The Back Nine comes at you after one streak-busting performance and one great birthday party for a special woman (Robbie’s wife, Jill) so that it wasn’t a completely lost weekend.
10. So all of us who drank the Kool-Aid smoothies on this Florida football team have a bad taste in our mouths today. It’s not like we thought this was some uber-team and it’s not like we thought Kentucky couldn’t finally beat Florida. It’s just that we didn’t expect it to look like THAT. (It’s like Kool-Aid that has a flavor of vinegar, old socks and sewer water.) What we didn’t realize or failed to consider is that you can’t change a culture overnight. (For example, the supposed face of Florida football Cece Jefferson had been suspended for the first two games). It was apparent that the culture is still a work in progress after the game when running back Adarius Lemons threw a fit in the locker room because he didn’t get any carries in a game where the Gators rarely ran the ball (and he was the fifth best running back on the team). As a result, Lemons was shown the door and announced he will transfer. Good move by Dan Mullen. Maybe this team still has a little McElwain in it. There’s nothing worse than entitlement without talent. You could tell from Mullen’s post-game talk and his Monday presser that he knows he has a long way to go with this group of players in terms of getting them to understand what’s important. “You don’t go from here to here in one step,” Mullen said Monday. “I hope it’s heading in the right direction.”
11. I checked with the SEC office on Monday and there was no statement from the head of officials Steve Shaw about the missed field goal, just a clarification of the rules. The ball has to go inside the post to be good and it can’t be reviewed. The fact is that there is only one guy who knows for sure whether the ball went over or inside the goal post and that was the official standing under it. I’m sure he will get a talking to about his overwhelming enthusiasm for signalling it to be no good, but, no matter what we all saw on TV, he’s the only guy who knows. Or at least thinks he saw what he saw.
12. The sun did come up Sunday and there’s no truth to the rumor that when it set it was dropped by a Florida player. The dropped passes were a big part of the loss Saturday night and the result of the game has a lot of people clamoring for a change at quarterback. I don’t put this one on quarterback play. This is a line of scrimmage league and Florida is not good on either side. I know it’s early, but Florida is 12th in the SEC in rushing and dead last in rushing defense. The latter happens when you have, according to Mullen, 20 missed tackles that resulted in 168 yards gained by the opposition. “Here’s the problem, there was a lot of that in Game 1,” Mullen said. “Most of that was on one play but (against Kentucky) it was multiple plays.” I think even the most optimistic Florida fans knew this team could be exposed on the physical front, but didn’t expect it to be in the second game of the season. Everybody saw it, even prized recruit Diwan Black who was at the game and on Monday Tweeted out this — “Need a couple of OL & DL.” Well, yes, but more importantly for this season, the guys who are playing need to practice like their hair is on fire and carry it over to the game. That game will come against a team Florida had to schedule to get Jim McElwain and paid millions of dollars in guarantees and buyouts. Something about it all feels weird.
13. Doesn’t it feel like college football season is headed for the inevitable just two weeks into the season? Prepare for a playoff that will include Alabama, Clemson and Georgia with a fourth team to be named later. Heck, we may be heading for an SEC Championship Game that is just about seeding and making sure you get to play in the Orange Bowl (instead of the Cotton), not who will make the College Football Playoff. Alabama and Georgia look that good. I know there is a lot of football to be played, but that’s the way it feels today.
14. Monday morning golf with Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and our friend Billy Horschel among those on the leaderboard should be required every week. It sure made my day. Is there any way we can make that a regular thing? Our Billy boy fell a stroke short, but has now made $2.8 million and a little change this year. Good for him. By the way, Tiger Woods has won zero tournaments this year and pocketed $3.5 million. He won that much because he was once Tiger Woods and elevated these purses to extraordinary levels. So no problem with that. I should have stuck with golf.
15. I didn’t see the Serena Williams meltdown until late Saturday night and here is my take — at least people were talking about tennis. That whole deal was the pits of the world, to quote John McEnroe. Did she take it a little far? Yes. Did the chair umpire take it way too far? No question. So she got fined $17,000. I hope she sends it to the USTA in unrolled pennies.
16. So my daughter has become a big Cleveland Brown fans because of Hard Knocks and Baker Mayfield and she was disappointed with a tie in the opener. I had to point out to her that the tie meant Cleveland had its best start in 14 years. Let that sink in. I am one of those people who thinks college football rules and then I see Feleipe Franks get a 15-yard penalty for slapping hands with fans after a touchdown and I start to think it’s the real No Fun League. But the NFL always brings me back to reality with its overtime system that allows ties. It only goes to show how devalued the regular season is compared to college football’s. But you already knew that.
17. The Tweet of the Week is NFL related, kind of, but really more golf … or is it. Anyway, it’s clever and it comes from Tour golfer Steven Bowditch, who is a must-follow on Twitter (@bowdo83) — “I see Aaron Rodgers giving Furyk something to think about.” Jim Furyk is, of course, the American captain for the Ryder Cup and made his final pick (Tony Finau, good choice) Monday. It wasn’t Rodgers, but after that Sunday night performance it wouldn’t have been a bad choice.
18. It was quite an effort to come up with a playlist this week because somehow I disabled the sound on my laptop. But that’s why God invented iPhones.
• “Suspirium” by Thom Yorke.
• “Waves of Galveston” by Iron & Wine.
• “It Rains” by Archie Faulks, which could be the new theme song of Gainesville.
• “She Could Be the One” by Eric Hutchinson.
• And for an old one “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways.
By the way, I get a lot of people who say they love The Back Nine but not the songs. Give them a try. Just because you haven’t heard of some of these artists doesn’t mean you won’t like the music.
Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at email@example.com. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.