Back Nine: Not surprising Pease out, but who will be next?
Published: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, December 2, 2013 at 11:16 p.m.
The Back Nine comes at you after a wild weekend of turkey and touchdowns and the end of a very short offensive era at Florida. Take that any way you want to take it.
10. The firing of Brent Pease was about as surprising as Miley Cyrus doing something stupid to bring attention to herself. Everyone knew it was coming and Pease had been thrown under the bus by so many people he could tell you whether the tires were Goodyear or Michelin. Some will look at him as a scapegoat, others will look at him as a guy who couldn’t overcome all of the injuries Florida suffered and still others will say that Jared Lorenzen was right all along. Well, at least that’s what the former Round Mound of Touchdown, who had conflicts with Pease at Kentucky, tweeted Sunday. “Again Gator Nation, I’m not a guy who says I told you so BUT …” A lot of people will tell you that we’re about to find out how far Will Muschamp is willing to go as far as his offense goes, but the truth was Muschamp planned to have an offense this year very similar to what Urban Meyer ran with Tim Tebow at Florida. The injury to Jeff Driskel killed that and the other injuries kept ripping off the Band-Aids. “Perception isn’t always reality,” Muschamp said Saturday. This is still a line of scrimmage league. Just ask Auburn. But that doesn’t mean you have to simply pound the ball and that was not the plan heading into this season. Last year, it was necessitated by a first-year starter at quarterback. We’ll see who Muschamp hires, but here are two names you can cross of the lists of rampant media speculation — Kerwin Bell as offensive coordinator and Joe Wickline as offensive line coach. Just are not going to happen.
11. One injury that wasn’t on defense that hurt Florida’s offense that is never talked about was Marcus Roberson’s ankle issue. The cornerback missed four games and played limited snaps in three others. As a result, Florida couldn’t use Loucheiz Purifoy as much on offense. Purifoy only had his hands on the ball 10 times this season and two of them were interceptions (one rush, four kickoff returns, three punt returns). Even after a season that was nowhere near as good as his sophomore season, Purifoy has decided to take his red flag (suspension to start year) to the NFL. I’m sure he’ll wow them at the combine and we all know that it’s his life and his family that matters most, not our opinions on whether or not he’s ready for the NFL.
12. The best analogy I can think of for what I wrote last week about preferring the NFL to college football is John Lennon’s famous “Lost Weekend.” The NFL was my May Pang. I’m sorry. I’m back. Last weekend might have been the best college football weekend in the history of the sport. I’m including games you’re not talking about today such as Ole Miss-Mississippi State, Arkansas-LSU, Fresno State-San Jose State, Oregon-Oregon State and UCF-USF all before we got to Saturday. I guess the sport was saving everything up until the end of the season. Saturday was glorious. Forget everything I said last week. College football is still, by far, the best sport there is.
13. I can’t help but wonder (and actually it was my wife who brought this up) if the finish in the Iron Bowl isn’t going to change the way coaches look at really long field goals. Obviously, once the ball was fielded by now-legendary Chris Davis in the back of the end zone, there wasn’t an athlete anywhere on the field to tackle him. You know who wins the fast guy vs. fat guys race every time. I was talking to Urban Meyer on Sunday and he said, “First thing we’re going to do at practice is field goal return defense. We never practice that. People may say they do, but I doubt it.” Alabama players said they do practice it during Friday walk-throughs, but never with a live returner. And it’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and simply watch the kick, which is what Alabama’s players did. Needless to say, there are plenty of SEC Championship Game tickets available on StubHub and eBay and other sites. If you are a Bama fan, could you sell your tickets to an Auburn fan after what happened? And is someone guarding the trees at Toomer’s Corner?
14. So it appears college football’s greatest streak is over with the SEC being locked out of the national title game. Well, not so fast my friend. FSU could lose to Duke in a lot of things, but football this season is not one of them. Michigan State has a salty defense that is probably the best in the country, but I just can’t see Sparty scoring enough points to win that game. If both FSU and Ohio State win (remember who predicted that title game more than a month ago) is there a chance a one-loss Auburn or Missouri could jump over Ohio State and all the way to Pasadena? I don’t think so. I don’t think the people who vote (and the coaches do actually vote on the final coaches’ poll) would do that to an Ohio State team that would be 25-0 over the last two seasons. Certainly, there are coaches who don’t like Meyer and Harris pollsters who would look at the schedules and believe that a one-loss Auburn (Missouri has less of a chance if it wins) has a better resume than either FSU or Ohio State. But that one loss for Auburn was by two touchdowns and the anti-SEC backlash is a mountain too big to climb. Here’s one that will make smoke come out of your ears. What if Missouri wins a lackluster SEC title game and Michigan State hammers Ohio State. Could Alabama work its way back into the title game? Yikes.
15. There is little doubt Jameis Winston has done everything on the field to win the Heisman Trophy. The other contenders have dropped off one-by-one and Braxton Miller is hurt by the fact that when he was injured, Ohio State didn’t miss a beat. Because it appears no charges could possibly be filed before the Heisman voting ends Monday, voters will have to make their own decisions on Winston’s character. I think there will be some who won’t vote for him because of the off-the-field issue. But I still think he’ll win easily. I’m still waiting until all of the games are over, but I have also made a decision — if the Heisman people are going to get after me for revealing my vote before ESPN can bring it to America, I’m not revealing it after the ceremony either. There, I win!
16. I know there were NFL games and college hoops games and other sports stories over the weekend that involved spilled drinks and coaches getting in the way, but they were simply side dishes to the main course that was college football. Talk about an emotional up-and-down weekend, Steve Spurrier watched his alma mater get plastered by the hated Semis, then watched his old team Duke win its division, then coached his team to its fifth straight win over Clemson and then found out that Missouri won to knock the Gamecocks out of Atlanta. I guess you can’t have it all.
17. The Tweet of the Week comes from Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley — “You fake (expletive) bama fans stop sending threats to my teammate, you spoiled ******, respect what we do and know we all human! And that's REAL!” Mosley’s was one of several sent out by Alabama players after placekicker Cade Foster was deluged with threatening tweets after his three misses against Auburn. I like what AJ McCarron said after the game, and sure enough, the sun did come up Sunday morning.
18. Thanks to the UF Bookstore for holding my final book signing of the season Saturday and thanks to all of the people who just stopped by to say hello and vote to keep the podcasts going. Some of them even liked my music suggestions. Try these downloads — “Stay In The Shade” by Jose Gonzalez, “Don’t Say Oh Well” by Grouplove and for a deep old album cut “Outside Chance” by The Turtles.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.