The Back Nine: Florida vs. Miami game closing on a sellout


The Back Nine comes at you hoping all you dads had a great Sunday and you sons and daughters were nice to your fathers. Me, I had a spectacular day.

10. If you are still looking for tickets to the Florida-Miami season opener, there may be a smart way not to pay a fortune. Just a small fortune. (Or you could go to StubHub where the highest price for a ticket is $1,250 in the loge area). Both schools have sold out their allotments of about 20,000 and the stadium has added temporary seating to raise the capacity to around 65,000. Officials in Orlando expect a sellout soon, but there are tickets available in a package for Central Florida residents to buy tickets to Florida-Miami, the Camping World Bowl and the Citrus Bowl for $300-to-$350. So buddy up to your friend who lives in the 407. “But I don’t want to go to the Camping World Bowl,” you say. You don’t have to and you can always sell that ticket or the one to the Citrus Bowl (soon to be renamed by a sponsor). Who knows? With the right teams in those games you may end up making a profit. I’m just trying to help, said the guy who gets into games for nothing.

11. There has been a lot of talk about Kerry Blackshear, the Virginia Tech grad-transfer-to-be who has visited Florida and would be a game-changer if he ended up in Gainesville. There was a tweet from Chris Dortch of Blue Ribbon Magazine (whose opinion I respect) that Blackshear is choosing among Texas A&M, Kentucky (where he will visit Tuesday) and Tennessee. There has also been talk that Memphis has gotten into the picture and his first visit was to Arkansas. He can still remain at Tech. But don’t think for a second Florida is out of the mix. Coach Mike White is right in the middle of it. Wherever Blackshear goes, he’ll have a legitimate shot at SEC Player of the Year (he’s that good), which is pretty impressive considering he was not a highly-recruited player coming out of high school. More than anything, if he ends up here he would give Florida what it has lacked recently — a player you can go to in the paint when you absolutely need a bucket.

12. I guess I stirred things up last week when I casually mentioned that I didn’t think Emmitt Smith belonged in Florida’s Ring of Honor (which I have said before numerous times but for some reason this time it stuck). I explained myself on our website, but probably should here as well. My only issue with Emmitt being in the Ring of Honor is that there are so many players who actually had better college careers at UF who cannot get in because of the way the criteria is written. And it was written to make sure Smith and Jack Youngblood, as NFL Hall of Famers, got in. Anyone who reads my columns knows that I believe it is way too strict of a criteria, especially when it rewards players for their NFL accomplishments more than what they did in college. Emmitt Smith was a great player, one of the best, but his teams were 20-16 during his three years. I think there are players who deserve to get in over Smith and I’d like to see athletic director Scott Stricklin change the criteria (like he’s gonna listen to me). So what I was really trying to say is that Emmitt Smith belongs in the Ring of Honor but there are a lot of players who deserve it more. And for those of you who think my opinion was based on Emmitt not treating me well (sources told me), I wasn’t covering the team while he was here and he has given countless silent auction items to our golf tournament. So there.

13. Urban Meyer is the only person eligible for the Ring and I’m not sure that will ever happen, but I have my own candidates to go in the ROH. Lomas Brown would be first on my list because he was the best offensive lineman I ever saw at Florida. Anybody who has a record for “most anything” at UF should get a consideration so throw guys like Carlos Alvarez and Alex Brown in to the mix AT LEAST to discuss. Anyway, I’ve been beating on this drum a long time and I think I will turn my attention to something else.

14. We were watching the U.S. Open on Friday night and my wife asked me about Gary Woodland, who was in the lead. “He’s a good player, hits it a mile, but there’s no way he’ll hold up in this tournament,” I said. Dr. Golf nails another one. I was rooting for him in the end (and if you saw the piece they did on Woodland playing with the Down syndrome young lady you were, too) once all of my favorites kept eliminating themselves. It will be interesting to see if Woodland, who has had a fine career but is hardly a known commodity outside the golf world, takes this Open win and goes on a roll at age 35. And it sure feels like we may get a lot more of Brooks Koepka in the majors over the next decade. In an unrelated note, how many of you bought his claim that Koepka has never in his life had a hot drink because he grew up in Florida? If that’s true, it’s weird.

15. The coverage by Fox Sports was overwhelming because of the lateness it felt like it was on for four full days. I mean, I couldn’t help but watch 10 hours of coverage some days, which is a sad statement on my life. So I feel qualified to critique it. I’d give it a C. Visually, it was great, but Captain Obvious (Paul Azinger) forced me to switch the sound on my other TV to baseball several times. He seemed blown away when someone who hits the ball 350 yards regularly hit the ball 350 yards. The most interesting interviews of the tournament were with Jim Nantz and Johnny Miller, which says a lot. Anyway, I’m a tough critic and I think Joe Buck is fantastic doing anything, but the rest left a lot to be desired.

16. The trade of Anthony Davis to the Lakers was one of those things you kind of knew was coming, but still made you stop in your tracks walking by your TV (or was that just me?) But the truth is that the trade itself is not going to decide which of these teams become contenders. It’s everything else they do to fill the rosters. It feels like the Lakers have a chance to be in the immediate mix if they make the right moves and the Pelicans have a chance to be the team of the future if they make the right moves. This, coming from an NBA expert who doesn’t watch any games until the playoffs.

17. The Tweet of the Week — and there were plenty to choose from — came from Jim Souhan, a columnist at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis — “I loved watching the Warriors lose. And I don’t mean that the way it sounds. I mean I loved watching Klay try to return to the court with a blown-out knee, and Curry trying to play 3 positions at once and the class with which they conducted themselves in defeat. Such champions.” My thoughts exactly as a bandwagon fan of the team. Couldn’t have been more proud of the effort.

18. So you know how on the iPhones you have this little cord that you have to have to plug in from your ear phones to the phone to listen to music? Well, I lost it. And I found out what it’s like to go to the gym with no music. I didn’t like it. And then I found it in my work bag buried under 100 pens. Never leave me again, little white cord. Oh, and here’s a sweet playlist for you:

• “Can’t Have You” by Megan Bonnell.

• “Caught Me Thinking” by Bahamas.

• “Patience” by Tame Impala.

“You’re The One” by Greta Van Fleet.

• And for an old one only because they played it over the Volkswagen commercial 100 times during the Open and I sang along every single time which tells you how good a song it is if you don’t get tired of it being pounded into your brain … phew, I had to get that off my chest … “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel.

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


  1. Win, lose, or draw ( I know, it just doesn’t sound the same w/o it), I will ALWAYS HATE THE ‘U’, the Miami Hurricanes! A long hatred that goes back to the early 80’s for me, personally. And I wish someone could’ve asked (the late) Coach Howard Schnellenberger how those tangerines felt hitting his head, that were raining down on him and his team, (compliments of the U.F. student body) after he called a last second field goal when the ‘W’ was already in hand against the Gators at Florida Field. But after that day, I know 1 thing: the UAA never handed out free CITRUS again. (LOL) And yea, I still laugh about it! Don’t you, too, older Gators? GO GATORS! Work those freakn’ ugly ‘Canes silly!

  2. gi, I grew up in south Florida and understand the sentiment. However, be assured that ‘Cane fans feeling toward all things Gator run just as deep. Much of this is based on the infamous “Florida Flop” in the Orange Bowl back in the last season of John Reaves and Carlos Alvarez. My brothers (none UM fans) still live down there and say that this is still a sore subject, as ‘Cane fans considered it to be the ultimate insult for UM faithful, especially with Reaves ultimately setting the record on the last couples plays. No doubt that FSU is UM’s biggest rival, but they reserve a special “hate” for UF. It warms my heart! Go Gators.

    • Amen, DanF, Amen! I’ve heard the legend of the “Florida Flop,’ but it was before my time. But ”hate” is ageless, lol, and I want this Miami game… bad! And ‘IF’ Coach Mullen likes pressure (and I hear he does) then ”it’s on” for this season. He and this Gator Football team could make this season, ”A Season of Gator Dreams.” Beat the rivals, old and new: Miami, Tenn. revenge on UK, Auburn, LSU at Death Valley, UGA, and the ‘Noles, and I would BE ONE DAMN HAPPY GATOR… Final Four appearance or not. Go Gators!

  3. i dont hate miami, i respect them and true rivalries are a gift from above, not a plague to be avoided . im just glad we are playing miami and hope we can permanently erase foley’s folly of not maintaining an outstanding rivalry soon. instead of the excitement of this game we got to play south carolina and charleston southern. no wonder there are empty seats. sometimes you have to stand up to the prevailing winds, such as when georgia tech fought the conference over black players, im still convinced the scholarship limits thing was a sham. miami is not the same in any way, but i am so weary of people not facing the big picture, particularly gators because we have no excuses for not doing so. if i misworded this i apologize, i admit to a gift of irritating everyone, not just one point of view.
    miami’s image was hurt badly by their bad boy teams even though we had a mass murderer and another alleged killer which was worse than anything miami ever had on the urban teams. also, dont be surprised if miami gives us a war in orlando. acting like this game is no big deal is a mistake.

    • I would rather watch games against Miami than the weak ooc games we play, but I dont think you get to include South Carolina in that group (it’s hard to avoid conference matchups).
      Will have to say I am 100% for Emmitt joining the RoH. I still say he is the best RB i have ever seen play for the Gators. His teams poor record is more of a reflection of the state of the program after being hit with sanctions from the NCAA for the Pell years. I’ve always said i wish he would have played his SR year in Spurrier’s offense. He might have run for 2000 yards with a passing game to help him.

      • i mentioned south carolina since we were told they would replace miami as a new rival when this fiasco happened in the first place. south carolina was basically a conference usa school then and still is and will be 25 years from now. i thought the conference screwed up by thinking it could replace rivalry games like florida miami, florida auburn, etc with artificial never will bes like south carolina and whoever.
        a wiser conference would have followed the model of the english premier league in soccer where your level of play decided if you get to stay in. its working quite well there, where tottenham and liverpool and manchester city have taken man u’s place in the heart of the sportsfan due to the glazers not knowing their game, and we may not have kept champ after his 4-7 trainwreck in that environment, and brought in cdm earlier.

          • Been around 6 but ever since I got a VPN to protect my online activity from Big Brother and the deep state I have had trouble being able to log in and just gave up trying. You have done a swell job leading the discussion though.

        • South Carolina got into the SEC, I think, almost exclusively on their ability to fill their stadium to capacity every Saturday. They seemed a better fit for the ACC at the time and have some otherwise profound, inherent geographic recruiting problems, but I don’t question their fit any longer. I do, however, question Mizzou. With all due respect to our pal StL — Mizzou? Really?

        • Whoever told you South Carolina was going to replace Miami as a new rival? This is the first I’ve ever heard that and I’ve read just about anything Florida football since the late ’70s. SC did not appear on the schedule until five years after the Miami series ended.

  4. I was aLSO at that game when H.S. called time out and Gators up 28-0. They just didn’t want Bernie KosAR and his thugs to lay A goose egg. 28-3 final. Surprisingly, that was Canes only loss of the season and they went on to win N.C. in Orange Bowl vs. Nebraska (remember them? They used to be good). Huskers went for 2 at the end and didn’t make it. Canes won 31-30, I think. That was in the day when football polls decided titles. I do respect the Canes, but they are no longer the Canes of the 80s and 90s. They are now choir boys. Time to whip their little behinds.

  5. I still don’t get the explanation about Emmitt. I don’t understand how you fault a guy for being by far the best player on some pretty terrible teams. He can’t play every position on the field. The guy’s the second all time leading rusher in program history and is only 235 yards behind Rhett, who played one more season. You put him on some of the more successful teams in program history and his numbers go through the roof. Sorry Pat, but there’s no one more deserving than him with what he was able to accomplish on some bad offensive teams.

    • Joe, I completely agree with you. He did say he was not covering the Gators at the time, so maybe he just didn’t witness what Smith did on some putrid offensive teams. Smith should get credit that those teams even managed to get to 20 wins and keep UF football relevant! Since when were spots in a hall of fame given on the record of your team. I think that Pat made the statement in passing because he just isn’t a fan of that era at UF football, and then had to try and back it up, instead of just admitting that he may not have thought it out completely. Smith’s stats at UF and his impact on the game can’t be understated.

      • Joe & OG, I’ve always thought of Pat as one of us Gators, but he must not have been paying attention during the Emmitt years. I cant imagine anybody that was at any of the games during those years would not put him in the Ring. Neal Anderson was another great RB, but watching Emmitt always make positive yards was a thing of beauty.

  6. Look at Emmitt from this angle. He played extremely well during his time here. And as Joe said above he didn’t have a great cast to work with add to that the Pell sanctions and what he accomplished is pretty amazing. While a players NFL career is something different I think in Emmitt’s case this validates his college play as something special. This is why the ROH. He broke a 57 year old FL record in his first start. Fastest player to make 1000 yards as a freshman. SEC and National freshman of the year. 9th in Heisman voting. Had he not been injured in his second year he would have made the yardage mark he did make look small he was averaging 120YPG in the first five. After the injury he was right back at it and missed 1000 yards by 12 finishing with a 110 YPG average. At one time he held 58 records during three years as a Gator.
    I also believe the Gainesville Sun recognized Emmitt as the number three player for the first 100 years in 2006. While there might be people worthy to join those who are in the ROH the bar is set high for a reason.

  7. Good to see the 19,000 Gator fans who attend UM bc they couldn’t get into UF coming to the big game. I hope the remaining 1000 Miami fans have a safe trip to Orlando. Hopefully this news gets the Gator players motivated .
    Emmitt absolutely deserves to be in the Ring of Honor, as others Pat pointed out as well. We’ve had a lot of great players at Florida. The Ring at the stadium makes it look like they have been few and far between, which is untrue. It’s time we showed off our history a little better. As for Meyer, he should also be there. Truth be told, he may have been our best coach. Yea, he shaded the truth a lot, but he shaded it for US. We didn’t care too much at the time when he was our coach.We even defended him. If he had to leave UF for personal reasons unrelated to any part of his body above his waist, then who in their right mind would disclose that to the world? I wouldn’t blame him for leaving. And if so, of course he wouldn’t be retiring. He would coach again and we all knew that.The thing that irked me about Urban is the rationalizations he lived under and applied to his team. Hey , if he wanted to reward Percy for being a once in a generation type of player and look the other way , like steroid testing, then come up with something better than a “circle of trust”, which connotes off field responsibility and on and off field leadership, where certain players get second and third and fourth chances based primarily on their talent.
    In the end, he won two Nattys and those championships brought me as much joy as a Tennessee fan’s marriage to his brother’s sister.

  8. The only reason UM sold out its 20k ticket allotment is that those who bought those tix will attempt to scalp them to Gator fans for a fat profit. That’s a team that doesn’t travel well. They don’t even travel the few miles it takes to get to their rent a stadium for home games. We need to stomp Miami since they have a chance to run the table after our game. What a pathetic schedule they play. Then we need to poach their recruiting class at the end of the season one more time.
    Go Gators!

    • it’s probably a sad comment on the budget of the newspaper that they don’t have anyone proofread because that can’t afford to pay that person. also a reflection on Dools not proofreading his own work, or perhaps finishing his column too close to deadlines. everyone makes typos, and this is one that spellcheck won’t catch. it’s a rough draft at best.

    • And then there’s this … because of the way the criteria is written. … And Dooley’s a UF grad, or at least I think he graduated. I took some JM classes with him, but left a year or so earlier.

  9. We should alternate Florida State and Miami. I like to see the Gators play the Canes as much as I do the Noles. Give each school a two-year contract that allows for a home and away game. We can’t play Miamah and FSU every year because of the SEC, but we could switch it up. We could go to Tallahassee once every two years and then go to Miami once every two years. We’d still be playing fierce competition in the state of Florida every year.

  10. Pat reminds me of a former neighbor who insisted my Min Pin was a Chihuahua, even though I showed her the AKC papers on him. He must be a Taurus. Probably drives one, too, 1988. Adn journalism majors aren’t required to take grammar classes.

    Emmitt belongs. Period.

    No Gator fan would ever say anything nice about SCum. There’s nothing nice TO say. I can’t wait to see The Florida Flop in the pregame shows. Each new generation of Gator fans get a good laugh when seeing it for the first time.

  11. if these two programs can’t sell out a 65000 seat venue, something is wrong, game should be moved to a bigger venue, like Tampa or Jacksonville, Orlando needs to build an NFL size stadium, the old Citrus Bowl facility is too small

    • You should say if Florida can’t sell out 65 k, Miami has never been able to sell out anything at all and will never be able to do so. That’s a given. The rent a stadium in Miami only sells out when Gators, Semiholes or Golden Domers buy tix in droves.

  12. Mullen will NOT underestimate the Canes. He knows the new Defensive players must play to their potential and the new O-line will be tested. On paper, Gators are much better than Canes. But the game is not being played on paper. Up to Franks, the D-backs and linebackers.