Back Nine: SEC offenses are making headlines this year
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 10:33 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a delightful trip to Kentucky, even if it was only a little more than 31 hours. At least nobody tried to fire us in the airport.
10. Remember when the SEC was all about defense? Ah, it was so many years ago. Like 2012. What the heck is going on in this conference? Whatever it is, it has made for some enjoyable viewing. Nine teams in the league are averaging 30 or more points a game and 12 are averaging more than 400 yards a game. Florida is one of those teams with more than 400 yards per game, but I keep hearing the league has passed Florida and the only way to win now is with a great offense. Is there a chance Florida is at an advantage because it is playing such good defense and most of the rest of the league is struggling to stop anybody (although a properly motivated Alabama did this week)? I think the biggest reason that offenses are going nuts in this league is that the quarterback play is not only at a high level, but it is experienced. Of the top six passers in the SEC, five of them are seniors. The other is Johnny Manziel, so it's possible the top six passers in the league will be gone next year. So it will be back to being a defensive league. Maybe.
11.It was pointed out to me that Florida might have to keep an opponent from gaining any positive yards for me to give the defense an A in my game grades. I gave the defense a B+ last week and it should have been an A when you consider it allowed no points and 173 yards. I guess I grade this defense on a curve. At any rate, The Swamp should be electric this Saturday with the first night game since 2011. Here's your interesting statistic for the week about Arkansas — the Razorbacks lead the SEC in sacks with 15 and in fewest sacks allowed with three.
12. Sometimes you're just right. Not that I need a pat on the back. But when Lane Kiffin was hired at Southern Cal and Paul Pasqualoni was hired at UConn, I predicted neither of those situations would end well. While Tennessee fans were celebrating Kiffin's unemployment, I think it's important to consider the difficult situation he was dealing with at USC. Ah, who am I kidding? The guy is an arrogant punk who has been handed way more than he had earned and showed an indifference to his team's blowout loss at Arizona State. I think Pat Haden looks bad by firing Kiffin at the airport and then not allowing him on the team bus. I mean, couldn't it wait a half hour? If anyone gets hold of a video showing Kiffin begging for his job for 45 minutes in that airport meeting room, I bet you could make a fortune selling it on the Vols' website. The big question is who will take the job and the first name that hit me was Washington's Steve Sarkisian. We'll see. Meanwhile, Pasqualoni was fired after getting blown out by Buffalo, which I think is required by law. The guy simply isn't a head coach. Maybe UConn could hire Kiffin. Gene Chizik's available.
13. I know it's early, but Jerry Palm, who crunches numbers for CBSSports.com, projects that if we had a College Football Playoff this year (we don't) and the season ended today (thankfully, it does not), the four teams in the playoff would be Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama and Clemson. All worthy, but that would leave out unbeaten Oklahoma, FSU, Stanford and Louisville. In fact, he has a projected Chick-fil-A Bowl of Georgia vs. Louisville. The point is that if anybody believes the four-team playoff is going to stop the gnashing of teeth they are crazy. Trust me, when the cash starts flowing in, the powers that be will expand the playoff to eight teams and there will still be complaints, but the more teams get in the lower the volume on those complaints.
14. I received several compliments after I nicknamed Florida's offense the “Murph 'n' Turf.” Time to come clean. I got the idea from Myrtle Beach Gator fan Todd Elliott, who sent me a tweet during the Florida-Tennessee game. Todd will be receiving a copy of my book “100 Things Florida Fans Should Know Or Do Before They Die.” I can sign it or for an extra $5 get Johnny Manziel to sign it.
15.That was a nice win by West Virginia over Oklahoma State in the battle between two of my least-favorite coaches and because the Mountaineers had been struggling you knew there would be some property damage. Sure enough, the police reported 10 fires were set and one car flipped. No word on whether any of the fires involved innocent couches. I don't get those people. Why not just get smashed and pass out like other college football fans?
16. Maybe we should all calm down a little bit about what Peyton Manning is doing in Denver because it is only one-fourth of the way through the season, but it sure is fun to watch if you like offense. (It was also funny to hear the Eagles players yelling “Papa John” when Manning was barking out audibles). If you haven't watched the documentary “The Book of Manning,” do so and you'll come away rooting for Peyton. And Eli, even if his team is in the tank. Which is the most surprising team to be winless right now — the Giants, Steelers, Bucs or Jaguars? I'd probably go with the Giants.
17.The Tweet of the Week comes from Fox Sports Radio's Ben Maller — “ 'You could say we're the worst team in the league,' Ben Roethlisberger on the 0-4 Steelers. Clearly Big Ben hasn't watched Jaguars game.” Yeah, that's what I thought and when I tweeted that I wondered if Jacksonville would ever have an NFL team again, I was surprised at how violent the reaction was from some Jags fans. Here's an idea — sign Tim Tebow, play him at tailback twice a game and sell some tickets. It can't be any worse.
18. I feel the need for some quality music after listening to what sounded like Sirius' Hits 1 during the pregame of the Florida-Kentucky game. Katy Perry? One Direction? Were they trying to attract young girls to the game? I get why most stadiums play the music they play during pregame. It's for the players and the recruits. But Zedd? Miley Cyrus? On top of that, we heard what had to be the worst karaoke rendition of some country song in the parking lot as we were leaving Commonwealth Stadium. My ears were in need of a solid playlist. Try these downloads — “Classy Girls” by The Lumineers, “The Mother We Share” by CHVRCHES and for an older song but not quite an oldie “Gone Daddy Gone” By The Violent Femmes.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.