The Back Nine: Someone will pick Florida to win SEC East


The Back Nine comes at you after a wild and crazy weekend that will never be forgotten despite the many damaged brain cells. Gainesville and the Gator Nation, I will forever be in your debt for the 25th Bob Dooley Invitational.

10. As we inch closer to the start of college football season and the annual clambake known as SEC Media Days, you have to kind of prepare for what is coming and in this case it means people are really going to like your team in the media. It will be easy to forget that Feleipe Franks was getting booed on his own field and to remember the way he played the last quarter of the season. Some media members, wanting to be different, will pick Florida to win the East over Georgia. Someone, somewhere in TV land, will pick Florida to be in the College Football Playoff. Trust me, it will happen. And that’s fine. You always want high expectations. You never want to go to the stadium expecting something dreadful to happen. It’s OK if you are spoiled. Doesn’t everyone want to be spoiled? So be ready for a couple of months of being appreciated, of being coddled, praised and valued. You might as well enjoy it. It’s been awhile. And that’s a shame.

11. Here’s one thing you won’t hear or see while sweating out the summer and that is my fake theory that Dan Mullen was brought to UF to beat Miami. It’s a fake theory because I know it’s not true … or is it? Please, don’t @me, I’m kidding. But it is amazing that Urban Meyer, with Mullen as his right-hand man, is the only Florida coach to beat the Hurricanes since Galen Hall. Of course, there have only been eight games since that 1985 Florida win, but Hall lost his next two, Steve Spurrier missed on his only shot at the ’Canes, Ron Zook was 0-2, Charlie Strong 0-1 and Will Muschamp 0-1. All of this has nothing to do with anything that happens on Aug. 24 in Orlando, but it’s why you’ve heard a lot of crowing from Miami fans on social media.

[gh:iframe src=”” width=”100%” height=”180″ frameborder=”0″][/gh:iframe]

12. So I received my ballot from the Florida-Georgia Hall of Fame last week and I’m going to let you help me out. We are supposed to put the 10 candidates in order. Here they are:

Mike Peterson, Brad Culpepper, Emmitt Smith, Lomas Brown, Brandon Spikes, Dallas Baker, Andre Caldwell, Keiwan Ratliff, Jacquez Green, Earnest Graham.

All of them are great Gators, but very little stands out when it comes to the Florida-Georgia game. (Although the Spikes hit on Knowshon Moreno in 2008 may shoot him to the top of the ballot). For example, the great Emmitt Smith never beat Georgia. So does he deserve to be in the Hall? Personally, I don’t think he belongs in the Ring of Honor at Florida, but that’s another discussion. I know I’m getting old and all of those 1990s FlaGa games run together so let me know your top three from this group.

13. The rumbling continues about the possibility of that game moving out of Jax at some point and I think it goes to show you the length that athletic directors will go to when trying to put together a home schedule that will appeal to leaking attendance numbers. It’s not the reason that game may go to each campus, but it’s part of the overall picture. You have to love talking season.

14. If you were filling out a ballot to name the greatest athletes to ever be at the University of Florida and Grant Holloway wasn’t on that list, well, you would be showing a lack of awareness. The way he finished off his record-breaking career at the NCAAs with a collegiate record and a win over his rival — who had just beaten him in the SECs — was amazing. He’d be in my top five. What a career. Check out Scott Carter’s story on the final day at

15. I have to admit with the Gators going three and see-ya at the baseball regional and with the tournament this weekend I have had a hard time keeping up with the NCAA Tournament. But I did catch some of FSU’s two wins over LSU, and while it sure felt like both Georgia and LSU gagged as higher seeds against the Seminoles, all of you Gators need to stifle your FSU hatred and be happy Mike Martin made it back, especially because he made it back with a team that couldn’t beat Florida in three tries and wouldn’t have made the tournament at all if it wasn’t for the sentimentality factor. Those young men are playing inspired baseball and I’m happy for a guy who always treated the media with respect. I also know that the one seed is out again and the Pac-12 is having a rough year in the Big Three of sports. Other than that, I was busy.

16. At about 7:30 a.m. Saturday, the weather app on my phone told me that the chance of rain at Ironwood Golf Course at the 9 a.m. tee time for the 25th Bob Dooley Invitational was 100 percent. But while I tried to figure out what we were going to do something wonderful happened. It’s almost impossible to explain how a storm would stop, make a right turn and miss us completely. That’s one magic weather system. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life and I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t think it is possible to run a perfect tournament, but we came damn close Saturday. Thanks to Jeff Cardozo and Eric Thomas and all of the wonderful ladies out there as well as our amazing sponsors and volunteers. People ask me how much we have raised every year for Stop Children’s Cancer. It’s not only the Dooley family who raises it. It’s the people who donate, who kick in their entry fees and buy silent auction events, who spend five hours sitting on a hole giving out food and drinks. Those are the people who really raise the money. And, together, we broke a record this year. It may or may not be the last, but if it was, we went out with a bang.

17. The Tweet of the Week comes from former Tour golfer Bill Mallon, who made me smile with this one — “Baby crying at Roland Garros. Famous story about Arnold Palmer. Baby crying while he was trying to play at a tournament. The mother put her hand over his mouth. Palmer walked over and said, ‘Maam, this isn’t that important. Let him breathe. I can play.’ That was Arnold Palmer.” Yes, it was.

18. Literally, it’s time to get back to my normal life after Kelsey’s graduation one weekend and The Bob the next. It starts at the gym and with this playlist:

“It Doesn’t Matter Why” by Silversin Pickups.

• “Shockwave” by Liam Gallagher.

• “This Life” by Vampire Weekend.

• “3 Nights” by Dominic Fike.

• And for an old one, there was some karaoke on Friday night at Ironwood and my ears may never be the same and I was supposed to play a song with the Bob Dooley House band Moondog but never got around to it. This is the song I was going to sing and play in the key of Ringo — “Don’t Pass Me By” by the Beatles.

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


  1. #10. Sounds like “someone” is crazier than bat do-do. The nerve of that guy — everyone knows Florida will never win another SEC East, let alone an SEC or CFP. 😝 💖🐊🏈

    #12. (1) Emmitt Smith, (2) Emmitt Smith, (3) Emmitt Smith…………..(10) Emmitt Smith.


  2. We are a long way from having spoiled Gator fans…one 10 win season and the Gators being picked as a “dark horse” CFP participant or SEC East champ doesn’t exactly replicate the Spurrier years. I bit of hyperbole from Dooley on that one. And how in the world could you not think that Emmitt belongs in the Ring of Honor? Seriously? He played on mediocre teams but was an absolute sensation. Not to mention the NFL success. And screw Mike Martin…although I am glad LSU didn’t make it.

  3. So let me get this straight-on your point #12 you mention that you don’t think Emmitt Smith belongs in the Ring of Honor?!?!?! Your credibility was already shaky with me but after that comment I’m beginning to think that you’re downright crazy!! How the h-e double hockey sticks do you think that he doesn’t deserve to be in the ROH??!?! I would LOVE to hear your reasoning on this one. Now your credibility is just shot altogether! Just because of the criteria to get up there? Well I think the current criteria is stupid anyway and should be based on the eye test and what said player did for the university on and off of the field. GEAUXXX GATORS!!!

    • He actually meets the criteria to be up there. 2 of the criteria in fact. Those being former UF All-Americans being inducted into the NFL hall of fame, and former UF All-Americans who are NFL career category leaders. So not meeting criteria isn’t even a reason for Dooley’s delusional theory. I would love to hear the reasoning as well.

  4. The eye test informs me that E. Smith is/was the best Gator ever regardless of position (I have Kilbur as the 2nd best). Yes, I know E. Rhett is the career yardage leader. I’m not talking stats. I’m talking ability.

    That said, E. Smith absolutely KILLED all all the “State” teams (Florida St., Louisiana St., Mississippi St.). Not so much against Dawg Scum. If the criteria is “starring” in the WBOCP, then maybe E. Smith doesn’t make it. I’m o.k. with that. I’m pretty much o.k. with anything else that happens during the season as long at the Gators BEAT DAWG SCUM this year and every year.

    • I agree, Gator Gopher. Emmitt is a no brainer IMO. Spikes was the table setter for that epic game and I think he deserves to be in the hall. Every year it seems like his hit is the lead-in for the Florida/Georgia game. It definitely set the tone for the remainder of the game. GEAUXX GATORS!!

    • Rhett had the benefit of playing in an offense that defense’s had to respect the pass. Emmitt played in terrible passing offenses where he was the focal point of the defense and still holds the top 2 single season rushing records and top 2 single game rushing records. Rhett also had 5 years at Florida to Smith’s 3. Smith would’ve easily held the all time rushing record had he played 5 seasons and that record would’ve probably been untouchable.

      • You are 100% correct. Rhett and Smith were beasts, but while Emmitt Smith was at Florida, the QBs threw 23 total touchdown passes and had a negative TD:INT ratio in every year. In his sophomore season, the Gators only threw 3 touchdown passes. His QBs were Kerwin Bell, Kyle Morris, Herbert Perry, Donald Douglas and Lex Smith.

        In Rhett’s time at UF, the QBs threw for 123 TD passes and had positive TD:INT ratios in each of the years. His QBs were Shane Matthews, Terry Dean and Danny Wuerrfel.

        It’s crazy that Smith ever even committed to UF, let alone ran for all those yards!

      • Joe and Orlando, Agreed. Agreed. Agreed. The offense Smith played in was obscenely run oriented. And right hand run oriented I might add. It was not tough to figure out the D needed to set up left heavy and key on #22. Which brings me back to my original comment about the best and ability. E. Smith overcame all of that, overcame injury and was still the career yardage leader when he left after 3 years. Absolutely unfathomable at the time and now too. He was “The Natural” in pads. Part Greek God. Part Greased Pig. All-America. Never the biggest, fastest or shiftiest. I always described it as “the ability of not being tackled”. A defender would have a piece of him one moment, then a little less, then a little less and then the defender is face down on the field and Emmitt is running away.

  5. ”You might as well enjoy it. It’s been awhile. And that’s a shame.” -Dooley.
    Well, since Coach Spurrier returned to U.F. in that very special (and tragic) year, 1990, the Florida Gators get their groove on within every 10 year cycle. So don’t look now UGA and SMOKEY, but it’s been 10 YEARS since Florida Football could run with the big boys, 2009. And as far as I’m concerned, the only ones holding this Florida Football team from championships are the players themselves. Because ‘IF’ they can just ”believe,” and go execute, then it’s on again for the FLORIDA GATORS! Chomp-chomp! Go Gators! Just win baby!

    • GI, in my experience the mental attitude is everything. Attitude is legion in not only sports but life itself, as in when somebody forgot to tell you that something you just did was impossible. What are you supposed to say then? “Oh, I wish I had known that, I sure wouldn’t have done it then”?

      SOS looked around in 1990, saw the same thing Bear Bryant had seen about Florida years before, and simply asked a simple question: “Why not us?”.

      • Amen, 6! Amen! I don’t know anything about playing college football, but I know about competition, and I ALWAYS wanted the ball, the shot, or even the damn horse shoe, LOL. And I know this, too, you gotta WANT IT, and then when it’s your turn/chance, EXECUTE! And then nothing is impossible… NOTHING! Go Gators!

  6. How do you drop the bomb that Emmitt Smith does not belong in the Ring of Honor and then just walk away? You’re an absolute idiot. Especially when you say he didn’t beat UGA. The Gators, in general, hardly ever beat UGA! He was a one-man offense. Florida was on probation and had scholarship deficits. In 1987, he was the starter by game 3 and rushed for 1000 yards in only 7 games and finished with over 1300 yards. He played against the #10 team 3 x, #7, #6, and #3 team in the country. Bell was the QB but he only threw for 9 TDs all season. The leading receiver was Stacey Simmons and he had 392 yards. In 1988, the QBs threw 3 TDs all season and 17 interceptions. They were Kyle Morris and Herbert Perry. Meanwhile the Gators went 5-0, until Smith got hurt. In the games he missed or was not even close to 100%, the Gators scored a grand total of 23 points. In 1989, the QBs threw 10 total touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Smith rushed for 1600+ yards and had to deal with a coaching change in the middle of the season.

    All in all, his QBs were Bell, Morris, Perry, Douglas and the infamous Lex Smith. Every great SEC defense knew he was getting the ball and he still was the university’s top rusher…in 3 years. Not to mention, what he did in the NFL that is unparalleled.

    If it wasn’t for Emmitt Smith, the Gators would have been horrid in the late 80s. He bridged the gap to Steve Spurrier. If you don’t put your schools all time leading rusher (at that point and in 3 years) and the NFL all time leading rusher in the Ring of Honor, then you need to just tear the damn thing down.

    Unfortunately, I think this is an example of dropping a bomb to get responses. I guess it worked but, Dooley, you sound like an idiot on that point.

          • Since he did “drop the bomb,” orlandogator is well within his rights to comment.

            I am pretty sure Dooley is alluding to the fact that E. Smith didn’t have much to do with the Gators during his pro career, did not credit UF (or even mention UF) during his HOF induction speech, and the regular yada yada that sports journalists care about. I also do not think Dooley is going to get to it.

            Meh, E. Smith was one of the best RBs in UF history and the best RB in NFL history — he definitely belongs in the Ring of Honor. With that said, I can get behind the argument that you can’t be in the FL-GA HOF if you NEVER won the game.

      • Pulled from the article…”For example, the great Emmitt Smith never beat Georgia. So does he deserve to be in the Hall? Personally, I don’t think he belongs in the Ring of Honor at Florida, but that’s another discussion.”

        You can’t just drop the bomb that Emmitt Smith doesn’t belong in the Ring of Honor and then basically say to “Carry On!”

        So he opened up that can of worms.

    • That’s what I was going to say, Orlando. I had to read Dooley’s Emmitt comment twice, thinking I misread it the first time. Having read Dooley’s prose for so many years, I am quite aware of his passive-aggressive comments to spur anger and resentment toward himself for tossing out the most inane opinions. Joe refuted Dooley beautifully with his list of RoH criteria that we can read and place check marks beside Smith’s name. When he says something like this about Emmitt, we know Dooley is auditioning for a certain character in the Wizard of Oz. “Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don’t you think?”
      ― Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  7. I only started watching college football in the 70s, so I know I haven’t seen as much as some, but Emmitt is the 2nd best RB I’ve ever seen playing in person. The best played for a nasty team to the north. I saw Bo Jackson play and Emmitt was a better RB. Anybody that leaves him off the RoH has some bias other than playing ability.

  8. mike mcneeley for fg hall of fame. he fooled all the nfl types that day. is he practicing medicine yet?
    he is what being a gator is all about, unless you are named emmitt, or steve, or tim, or danny, or lomas, or…..

  9. With his Emmitt Smith comment, Dooley firmly placed himself into his self-developed category of Gator Fans known as “Gidiots”. Well done Pat! What’s next Pat…SOS wasn’t a good coach, Tim Tebow was overrated, Kilbur was soft, or Wuerffel wasn’t accurate? You really sound like a clown and should be ridiculed for such a back handed remark toward Smith.

  10. “For example, the great Emmitt Smith never beat Georgia. So does he deserve to be in the Hall? Personally, I don’t think he belongs in the Ring of Honor at Florida…”

    What’s wrong Dooley? Did Emmitt turn you down for an interview?

  11. Cease fire y’all! I think Dooley pulled a boner, no doubt about it — but if he’s an idiot, hell at least he’s OUR idiot. (That said, I do like the term “gidiot” at that). Let’s give him a chance to explain himself before we string him up tho.

    • Gator-6, I am not sure why I have a tendency to respond to your comments seemingly more than other’s, but here is the thing. For Dooley to state that Emmitt (E as they call him here in Texas) doesn’t belong in the FGHF is a legitimate, arguable point. But for him to state that Emmitt doesn’t belong in the Florida Ring of Honor can only mean one of two things: 1. Florida should have no Ring of Honor, or 2. Dooley has no business as a so-called sports journalist for the University of Florida. I do not believe that there is a plausible explanation for his statement, and I believe he should be fired! “Emmitt right, Emmitt left, Emmitt up the middle”. And Dooley, from one life long Gator fan and Gator grad to you, a middle finger!

  12. We were at Emmitt’s Birmingham “coming out party”…absolutely gutted the Bama D, as a freshman…considerning overall career, no brainer, put him on the ring! Always wished he would have stayed for the one year with the Ole HBC. I’m not seeing much “wisdom” in some of Pat’s latest paragraphs. Pat, you do best when you research subjects with behind the scene intel!

  13. Congrats on another successful Bob Dooley charitable event. Working to stop cancer in children is a most worthy endeavor. So how much did you bring in? Also, I’d give a vote for Ron Zook in Fla.-Ga. hall for his 2003 victory. I seem to remember him benching some stud DE (Ray McDonald?) before the game and still walking away with a victory, the dogs’ only loss that year.

  14. I think it’s fair you start your discussion now Pat – “For example, the great Emmitt Smith never beat Georgia. So does he deserve to be in the Hall? Personally, I don’t think he belongs in the Ring of Honor at Florida, but that’s another discussion.”

    You don’t drop that bomb and walk away…..

  15. So people seem to be angry that I wouldn’t put Emmitt Smith in the ROH. I wouldn’t put him in when so many players who had better Florida careers are left out and can never get in. It’s not that he isn’t worthy (although his teams were the definition of pedestrian), it’s that the criteria was written specifically to get he and Jack Youngblood in. If they don’t make the Hall of Fame, they don’t qualify. I think it should be a Florida Ring of Honor, not an NFL one. For example, Lomas Brown belongs in but cannot unless he gets voted into the HOF. Emmitt at Florida was a great back. But was he one of the four best players ever at Florida (four went in on the first class)? Nope. Not in my opinion. Not based on his three years. Like I said, I’d put him in but he’d be down the list. Hope this clears things up.

    • We could argue how many angels fit on the head of a needle until the end of time, but all we know for sure is that we’ll know when, and if, we get to heaven. Until then, one man’s righteous indignation is another man’s honest opinion and vice versa. I prefer to place my thoughts elsewhere, like Florida regaining elite status, until such time as my election to Pope is successful — at which time I’ll declare Emmitt in the ROH by papal decree. 😎😎

    • I don’t disagree that others should get in but that doesn’t mean he isn’t worthy. Hilliard, Lomas, Fred Taylor, Anthony and Doering should all get a hard look. Brandon Spikes too. I think Mike Peterson is the most under appreciated Gator ever and should get in there too even though I don’t think he will. Kevin Carter perhaps as well.

    • So you admit he is worthy but didn’t do enough at UF? Let’s go with your criteria and just throw out the whole all-time NFL rushing leader, MVPs, TDs and NFL Hall of Fame for some odd reason. Lets just look at college, and remember the offense and coaching around him was awful. They even made Kerwin Bell look bad in his senior year.

      Emmitt Smith…..

      Left as the schools leading rusher (2nd now). If you did not allow Rhett’s SEC Championship stats, Smith is the leading rusher. Bowl games didn’t count.
      Fastest college player ever to 1000 yards (7 games)
      National and SEC Freshman of the Year
      Averaged 120 yds/game as a sophomore (and his career) and UF was 5-0 before he got hurt; while he was hurt the Gators scored one touchdown.
      He rushed for 988 yards in 8 games and was Freedom Bowl MVP (oh, and the bowl stats didn’t count then)
      In the Freedom Bowl, rushed for 150 yards.
      Finished his career as SEC Player of the year and held UF records for yards in a career, season, game, touchdowns and owned 58 school records. Averaged 126 yards/game.

      To this day, he holds the top 2 games, top 2 seasons, trails Rhett by 200 yards in his career and played an entire less season, and is still 2nd in TDs, only to Tebow, who was still playing when Smith was inducted.

      PLUS, he did it all when their was no SEC Championship game and his bowl performances didn’t count. His teams were putrid on offense. So if being the best at a school that has had so many talented running backs isn’t enough to get you in the Ring of Honor on the first ballot, then the Ring of Honor is a joke.

      Lets be honest, he did not want to interview with you, he was a bit aloof and he hurt your feelings in some way. But this idea that he wasn’t good enough at Florida is just stupid.

      • Nice job on facts Orlando! Dooley, explanation not accepted! A slight revision to my comments above…two middle fingers to you! And if his son eliminates UF due to your complete disrespect to the second best player in Gator history (IMO), I only wish I had another middle finger. Apply elsewhere!

  16. C’mon, Emmit belongs in the ROH. He came to Florida in a time of epic transition and the lingering impact of Pell and the NCAA sanctions – still he ran to greatness. Those were dark days in Gainesville in many ways. I’ll never forget the New Mexico State game. You knew better days were ahead for Emmit Smith and the Florida Gators.

    The Florida-Georgia HOF is a different issue. Any of those candidates deserve a nomination. Victory may not be the only consideration in inclusion but a big one. Spikes, Peterson, Culpepper and Brown stand out to me as game changers.

  17. “Personally, I don’t think he belongs in the Ring of Honor at Florida.” You have said the same thing a couple of times, but you have never given us the reasons why you think this way. Emmit Smith was a great running back for the Gators on subpar teams and what he did in the NFL got him in the Hall of Fame.