Back Nine: Bittersweet Sunday followed by a busy Monday
Published: Monday, April 29, 2013 at 5:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 29, 2013 at 11:43 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a bittersweet Sunday. Seeing Billy Horschel win his first tournament was a tremendous high after the low of knowing it would have been my mother's birthday.
10. Ok, so we can go back to not liking the Jets again, now that they have released Tim Tebow after totally blowing the one season they had with him. They dumped him in the wee hours of Monday morning probably too late for the former Florida quarterback to land anywhere else. Never has so much attention been given to the release of a third-string quarterback, but that's the circus that comes with Tim Tebow. The sad thing is that Tebow gets criticized for the attention he receives when none of it is his fault. Has he been arrested or failed a drug test or beaten his girlfriend? Of course not. The baggage he carries with him is that so many people love him. Isn't that terrible? (My wife, for example, insists that I turn the channel any time John Elway is on the screen because of the way he treated Tebow in Denver). I've been asked 100 times since the end of the NFL season what I think about Tebow's future. And I've told everyone the same thing. I think he's done in the NFL. It's not going to make anyone like him any less and he's going to be just fine. But I just don't think any NFL teams are going to be interested. Now go prove me wrong, Timmy.
11. Is the NFL Draft over? Maybe Twitter can get back to normal now. I'm a Twitter addict, but it was just getting ridiculous. I'm not going to tell you who I think had a great draft or who blew it because nobody knows. There is no NFL team that drafted poorly on purpose (even when Al Davis was alive). And the truth is that there are going to be first-round busts and guys who we thought were poor picks who make Pro Bowls. I think EJ Manuel was a total reach, but he may turn out to be great. I think the Jaguars had their first productive draft in six years, but who knows? I loved the Vikings draft, but, well, you get it. It was a strange draft and I kind of look at it the way I look at National Signing Day. There will be immediate impact players, but it will be three years before you know who drafted well.
12. Speaking of recruiting, the SEC just keeps getting stronger and stronger. The rest of the country may be sick of the football dominance of the conference and to that I say, tough. When the SEC West and the SEC East each have more players drafted than any conference, it's just ridiculous. It not only shows you that the SEC is getting the best players, the conference's coaches are developing them. And that's why it's going to continue. Look, the streak has to end sometime as far as national titles goes, but SEC coaches have been walking into recruits' homes for years telling them to come play in the best conference in America. Don't you think they're going to walk in now with the NFL Draft numbers in their back pockets? The draft is simply going to perpetuate SEC dominance. If you add the players who signed as free agents, there will be more than 100 new players from the SEC in NFL camps. And that doesn't include Murphy Holloway, the Ole Miss power forward who signed with the Ravens. There may have been more tight ends in the SEC in basketball than football this year, but that's another story.
13. I thought it was interesting last week to see Clemson coach Jack Leggett wants the NCAA to adopt a livelier ball for college baseball. His complaint, and this is the talk among a lot of college coaches, is that the game has become less exciting since the new bats were introduced in 2011. “Everyone wants more offense,” Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. “But I think there has to be more testing done on the exit speed of the ball. It all comes down to how much of a difference it makes.” Here's the thing — one of the reasons the nuclear bats were booted out of college baseball was because of safety. I just don't see the NCAA doing something that would allow a batted ball to get to a pitcher's face any quicker. I didn't like it when college baseball was loaded with 18-16 games, but when home runs and batting averages are on pace to reach an all-time low, it does get a little boring. The biggest difference I see is on balls hit to gaps. They seem to just hang up forever and turn into routine outs.
14. Sunday's loss to Tennessee was not a good one for O'Sullivan's team, but the Gators are still in good shape heading to LSU. Their RPI of 19 is one of eight in the conference in the top 31. Florida's schedule is rated as the toughest in the country, which should come as no surprise. There haven't been many easy games for this team and I think it's one reason they have played so well the last three weeks.
15. After a tough loss Friday to Georgia, Tim Walton's softball team recorded a pair of huge wins the next two days. The Gators play at South Carolina this weekend and have a real chance to win the SEC. Walton has done a tremendous job with the program, but this year seemed to come out of nowhere. Florida is 47-6, which is an amazing record for a team that was picked to finish fourth in the SEC East by the coaches in the preseason.
16. The Back Nine could have some fun at the expense of the Lakers and Dwight Howard. But it's too easy. It's funny how you can't pay me to watch an NBA regular-season game, but I am mesmerized by the playoffs. Maybe it's just because of all the Gators playing. On Saturday, after watching Al Horford and Joakim Noah I wondered out loud how Florida ever lost a game with those two playing. Of course, the real winner during these playoffs is Jason Collins.
17. The Tweet of the Week is from Channing Crowder to Jelani Jenkins, two guys with something in common — “Big Fan bro. Glad ur a Dolphin. Stay focused and outwork the entire league. I'm in S. Florida if u need anything. #GoGators.” Isn't that nice?
18. For some reason, I've gotten into this habit of listening to music when I'm writing. I think it helps me block out the distraction of others chatting or TV crews breaking down their equipment in press boxes or lawnmowers outside my window. Anyway, try these downloads — “Two Fingers” by Jake Bugg, “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood and for the old schoolers we're going country today because of the passing of George Jones with “He Stopped Loving Her Today.”
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.