Back Nine: Manziel-mania enters dangerous territory

Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel takes questions during Day 2 of the 2013 SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala., on July 17.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 5, 2013 at 11:28 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after a wonderful weekend with the family and a way-too-early root canal Monday morning. Actually, is there ever a good time for a root canal?

10. It's almost like Johnny Manziel's camp has decided that bad publicity is better than no publicity. The latest issue with the signatures could end up killing the rest of his college career. Texas A&M may come to the conclusion it doesn't want to forfeit games if the NCAA proves money exchanged hands. On the other hand, the Aggies may say, “Hey, as inept as the NCAA is we might win a national title before they come to any conclusion, and they still might not get to the bottom of the story.” (See: Auburn and Cam Newton). I read Wright Thompson's piece on Manziel in ESPN The Magazine and came away feeling that this is a situation that is going to explode at some point. Maybe it just did. All I know is this — there was a quarterback at Florida a few years back who had more demands, more adoration, more expectations. He handled it the right way.

11. The first coaches poll came out and immediately there was some grinding of teeth because of which teams were ranked where. I know it matters little where you are at when the season begins. But also know this — Auburn and Oregon met for the national title when they were preseason 23rd and 11th, respectively. Notre Dame was 24th last year. Florida was eighth in 2006 and managed to make the final game despite having a loss. The point is that it really isn't that important where you are ranked now. If you're in the second 10 or 15, you probably can't afford a loss. The top-10 teams can. Maybe. Because other than going out and winning every game, a lot of the postseason depends on what other teams do. Still, I've always been a fan of the preseason polls and do not agree with waiting until the middle of the season to release them. It gives us something to talk about, and I think it's much cooler to have No. 5 playing No. 8 than just Georgia playing Clemson.

12. Again, it might not mean anything, but four of the top seven teams in the coaches' poll are from the SEC and 11 of the 14 SEC teams received at least one vote. It may be a bit optimistic for a voter to have given Tennessee that one 25th-place vote, especially with the schedule the Vols have to face. Sometimes a fresh face in the coach's office makes people forget about the problems that exist in a program. It almost always takes nine wins to get ranked at the end of the season, and I don't see nine wins for Tennessee.

13. Is this A-Rod thing over yet? For weeks we hear about a suspension and then it's this week and then it's that week. Who's running the investigation, the NCAA?

14. My third book should be hitting the bookstores soon. I received my advance copies of “100 Things Florida Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die” on Friday. I think it's my best one yet with a lot of juicy nuggets of information and a foreword by Danny Wuerffel. Keep an eye out for signings at local bookstores and restaurants.

15. I know why UF changed the way it re-broadcasts the football games on Sunday mornings (it's cheaper) in the summer and I appreciate it (although it appears they skipped over the Georgia game). But the constant shots of the same 45 fans doing the Gator chomp and the cheerleaders mugging for the cameras between plays are about to drive me crazy. I would rather see a test pattern. But that's just me.

16. Thanks, so much, Tiger Woods, for ruining another Sunday of golf for me. Woods' 61 on Friday meant everyone was playing for second place all weekend. The only entertainment factor was occasionally flipping it over to CBS to listen to the announcers trying to make things interesting. They did not. But it should be a great PGA Championship this week. I'm picking Tiger and somewhere in New York his camp just winced.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Paul Tesori, a St. Augustine guy who played golf at Florida and is now the caddy for Webb Simpson — “Bubba Watson made over 60 people happy they chose Chipotle tonight.” And he included the receipt for Watson who picked up the tab for the entire restaurant in Akron, Ohio. The total was $497.76.

18. As fast as we are approaching football season, we are also approaching the historic appearance of Mumford & Sons in St. Augustine on the very field where I used to play softball. So download these beauties — “Below My Feet” by Mumford and Sons, “Rumble and Sway” by Jamie N Commons and for you old-timers try Tom Petty's version of the old Dave Clark Five song “Any Way You Want It.”

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at

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