THE BACK NINE

Date change for the '17 opener?


Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 9, 2017 at 9:01 p.m.

The Back Nine comes at you after the final game of the college football season. A moment of silence please.

10. When we crank it back up next September, it will be interesting to see when Florida and Michigan will be playing in Arlington, Texas. The game is scheduled for Sept. 2, but a report surfaced over the weekend that ESPN has approached both schools about moving it back a day to Sunday Sept 3. “We want to do what is best for the program,” said Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin. “We're open to the consideration of moving the game.” He added that he hasn't talked to anyone at Michigan about the move. Both schools would have to agree to it. The visibility factor would be the biggest reason to move it. It would be moved into the same slot that Notre Dame and Texas enjoyed last year, 8 p.m. on ABC. That was the second-highest rated game in the regular season. The negatives would be the short week getting ready for the second game of the season because you'd be getting home Monday morning. Of course, Florida faces Northern Colorado in the second game of the year. Michigan, by the way, faces Cincinnati. The other issue would be Gator fans who have already purchased airfare for the trip. Stay tuned, but it feels like the game will be moved.

11. Now that college football has gone into hibernation (I know we have signing day around the corner but it's asleep for me) we can truly reflect on how bad Florida's offense was this season. Much has been written about Florida's descent into offensive hell since Tim Tebow took his talents elsewhere. But this season was historic. Florida finished 116th in the nation in total offense, the worst finish since Tebow left. Florida also finished 107th in the nation in points scored per game and that was with five defensive touchdowns (tied for third nationally) and 21 field goals (13th nationally). We keep thinking it has to get better. The question is when? In Urban Meyer's final season as the Florida coach, the Gators finished 85th in total offense. Oh, the glory days. Since then, 105, 104, 115, 96, 112 and 116. An interesting note that shows how much college football has changed — Florida averaged 344 yards per game this year which would have placed 74th in 2008.

12. So you've been watching this year's Florida basketball team and it feels like the Gators take an awful lot of 3s, right? Yeah, it feels that way to me, too. Except that Florida ranks eighth in the SEC and amazingly tied for 204th in the nation with an average of 20 3-point attempts per game. It's the world we live in. The Gators will need to knock down some deep shots on the road tonight in Tuscaloosa, but it feels a little like they are playing with house money after a 3-0 start in the league. At the same time, Alabama and Georgia are winnable this week for a team that can use every one. Yes, I am confusing myself.

13. I'd have gotten started on this column earlier, but Grayson Allen tripped me on the way to my desk. I'll be here all week. Seriously, another incident? I looked at it and agreed with the ACC office, which has apparently been on a month vacation, that there is no way to determine if his little leg kick was intentional against Boston College, but why would you believe it wasn't? This is the bed Allen has made. I'm sure that one-game suspension made a difference. Can you tell I'm being sarcastic?

14. Congrats to Steve Spurrier for getting into the College Football Hall of Fame again. Does this mean he'll get two jackets? It's kind of like the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame inducting The Beatles and then later all of The Beatles separately. The CF Hall has tried to stay away from inducting coaches who are in as players, but how many of those coaches won like Steve did? How many are the winningest coaches ever at two different schools? I do find it funny that he's being honored with Peyton Manning. Insert your own joke here. And especially a pat on the back to Alachua's own Adrian Peterson for being selected. He's as good a person as you'll ever meet and a prolific running back at Georgia Southern.

15. There are consequences for every action and that's why you don't go out in a boat in Miami and let the world know and follow it up with a bad game that includes a slew of dropped passes. Right Odell Beckham Jr.? It doesn't matter that one thing had nothing to do with the other. It's like putting criticism up on a tee and daring talking heads to swing at it. It's all about perception, unfortunately. Next year, Beckham should tweet out a picture of him reading his playbook and drinking milk on his off day before a playoff game.

16. Last year in the NFL's wild card playoffs, all of the visiting teams won and two of the games were decided by a total of three points. This year, all of the home teams won and the average margin of victory was 19.0. I liked the other way better. I always like to wait until after the wild-card games to make my picks, but I'm wondering where two of my preseason playoff picks went. You know, the Jags and Bucs. Well done. Here we go and before you dismiss these completely, know that I handled Drew Copeland in our annual bowl pick contest. Atlanta over Seattle. New England over Houston. Pittsburgh over Kansas City. Green Bay over Dallas. Let those simmer for awhile.

17. The Tweet of the Week that did not involve Donald Trump or Meryl Streep came from Dieter Kurtenbach, a senior writer for Fox Sports — “Cal doesn't need to put up too much money for Chip — he's going to be paid by both the Eagles and 49ers next year.” Interesting point. Cal is also $455 million in debt and just fired a coach without cause so it will have to pay him $5.88 million. Very strange.

18. The Outback Bowl was bad for me. The hospitality suite was epic and I never found the fitness center. So let's get to work and start with this playlist:

* Jackpot” by Nikki Lane.

* “New Shoes” by Paulo Nutini.

* “Almost Make Me Wish For Rain” by Lucius.

* “Take It All Back” by Judah and the Lion.

* And for an oldie, “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” by Traffic. Great piano.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at pat.dooley@gvillesun.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.

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