back into the national title argument.

18. As I was leaving the press box Saturday, fellow journalist Marty Cohen suggested I Google the Avett Brothers appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” as they played “I And Love And You” with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. I did and now I'm suggesting it to you. Go ahead. I'll wait. OK? When you're done watching, try these downloads — “Paradigm Sift” by The Epilogues, “Where the Kids Are” by Blondfire and for the old school in you “Awaiting On You All” by George Harrison.

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