The Picks: UF veterans seen plenty of drama


Here’s a record Jim McElwain didn’t want — most games lost to hurricanes (two).

“Well, at least I have one record,” McElwain said Thursday night.

He broke a record shared by Ray Graves (1964 at LSU) and Ron Zook (2004 Middle Tennessee).

Dr. Football isn’t trying to joke around here with so many people in danger. But it is amazing that Florida has lost home games in consecutive years because of hurricanes. Certainly, UF had no choice when things went from bad to worse Thursday in terms of people on the road, gas shortages and the path of Irma.

Strictly from a football standpoint — and I broach this with extreme caution because football feels so trivial in our state right now — Florida needed this game.

There will be jokes about how it may cost them bowl eligibility at the end of the year, but more than anything, these Gators needed to get out in front of their home fans and try to get better in a live-action situation.

“I feel for our guys who were ready to get out and play and get the bad taste out of their mouths,” McElwain said. “But it’s important we think about others in need and not ourselves.”

The older players on this team certainly have seen their share of drama.

Imagine being in your fourth or fifth year as a Gator.

You’ve already seen a game canceled for lightning (2014 Idaho) in addition to the two hurricane games.

You’ve seen your coach get fired. But still coach out the season.

Except the bowl game, of course, when some players bailed.

You’ve seen a 6-0 start derailed by the suspension of your quarterback.

You’ve seen your star receiver suspended and reinstated and suspended and, well, you get the picture.

You’ve won a home game on the road.

I see a movie treatment.

So there will be no distraction Saturday for us to watch while we brace. There will be football, however, so there’s no reason to be on the roads. Stay home, grill out and try not to worry.

And ignore The Picks last week. I should get a mulligan.

I was distracted.

AUBURN AT CLEMSON: Because we should have power Saturday night, we should invite everyone stuck on I-75 into our homes to watch what should be an amazing night of football. There are going to be some sprained remote thumbs. Clemson, 28-24.

OKLAHOMA AT OHIO STATE: Urban Meyer went off this week because he is aggravated at coaches who claim the cupboard that they inherited was bare. He pointed to Will Muschamp as one of them. Muschamp never said the cupboard was bare. He just said it had roaches in it. OHIO STATE, 23-21.

GEORGIA AT NOTRE DAME: True freshman quarterback playing in front of Touchdown Jesus in front of a really good defensive line doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. And yet, Georgia, 28-20.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT MISSOURI: So if the Gamecocks win this game do we consider them a legit contender for the East? South Carolina, 45-42.

STANFORD AT USC: Stanford has owned this series lately. USC has owned preseason hype lately. Stanford, 27-19.

NEBRASKA AT OREGON: The Ducks are back. Don’t believe it, just ask them. Oregon, 38-27.

TCU AT ARKANSAS: Two under-the-radar teams playing in an under-the-radar game. Someone fix the radar. TCU, 28-21.

PITTSBURGH AT PENN STATE: I had Pitt in my preseason Top 25. That may have been a mistake. Penn State, 34-12.

HOUSTON AT ARIZONA: Flying out of Houston on Sunday, you could see some of the flooding from the air. Man, I am rooting for the Cougars to have another big year. Houston, 44-34.

LOUISVILLE AT NORTH CAROLINA: A week ago, I thought this would be a big game. At least it should be entertaining. Louisville, 43-34.

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


  1. ”’..if the Gamecocks win this game do we consider them a legit contender for the East? South Carolina, 45-42”. And we all know why too, Pat. Becaue of O-F-F-E-N-S-E! And while I pray for all the people in the path of this hurricane (including us in Hogtown), offense is going to ”the in-
    thing” this year for the S.E.C. And Gator fans can only hope it’s ”gets much better” against Tennessee.

  2. Distracted??? I wonder what excuse he will use next week. Now some of these games are pretty easy to pick, but several by my estimation are just plane wrong. Auburn is going to hang with Clemson? Maybe but I don’t see that happening. Time will as usual tell.