The Back Nine: Miracle in Raleigh


The Back Nine comes at you with thoughts on the bowls so far, Chandler Parsons’ shot and the Gators’ amazing performance in the Big Easy.

Chandler Parsons' prayer was answered.
Chandler Parsons' prayer was answered.

1. OK, so where does it rate? Parsons’ heave from 75 feet was an improbable ending to a bad basketball game neither team seemed to want to win. We may look back and see it as the difference between Florida being in or out of the NCAA Tournament. I still say the best shot in UF hoop history was Mike Miller’s against Butler because of what it turned into. Corey Brewer’s against Georgetown in 2006 has to be up there. But for pure drama, Parsons was the best in Gator history. Forever, he’ll be remembered for that shot. But it doesn’t disguise the warts on this basketball team. The ugliest one with the hairs growing out of it — Florida can’t shoot a lick. The Gators are shooting 29 percent from 3-point land and have threatened their streak of 593 games with a 3 on too many occasions. Trouble is, they’re not talented enough to put up a lot of points other ways. You saw at the end of regulation when Erving Walker dribbled around until the clock was winding down and launched a bomb. This team already has more significant wins than last year’s but even in another weakened SEC, the Back Nine is looking at a .500 season. We’ll see.

2. Maybe the problem was they were shooting from too close. Maybe 75 feet is Florida’s range. By the way, Florida’s RPI is still a low 77th in the nation. UF probably needs 10 wins in conference play to make the field.

Gator fans enjoy the Crescent City.
Gator fans enjoy the Crescent City.

3. New Orleans had everything. Decadence, angst, deadline, rich food, beads cascading off balconies, controversy. Everything but sleep. I saw three young men arrested on Bourbon Street and some other things I’d rather not talk about. I found out Cincinnati fans will do the Gator chomp for beads. (Their lame cheer was about to drive me crazy. I kept waiting for a Gator fan to yell out, “Earl’s in trouble.” It’s a college baseball reference so most of you won’t get it.) One of the neatest things I did out there was sitting in the Cajun Cabin with oysters watching three TVs on Jan. 1 next to a table of Auburn fans who got to celebrate a win three times. Very entertaining. That was easily the best of the bowl games so far.
Maybe it’s just because I was in New Orleans for a week, but are Georgia Tech and Iowa still playing in the Orange Bowl? I haven’t heard a peep.

Tim Tebow takes to the air.
Tim Tebow takes to the air.

4. We probably should have seen Florida’s onslaught of Cincy coming for two reasons. 1. While Florida was going through a coaching upheaval, Charlie Strong was still there. Urban Meyer was still there. Brian Kelly was long gone. 2. This was the first time all season the Gators played without pressure weighing down on them. They were loose and relaxed. So was the offensive coordinator. Somewhere in Baton Rouge, Billy Gonzales had to be shouting at his TV, “Oh yeah, NOOWW you throw it all over the place!” I said all along that I thought Meyer and Steve Addazio coached tight all year with what was on the line. One reason Gonzales is gone is that he became frustrated that his receivers were mostly asked to block.

5. If you are scoring at home, Drew Copeland smoked me in the bowl picks. Hey, when I picked Cincinnati, it was three weeks before the game and I thought the Gators would be facing Alabama Syndrome. Look at all that happened after I made the pick. I know, excuses are for losers and assistant coaches. Congrats to Drew.

HBC blues
HBC blues

6. A week ago, if you had polled the media that covers the SEC, I’m pretty sure South Carolina would have been the pick to win the SEC in 2010. Now, not so much. One day, the Gamies will realize that you can mix business and pleasure on bowl trips. Until then, you’re going to see the kinds of performances you did Saturday. Nice effort. The SEC could use an Alabama victory in the title game. The league is 5-4 right now and 5-5 wouldn’t look so hot.

7. It will be interesting to see where Florida winds up in the final poll. If there is a blowout in the final game, I’d bet on third. If not, fourth. If Ole Miss doesn’t sneak into the last poll, the SEC will have only three teams ranked.

Montee Ball had a ball vs. the 'Canes.
Montee Ball had a ball vs. the 'Canes.

8. Most surprising bowl game — Wisconsin over Miami. I’d have bet the farm on the ‘Canes which is why I don’t gamble or own a farm. Best moment — Bobby Bowden being carried off the field. Most embarrassing moment — tie between Ann Bowden trying to make out with Bobby so she could get in the pictures and the field conditions at the Capital One Bowl. Next time someone tells you that the student-athlete’s safety is what matters most, show them a clip of that disgraceful situation.

9. Heard some great music in New Orleans, especially at Mulate’s. But for you iPodders I am recommending this week “Here’s Where the Story Ends” by The Sundays, “Hooray For Beer” by Bowling For Soup and an old school download of George Harrison’s “This Song” never hurt anyone.

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


  1. I am anything BUT a Gators fan, especially since bad calls in the Ark. FL. game cost my beloved Razorbacks a great victory. The team never really recovered from that game. However, I love your column. It’s always great reading. Keep up the good work. Like you I am sad to see another terrific college football season end this Thursday. However, since I don’t live in Lubbock, Texas life is good and I look forward to the Razorbacks making a serious run in the SEC west starting in Sept.

  2. The fact you thought Miami would win vs. Wisconsin shows how much you don’t cover football. Anyone who watched those two teams could see that coming. Wisconsin, if they stay healthy, has a chance to win 10-11 games next year, they get just about everybody back on offense. They’re a darkhorse title contender.

  3. Hog65-still upset over that bad call? It was a bad call, I’ll admit. But I’m guessing had it not been called, seeing as how it would’ve been second and ten, Tebow and company would’ve still moved a few more yards for the field goal.

  4. Great column. Couldn’t agree more on 2 points. The basketball team is full fledged member of the brick layers union; even from the free throw line. That last shot to win at the end of regulation was a mess. Secondly, I told my FSU brother the same thing about the team in the Sugar Bowl finally playing loose. Without the pressure they have been under, they just went out and played some ‘ball and actually looked like they were having fun from the get go. They even threw the ball downfield, and threw it to everybody, not just Hernandez and Cooper. Maybe Urban could learn a small lesson for himself from this. Life is short so enjoy the ride.

  5. Great column as always Dools…You nailed it that the “loose” mindset and approach to the Cincy game made all the difference and allowed our talent to shine…The players were also loose and a little “chippy” which is always a good sign that the fire is there…I am admittedly “Mr. Sour Grapes”, but I can’t get over the FACT that if we would have had this approach for the bama game, we would be playing for it all on Thursday…Hopefully, the coaching staff learned its lesson.

  6. I vote Brewer’s game winner at Georgetown as the greatest. Parson though will always be remembered for that shot if for nothing else. Hopefully it turns out to be more than a footnote to another disappointing season. I think 2nd place in the SEC East would get us in the tournament, 3rd place…probably not.

  7. Perhaps I am a bit overly ambitious, but with the anticlimactic Fiesta Bowl and an Alabama win, Alabama and Florida could finish 1-2 which would trump the lack of representation by the SEC in the Top 25.
    BTW – Think UF is a preseason Top 5? Again, I said I was overly ambitious!

  8. Agree with the points about the “greatest shot”. Miller’s definetly for what it meant and Brewer’s likewise. Parson’s shot was, let’s say the most “spectacular”, eh? Great shot but didn’t mean much. I so hope though that it does propel the team. I do believe Walker Werner, and Boynton can heat up especially in time for SEC play. As far as the Sugar Bowl, I thought Florida really did play their best game of the season. I like many wish the Gators could get another piece of ‘bama BUT playing loose or calling a tight game doesn’t change the fact that ‘bama is a far superior team in talent, size, and coaching than cincy. I’m all for the SEC winning in the bowl games too but I have to be honest that this year I am rooting against ‘bama and was glad tenn. got spanked. As for the gamecocks, that was an embarrassing display. Dare I say that this may be the OBC’s last year if they don’t challenge for the east this year? Dare I say the word overrated with the OBC in the same sentence? Oh and one last thing. Am I the only one that hates fox’s coverage of bowl games. They are the most anticlimactic generic presentations of football around. brian billick uses the entire sugar bowl game to trash tebow’s throwing motion and last year’s championship game was no better than their highshool broadcasts on fox sports net. I sure hope this years is better.

  9. Pat – I just read your column as Bama-Texas are about to kick off. Way to nail it once again. Half of me wishes Arkansas would have won that day, if only because the loss might have “un-jinxed” the season of the weird, and perhaps created renewed focus from the team (a la Ole Miss). But its in the bag now and time to move on. Looking forward to next year already. Is it August yet?

  10. You hit the nail on the head, Pat, regarding the Gators playing in the Sugar Bowl in a more “loose” manner than we have seen the whole season. I loved what I saw, and I hope it is a bit of foreshadowing for next year when Brantley takes over full-time.

    As I was watching that game, my friends and I were saying “Where was this aerial attack all year?” Maybe Billy Gonzalez was part of the problem, and not part of the solution? Seems he was still bitter about getting passed over for OC last year. Look how we did on offense without him, and look how fast Meyer replaced him!

    Kudos to you for mentioning the Sundays. Great song, as is their cover of the Stones’ “Wild Horses”. Reminds me of when I was actually in Gainesville attending college. Good times.

  11. Looking back, the whole undefeated season thing was a bad idea. The national title is the thing. They would have been much better off to lose and get it over with so they could focus on what mattered, Alabama and the Crystal Ball.

    I don’t know why we are having a disagreement between Hog fans on a Florida blog but, Arkansas’ offense, yes offense, will have to make big strides to compete for the SEC next year. Sure, defense and special teams will too. But, Arkansas’ offense was pretty ineffective in every big game but Florida. A tenth win in the Cotton Bowl would be improvement in Fayetteville. Arkansas needs two more recruiting classes and so far it hard to see if this one counts as one of those.