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 firstname.lastname@example.org. And follow at Twitter.com/Pat_Dooley.